Self-improvement will always fall short. We need each other. So much it hurts.

¡Buenas tardes de Oaxaca, Mexico!… One of the most deeply beautiful places I’ve ever visited.

I’m here for a week-long vacation with my two best friends, and two things feel supremely worth noting::

1. The energy in this city is radically collective. I don’t want to aggrandize it, but there is definitely something different about a culture that’s origins are matriarchal, that’s structural design is circular, on the streets, facing inward, that’s walls have messages of respect, honor, and love painted everywhere.

(Of course, colonization and genocide of indigenous people happened here, like most places, and the devastation of that is also very real, but the indigenous spirit is still alive and strong.)

(Translation: Respect. Act without harming others.)

 (Translation: Responsibility. Do the right thing.)

2. The feeling of being with my best friends is incredibly nourishing. Walking, talking, singing, cooking, hugging, snuggling, questioning, crying, laughing… together. Not with screens between us, not amidst a digital divide, but in the flesh, breath to breath, together.

In light of the various tragedies happening worldwide – from environmental disaster to systemic oppression and violence…

One thing I know for sure is that no self-help or self-improvement can replace the power of community-care or the comfort of true communion with beloveds.

I feel compelled to say this incase somewhere amidst your “personal healing journey” you start to feel an unending sense of isolation or longing for deeper belonging, even though you’re doing “everything right on the program”.

It’s my deep belief and experience that individualized programs (which are so much of what we invest in and center in western culture) are deeply limited.

I say this as a woman who sells individualized programs

They are powerful.
They can transform you and your life.
100%.
Myself and my clients are living proof of this.
Our individual healing can empower our capacity to be more connected in the world…definitely.

And…

There will always be a hole, a brutal void, without community, without togetherness.

This is a structural problem that we can chip away at as individuals by taking the lead and inviting more togetherness into our lives, homes, communities, businesses and micro-economies.

But like most of this work, we need the support and encouragement, solidarity and skill-shares of one another to unlearn habits of hyper-individualization and re-shape systems that were not designed for the holistic thriving of every last one of us.

We also need to acknowledge the flaw of leaving togetherness out of our “personal healing programs”.

The ache of isolation and the symptoms of separation cannot be healed alone. Period. 

That doesn’t mean together is easy.

Fuck no.

Especially with individuation, dominance, power and control baked into our centuries-old muscle memory…

It’s an incredible challenge.

It requires a certain kind of death to the parts of me/us that are conditioned to be in-it-to-win-it all alone, always looking good, posturing forevermore to have all the answers, or desiring to be the best.

It also requires a tenderness towards those parts… a compassion and kindness that says, I see the ways you’re here to keep me safe. I won’t abandon you in one fell swoop. I’ll work with you gently and allow your unravelling to happen safely. I’ll keep the parts of you that are actually of service to the greatest good for all. I’ll honor you for all you’ve given me.

But nevertheless…

I just thought I’d share here that my heart is devoted to the call.

The call of structural reform and systemic revolution for the sake of greater community-care and an honest opportunity for thriving with our beloveds…

To lay stone after stone, together, like a bridge from isolation to connection, from getting ahead to getting everyone’s basic needs met.

What I’m remembering on this trip, is that so much of this happens by learning from the people who have incredible histories of community-care. Indigenous people. Black people. My own lineage of Jewish people. Alternative cooperative societies likeMondregon or the folks at the Tamera Healing Biotope.

I haven’t spent much time online this week, but I have seen the news of Harvey and Bangladesh.

While it’s deeply heartbreaking, these kinds of disasters are also such important reminders of the limitations of aloneness, and the breathtaking honest necessity of people coming together.

So speaking of togetherness, let’s lean in and do the smallest doable thing to help our human family in a time of need.

One thing I learned from going down to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina is the most disenfranchised communities often have the hardest time recovering.

I just donated to the Black Women’s Defense League – a Dallas-based organization that is working with Houston activists to determine what underserved communities need.

Perhaps that calls to you, too.

Alternatively, here’s a compilation of black women in Houston who you can donate to directly via PayPal, Cash.me or Venmo. Person-to-person. Heart-to-heart. Direct, immediate love. I’ll be sending cash to women daily over the next few weeks.

No matter what, I hope today you do one small thing to forge more connection – true and deep, honest and earnest – in your life.

We all deserve to remember the feeling of being rooted to each other in healthy and healing ways.

So much love,
Rachael

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