I recently attended Hail The New at Easton. Many men came into the weekend with anxiety about the political situation, and thoughts about the year just ending. I noticed that by the end of the weekend, there was a marked shift in the room. I got very curious about what created that.
What I noticed is that people talked, shared meals, laughed, cried, sang, played music, became vulnerable, expressed courage, and made new connections. I noticed that people got creative and created talent show acts, dressed up in drag, and got playful. People collaborated on projects, hiked in the woods, went ice skating, and just shared time together.
I noticed a lot of hugging, touching and laughter.
So, what I draw from this is that isolation can lead to increased sense of anxiety and fear, and that, in building connection and community, people draw strength from each other and change their perception of reality into a more positive one when they know that they are not alone.
Perhaps this is obvious, but to see it happening experientially over the course of five days, and to sit in the closing circle and to feel the difference palpably is quite another matter.
I was fortunate to be on staff for Hail The New and to teach three workshops. One of the workshop - called Touch Me! - was all about touch and connection. In this workshop, I watched men’s defenses come down and watched them open up, relax and receive touch, affection and connection. The “glow” in the room at the end was again palpable and just reconfirms for me what I already know as a bodyworker about the power of touch to connect us to ourselves and each other.
So, as we make the transition to this new year filled with unknowns, I am even more mindful of the importance of being in community to draw strength, to decrease any sense of separateness or isolation and to increase one’s sense of well-being. I invite you to reach out and stay connected with your Easton family.
Wishing each and every one of my Easton brothers (and sisters) a very Happy and Healthy New Year!
Arnie Katz is a facilitator, certified personal coach and bodyworker in Boston. He has been teaching at Easton for two years now.