The concept of Community, and of the true meaning of Social Networking, began bubbling up from my subconscious and appearing all over the place for me quite awhile ago. My website is a direct result of that, and it’s a trailhead on what I know will be a lifetime of rewarding connections. A little while ago, talking with my good friend and sage dog behaviorist, Julie Scott, about my thoughts for my next steps, she brought up the very same concept. “Christy,” she noted, “it’s interesting you’ve started this social networking website, but that you’re kind of isolated in your apartment. What if you lived your idea of social networking?” Bam. Genuis! And a torrent of inspiration hit–I jumped in my kayak took off!

This idea resonated so strongly with me that I immediately knew I’d pushed off from shore and was on my way. And this, my friends, is not only awe-inspiring and magical, it’s also a bit terrifying at times!  But thus and nevertheless, I’ve unmistakably and solidly embarked on a YOGA; a Year of Great Adventure. While I’ve traveled this path that led me to this precise shoving-off-from-shore point my entire life, I’ve been on foot, and now I’m riding a river; a big, fast, wild torrent of a river where I’ve got to let go, open up, go with the flow, keep my eyes peeled, say yes, stay centered and healthy, rely heavily on my intuition, and enjoy the ride! I’m so up for this!

I’m not-exactly-but-kind-of-arbitrarily assigning the impetus of the YOGA to the conference I attended a little while ago with Amir Zoghi, Christine Arylo and Amy Ahlers, which I discussed in a past post, just prior to my conversation with Julie. While already primed for change, that conference jump-started me into Another Universe; I was so ready to hear what was coming out of their mouths that it seemed spoken specifically to me. The message, in short, was this: follow your intuition and truly be yourself because both you and the entire world deserve the best person you can be; your true self doing your true work. I was in a primed place, as I knew what my true work was, and I’ve been doing it–but I was ready to take it to a higher level. And then, the conversation about Community happened, and the Year of Great Adventure began! Where am I in it so far? Here:

The YOGA (where I will, in fact, continue to do some actual–or rather, sort of actual–yoga) has so far been exhilarating, exhausting, excruciating and exciting. I’m in the middle of the “40 Day Fear Cleanse” (which I highly recommend) hosted by Gabby Bernstein and Christine Arylo, where I’m fearfully and fearlessly, absolutely at the same time, confronting the core fears that tend to keep me small. This in itself has been all of the “ex” words above! And I’m only half way through, but it’s has already resulted in major progress, major letting go, and a massively freer me.

I’m also staying in LA for all of August where I’ll be honing my website, working on related projects, meeting new people and enjoying community around all of it. All of this has come about because I opened up, let go, and reached my hand out–not for a handout (lol), but for community around growth and change that supports me being me and doing what I’m doing (and when we live from our True Selves, everyone benefits), and boy, have I gotten it! Where? Everywhere. I’ll spare you the long list of talented, amazing, wise and compassionate hands that grabbed mine and just summarize and say that I’ve found that countless people believe in me and my work and without a second thought stepped in to say, “here, this is how I can support you.” Tears. I appreciate all of you beyond words!

Countless big and little boosts and assisstances show up, out of nowhere, completely unexpectedly, to clasp their hands together and help me to step up so I can see over a wall, keep going when I think I can’t, and pat me on the back when I oh-so-badly need it. Yeah. Already. And what I’ve discovered is that I didn’t need to go out and find community, I just needed to open my eyes to and acknowledge and accept the community I already have. Reaching my hand out took a lot for me; I don’t have any problem being there for others, but was always taught to be self-sufficient, not to ask for help and not to cause any waves or trouble–and woah! Bad advice, people, I’ll tell you what!! We all need each other, we need to be needed, the world so badly needs waves, and connection is truly the heart of life! I’m learning!

Extending my hand and feeling someone else grab it and give it a squeeze and say, “I believe in you,” this is true community. So is celebrating someone’s success, grieving with them in their pain, and jumping up and down with them in their joy. And allowing others into our lives to do the same with us. Real Community, to me, is showing up as our true selves while being present with others, seeing and supporting each other. Compassion. Real Community is realizing you’re in the mix of things; finding that when you open your eyes and look around, you’re holding hands with a long string of others, and you’re all cheering for each other. This is Social Networking at its best, and this is my mission, and what my current work is all about–bringing folks together, far and wide, in the Great Land of the Internet, for Good in specific and broader arenas. And my first lesson, in this Year of Great Adventure, is this: Community is there, you just have to be strong enough to be vulnerable enough to participate. For me, it is initially a leap of faith, and one where I’m finding I’m landing on solid ground. What an incredible, unexpected gift; and I’ve only just begun. Live Love.