T’was the week before Christmas – not much was stirring – not even an ant.
NOT IN MY HOUSE.
We are busy – celebrating, beaching, socialising, working, navigating this busy life. I have friends and colleagues who don’t like celebrations – birthdays, Christmas and holidays. I am not like that I love them! But there are always challenges around change.
This time of year, is difficult for many members of our community. There is a disconnect as the seasons change. It is a time for reflection about the year just past and planning for the upcoming one. It is not always easy to maintain our togetherness within ourselves, let alone within our family, friends and community. This time of year, pushes buttons for many – making it even more difficult to maintain a togetherness. How can you maintain togetherness when we are feeling disconnected??
I used to work in the Emergency Department at a hospital in Central Australia, rural NSW and again in Western Australia. Christmas Day, in my experience was always busy – but not for the reasons you would think. It was a time when disconnected members of our community would come in for a check-up. It was a time that they wanted to belong but they didn’t. They were disconnected. They were disconnected from community. This disconnection was often the root of their illness.
The Health Service was providing more than a solution to the manifesting physical aliment. The Health Service was delivering a social support system, an emotional support system and often a spiritual support system. All very import services, but some of those roles could be provided by a connected community to relieve the stress on emergency health services and departments.
The WORLD HEALTH ORGANISATION (WHO) describes the goal of primary health care as “better health for all”. They have identified five key elements enabling community to achieve that goal. These are
Sebastian Junger explores the human need to belong and feel accepted in his book TRIBE. He has spent many years as a journalist covering war. He feels the rising PTSD in veterans is symbolic of a fractured society, disconnected from each other. The book is about lessons modern society can learn from tribal communities.
This book is about why tribal sentiment is such a rare and precious thing in modern society, and how the lack of it has affected us all. It’s about what we can learn from tribal societies about loyalty and belonging and the eternal human quest for meaning. It’s about why—for many people—war feels better than peace and hardship can turn out to be a great blessing and disasters are sometimes remembered more fondly than weddings or tropical vacations. Humans don’t mind duress, in fact they thrive on it. What they mind is not feeling necessary.”
— Sebastian Junger
Wishing all communities, a happy and connected Christmas. May be plan and implement the enabling change that builds authentic and meaningful community, supporting all people and places.