written July 10, 2018
Getting to know each other is vital to our survival. We understand each other by sharing our deepest held beliefs and most intimate dreams. We learn to grow our empathy by expressing our vulnerabilities. Common ground, common passions, common pleasures, common pain, if we open up on the inside we don’t have to shut down on the outside.
Shutting down means we separate, disconnect, disassociate, push away. And before long we trap ourselves in little boxes with little holes punched out, just enough to peek through, too often focusing on what we hate instead of what we love.
Survival is synonymous with co-existence. And co-existence means embracing what we have collectively and progressing forward with it as best we can, with open hearts and open minds. I guarantee it's as simple as that. And it ripples out.
Find reasons to interact, find reasons to shed routine, find reasons to get out into unfamiliar surroundings and break free from rigid ways. If we do this more often then it will be easier to break down all the barriers that tend to rise up so quickly inside ourselves, inside our communities, the brick walls that exist so densely between strangers and us, loved ones and us. The stories we tell ourselves of others being, well, others, are just that, stories.
It's significant that we continue to create new stories with each other. And even redefine old stories within us and with those we haven’t talked to in a while.
Recently I was able to experience a lot of this (as well as document it) with Barebones Living, a community-driven brand focused on elevating life outdoors. (If you haven't heard of them, check them out. Aside from being a genuinely good company with genuinely good people, they also sell real-deal camping gear and cookware, among other things.) Barebones brought an incredible group of Makers together down at Under Canvas Zion. We were able to connect in nature while learning new crafts through curated workshops and communal gatherings hosted by the Makers* themselves, including a foraging trip put on by Beehive Floral Co.
Instead of desert heat we were greeted with cold rain and sometimes hail but throughout it all we held space for each other while enjoying live-fire meals from Tournant, Not Without Salt and Gjusta. We breathed in deep the wild air intending to shake up the city dust from our lungs. With each inhale we listened. And with every exhale we shared memories. And in between we ate really good food and drank incredibly inventive cocktails (courtesy of local mixologist Ryan Manning) around artfully built fires. We left better people than when we went in because we got to know each other. We were privileged enough to co-exist for a few days.