Today in the chart

The Dance of Courageous Care Step 3: Together

“Belonging to each other as though our lives depended on it.” What if we believed this whole heartedly? What if this meant connecting to one another not only in our joy but also in our sorrow?


“The luminous, mycelial tethers between us, our fundamental connection to one another, the raft through the sorrow, the holding through the grief, joy is, reminds us, again and again, that we belong not to an institution or a party or a state or a market, but to each other. Needfully so. Which we must practice, and study, and sing, and story, and dream, and celebrate. Belonging to each other as though our lives depended on it.” – Ross Gay 

“Belonging to each other as though our lives depended on it.” What if we believed this wholeheartedly? What if this meant connecting not only in our joy but also our sorrow? I think this connection, this belonging, or as I like to call it, togetherness, has saved my life over and over again. 

I can recall specific moments throughout my life when connecting with another human saved me from depths of shame and grief, when a friend, my partner, or a family member offered me compassion and care in the moments I didn’t know how to access them myself. This is what our (Re)brilliancy workshops are all about, reflecting the brilliant and resilient humans we already are. This reflection is so important, especially when we cannot do this for ourselves, and we need another human to help reflect this truth until we can remember it on our own.  

We live in a time where technology is bringing us further and further from each other. Recently my son told me, “Mom, I have asked you something for the third time now.” I didn’t even remember hearing him ask me anything because I was so engrossed in my phone. We were not created to multi-task, so when we give our phones our attention, everything else around us loses out. This has me stepping back and rethinking my time spent and how much of it is spent with another person without distraction from a device. I am reminded that being together in the presence of another human, our children, our friends, our family, and our grocery store clerk is all a gift. A gift that our phones cannot offer.

I wonder about the fleeting moments that I get to be alone and connect with myself, and instead, I turn to my phone to “connect” through email, text, and social media. I wonder about the many ways social media breeds comparison instead of connection. It is nearly impossible to connect when comparing ourselves with others, leaving us feeling isolated and alone. It is rare to be or see someone alone without a phone in their hand occupying their minutes as they wait for a companion. We are less and less “alone” in this world of tech, yet Vivek Murthy, the US Surgeon General, recently declared “loneliness” as an epidemic. Our devices are not fulfilling our fundamental need to be together with ourselves and other humans as we walk through this life of loss, joy, beauty, grief, fatigue, and more. We feel more alone than ever with the world at our fingertips.

As we learn more about the detrimental effects of phones and social media, I wonder - what does it look like to find true togetherness with ourselves, to put our ear to our heart to listen and remember who we are, what we need, and what we desire? I believe our bodies have all the answers we seek; we simply need to stop and listen. We spend our days looking at devices, typing, sitting, and in our heads many times without the input of our body, our movement, or somatic processing. This creates a split between the body and mind, so we often rely on only half of our wisdom. Our full wisdom arrives when we create a space of embodied togetherness that brings both our mind and body as one. For me, I must move to feel, and this is why movement is such an essential component for me as I process my grief, joy, and all the in-between. Movement provides spaces for me to soften and receive together with myself and others to ultimately experience healing and joy.  

What does it mean to be together with ourselves and each other? I imagine it as a zippering, a weaving of hearts and minds. I see it as the underground tethering that aspens do to create strong bonds that wind and storms cannot separate. It reminds me of the poem my son wrote when he was five:

“The Way to Live” 

By: Soren Indy Rynders 

When the wind rises, the trees sway in groups

When the trees grow, they are not so alone

They are connected to one another in their deep, strong roots

And when I dive down to those strong roots,

I can feel the feelings of joy

So wise our children. I am reminded by this poem that the wind will always rise, but how beautiful that we do not sway alone. When we are connected to one another, we sway in groups offering us special protection from the storm that we cannot have when we are alone. When we take the time to dive down to where the roots are interwoven through years of wear and tear, pushing, pulling, planting, and replanting, this space of messy togetherness is where we find our joy. A togetherness that our lives truly depend upon for survival. 

As we look at being together with ourselves and one another, I encourage you to reflect and journal on the following questions.

  1. How do you find spaces of solitude to be together with yourself? What does this look like for you? If you do not have a practice of connecting with yourself, what would it look like to set aside time to do this?
  1. Who are your “together” people? Whose roots are intricately intertwined with your roots, so much so that they sway with you as the storms hit? What makes these people special to you? Consider sending them a note of gratitude for making up your underground connection of joy.
  1. What does it mean to find joy after deep diving deep into the roots that connect us? What does this mean for the lasting effect of joy amid harsh conditions? 

Tara Rynders, The Dancing Nurse Educator and Nightingale Luminary, is the CEO and Founder of The Clinic

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