Over the past few weeks Randy and I have been discussing the importance of time away from work and the value of re-energizing yourself and your life. For each of us, a lack of balance clogs the soul. Recently, I have been participating in a number of radio interviews, trying to promote my book and our website. The Mary Jones Show. The Barbara Dooley Show. The Dan Kesterson Show. The Bulldog and The Rude Awakening Show. The Alex Hinojosa Show (listen here!) The Roy Richards Show.
In many of these shows I have been discussing the material in the past several blogs, including the importance of going barefoot (or grounding/ earthing). However, on the radio, I have also been discussing solo aging and loneliness. So today I want to re-emphasize that we need much more than increased contact with the earth; we need increased contact with each other. Friendship is crucial to survival throughout the animal kingdom from chimpanzees to baboons to dolphins to horses. We are no exception.
Do you know how they study animals? They will track them in the jungle, collecting urine and feces samples. Wouldn’t want that job, would you? But the results show that stress hormones decrease when a member of a species has active friendships. In fact, with friendship in the wild, their health and longevity improve. Humans may live in a world of concrete, but it is also a type of jungle. With friendship, our health and our longevity also improve. As shown in several studies, loneliness is just as lethal as a pack of cigarettes.
The message of these interviews? We all need to reconnect. We need to re-ignite old relationships and establish new ones. So, how do we do that? Not by typing a post on facebook. We need to step out the front door with the goal of giving. When alone and isolated, can you nurture someone? Mentor someone? Love someone? No. We enter life with nothing and we leave life with nothing. So life has to be about giving, not receiving. And any gift is acceptable. A smile. A compliment. A helping hand. The act makes the other person feel better; it will also make you feel better – and it will improve your health and longevity.
So, let me reframe my earlier question. When did you last touch the earth? Well, when did you last help someone (where you received nothing in return)? From my vantage point, that’s one of the purposes of this web site – to reach out, make contact, and help someone. I think we need to take that action as individuals. I also think we need to accept that role as baby boomers. The world may be expecting us to step aside, but I suggest that we “come together” (like some of us did in the 60’s), raising our voices and forging a new path toward a better life. We need it. Our planet needs it. Are you interested in joining our cause?