I love connecting with you every week.

You know, we often think that it’s eating the right food, moving in the right way, and doing everything right that will get us where we want to go. And for the most part you’d be right. But if we don’t have fun and connection along the way, who cares. What does it really matter?

A close friend of ours passed away two nights ago. It’s been a rather sad time. It’s never easy losing someone so dear. And I was talking to my Dad about it, and he said, “Just so you know, no one is getting out of here alive.”

Big reality check with a little humor. He just had knee replacement surgery and had some challenges along the way. One of them being depression due to very little sleep. Thankfully he is recovering very well and already can walk so much better than he could before the surgery.

But it’s times like these that I remember what’s really important. Fun, joy, pleasure, laughter, love, and connection are all that really matter in this life.

There is a company in Santa Barbara who made videos, at no charge, of people who had a terminal illness or was close to the end. To document their stories before they were gone forever. And after hundreds and hundreds of interviews, the video staff learned that connections with people and community were all that really mattered to these people in the end.

They didn’t care so much about how much money they had, or what job they did, or how many trophies they’d won, they only cared about people. The people who they loved and felt loved by.

And in studies of people who live the longest and the healthiest around the world, it’s being in community with like-minded people that makes all the difference. There is one community here in California – Loma Linda where the people live longer and healthier than the average. And interestingly enough it’s not the healthiest place to live. But the community of people there are some of the healthiest on the planet.

My husband, Eric, and I moved to the beach here in Northern California about a year and a half ago. We moved from the country where we had lived for 23 years. It was a challenging move to say the least. Leaving behind the home where we raised our family, and a community that we loved but that was no longer serving us.

Now we are surrounded by more like-minded people, and you know what is so amazing? We never looked back. We have been so happy here and we feel so connected that we don’t miss our old home or community at all (although I have very special friends who I stay connected with – in fact they come visit me here at the beach much more often).

We have people over to our home more often for a meal, we socialize much more, we participate more in the community, and healthy food and people abound! This type of connection creates better digestion, improved sleep, an overall improved sense of happiness and gratitude, and a sense of belonging.

On Saturday I’m going to a mosaic art class to make a piece of art for our backyard. I look forward to meeting some beautiful new people there. I joined a choir with 25 amazingly talented women, I’m a member of a tennis club and oftentimes we do potluck after matches or practice, and I can ride my bike to my office and my favorite grocery stores.

Where can you find more connection with the people in your life? How can you become more connected to your community?

Connect, love and be joyful.

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