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Bonfires of Belonging

"It is gathered around the warmth of the campfire where you can share the diamonds you've uncovered. It is also where you can pause and find nourishment in the warmth of community. It is where we share and feed both ourselves and each other."

I love this quote from Brad Montague. In his book Becoming Better Grown Ups: Rediscovering What Matters and Remembering How to Fly the importance of the campfire comes alive as he shares stories of children from across America. He talks about the need for these primal, simple forms of warmth and nourishment in our lives. He refers to them as "bonfires of belonging" and how we can contribute through our place sat by the fire, bringing sparks of light and imagination to ourselves and others.

The campfire struck me as a metaphor of a coming together, and how important this is for humanity. We have been separated for so long through circumstances beyond our control. Thankfully Zoom and technology became our campfires. Whilst this has offered an amazing, supportive, and practical substitute, it is only that, a substitute.

We are wired for connection as a social species, our very lives depend on each other. We live longer, healthier, and happier lives when we can be together, in relationship and in community.

At the start of the new school term, today I was relieved to stand amongst the crowd of nervous, anxious faces (and that was just the parents!) and to hear the babble of noise and excitement being together brings. Having spent so long, opening a laptop and seeing faces or icons on a screen, or being reduced to a bubble with little or no contact with others, it was heartening to see groups of people mingling, chatting and relaying their stories of the summer holidays. The joy on children's faces as they saw friends they had not seen for seven weeks was palpable. The school yard this morning was our campfire. A shared experience of warmth, conversation, and hope.

So, as we move into the colder moths, it seemed apt to write about the campfire. I am going to seek out the campfires in my days ahead, the opportunities to stop of a while, share, listen and encourage. Let's look for these moments of connection throughout our lives, let's find the lit sticks that can bring us together.

I'd love to hear your thoughts and comments on your own bonfires of belonging. You can pop them below or on my Instagram @iamsarahalexcarter

Image via Unsplash

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