I enjoyed a visit to the Renaissance Faire recently. Beyond the wonderful costumes and musical compositions, we also enjoyed a presentation on falconry. Throughout my experience, I found myself smiling as I envisioned the time period and the ease with which people found entertainment. They relied on each other, animals, and nature for their connections to their community. The public nature of entertainment also struck me as magical. While modern technology certainly has changed and vastly improved so many areas of life, I wonder what might be if we still held strong to those senses of seeking joy and entertainment from the simpler aspects of life.
Variety is the spice of life, as they say, and I believe we now live in an age where there is a staggering abundance of variety. Millions of published books, with thousands all circling the same topics; music apps that give us the world of beats at our fingertips; television channels galore; arts and culture abounding in neighborhoods, public festivals, apps upon apps of social media platforms. We are inundated with variety; saturated with it. It would seem that with more variety would also come the greater opportunity for connection.
If I may, I think variety can also lend itself to greater isolation. For example, I think back to times in history when women sewed. And, I envision groups of women coming together to share in their sewing or having that as a focal point of ensured conversation amongst even strangers. But, when we now have quilters, embroiderers, leather craftsman; a plethora of new textiles to create even more specialized groups; I think the connection then becomes, while more direct to our interests, also less inclusive.
I was witnessing some school-aged children at a summer camp this week, and there was a television with video games in an auditorium, children with individual computer tablets, and while some kids were running around outside, it was often in very small groups. I wondered how many of these children would have the patience to study the falcons that we witnessed at the Renaissance Faire. To learn the silent language between human and animal to form a connection and a sense of communication. Would this be enough stimulation for a kid today? Would a modern kid be comfortable with a pouch of raw meat attached to them to train a wild animal? Would they be able to make the commitment to training and caring for this animal? Beyond an updated social media post?
For me, this all is intimately tied to spiritualism. That ability to slow down our mind, and sit with our soul to nourish, grow, and revel in its intuitive majesty. Understanding that we are all connected; not just humans, but also with animals, nature, and the universe we orbit in. Value all as we value ourselves. Holding love and compassion for the whole of life and beyond. Now, spiritualism is not to be confused with religion. Religion is merely a pointer to spiritualism; a tool to sensing our oneness and growing our compassion and love for all. There are many, many tools one can use in their life to settle deep into their spiritualism.
I wondered if during the Renaissance there was a greater connection, a greater awareness of universal love, or appreciation for life? There were still classes of people. Still groups. Still outsiders and insiders. But, as they lived off the land, and relied on the raw talents of those in their community for their variety, I found myself curious how we might bring ourselves back to this magical sense of community.
It seems there was a vulnerability then that we are able to hide from now. Now we can text message and not have to engage in direct conversations as we choose. Now we can block individuals from our public profiles. Now we can choose from a multitude of merchants to buy our wears from. Now our food is supplied to us at grocery stores and the truth about how it got there we can collectively block from our minds. Now we can worship the best of the best as travel is simple, and technology brings nearly everything to our doorstep. Now we don’t have to be as vulnerable, as we don’t have to be as reliant, or as accepting, or as connected.
I’m not suggesting we all run out and find a falcon to attempt to train, but I am wondering what you might ask of yourself to allow yourself to be more vulnerable, more engaged, and even more appreciative of those around you? How can you cultivate more within your community, and embrace your deeper sense of self through your love and compassion?