The Richness of Community
The first story in Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers is about a town called Roseta, Pennsylvania. It is the result of thousands of immigrants from Roseta, Italy who escaped poverty to find the kind of work they knew in the quarries of Pennsylvania.
The migration started with 9 and when news reached home, more and more came, until a town was formed of these immigrants in their new country. Homes and other buildings were erected. Businesses, gardens, churches grew to become a complete town.
No one would know about this village today were it not for a medical curiosity. A physician reported extremely low rates of heart attacks there when heart attacks were of major concern to the medical establishment across the country.
Medical investigators flocked to Roseta to determine an answer to this medical phenomenon. Very thorough study was made of every conceivable factor related to cardiac disease. Nothing was found. The health of Roseta’s citizens wasn’t due to genetics, diet, exercise. The medical investigators concluded that the community was the source of health.
The Answer to Health was Community
The connections that existed in generations of a family living together, townspeople greeting and sharing time together on the streets, living connected through knowing, support and care for each other explained their good health.
What do we think of when we think about our health?
Whenever the usual American patient wakes up to an alarm about health usually by way of a heart attack or diagnosis of cancer the immediate and routine focus in on physical health. In fact our general attitude about health attends to physical factors such as diet and exercise and perhaps, our level of stress.
We don’t normally think of lowering our stress levels by talk about community, need for connection and for love.
Aren’t the Cries of Our Hearts a Cry for Love?
Yet for me, the story about Roseta, Pennsylvnia screams out the essential need for community and love in our lives.
It may seems like a stretch to you, but doing inner child work is about creating connection, the essence of community. It’s about love–loving our inner child.
How more basic can it be?
Love starts at home. In this case, the home of our heart. What more important a purpose can we have in life but to meet split-off child-selves with love and compassion for integration.