I just got back from an incredible week of reconnecting with friends and family in the UK. England is stunning this time of year and I was able to fill my senses with the beauty of our green and pleasant land. Lying on the grass in the middle of a field full of buttercups, inhaling the distinct smell of sweet British summer meadows in the Derbyshire Dales, surrounded by birdsong and the sound of the bubbling creek nearby is where I long to be. I’m so grateful that I had the opportunity to reconnect with some of our HERD students and graduates too. We spent a fabulous day nerding out, practicing facilitation skills, and hanging with a wonderful herd.
Time seemed to slow down in these moments of connection: dinner with colleagues at a local pub that was straight out of Faulty Towers; an evening spa date with a dear friend; dim sum with my nephew as an early birthday treat; a quick coffee with a friend and colleague en route to an impromptu meeting with another friend whom I haven’t seen for 8 years who also happened to be in town; and family dinners that stretch into the early hours while we catch up on each other’s lives in ways that aren’t available via Zoom or Facetime. It’s in these moments that I find myself drinking in the love and laughter, greedily gulping it down with hopes of filling my cup with more, knowing that these moments will help sustain me through the inevitable homesickness that will hit me when it’s all over.
While I am deeply grateful for the life we have built in the States, and I’m more American now than British in some ways (so I’m told when I go home to the UK), that yearning for the feeling of home is always with me. The sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of home linger for a while before being replaced by the heat and humidity of the Floridian summer, complete with daily thunderstorms and the threats of hurricane season. There are additional risks too these days inherent in international travel. My husband just tested positive this morning for Covid-19 (again), no doubt from the 9 hour transatlantic flight. So far, I’m negative but I’ll be amazed if that lasts.
All this got me thinking about the risks that we take to build connection. It’s a vulnerable state of being when we open ourselves to others. We risk putting ourselves in harm’s way, be it from disease or the unbearable knowledge that disconnection will follow. It’s worth it though, isn’t it? To be seen and heard is terrifying sometimes, but when we are met in that space and embraced for all that we are, it can feel like coming home.
That’s the feeling that we want to cultivate in our HERD Community. Take the risk and join us in person at our conference in September. I know I’ll get the post-conference blues, but I’m so looking forward to connecting with you all!