December 2017 Letter From Publisher
Once upon a time, when the world was smaller and most individuals didn’t venture too far, the word community was neatly defined as the people and businesses closest to us. In our expansive and hyper-connected modern world, the word is often characterized more by similarity of purpose and mission than physical proximity. Community—while it may still mean a place—really encompasses a feeling, a synergy of hearts and minds.
Natural Awakenings is a large and loosely knit network of individual business owners bound by a common sensibility and passion for making the world a better place. By definition, our community is of the newer type; more than 80 strong, we’re spread across the country, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. Despite the fact that many of us have never met and there are great physical distances between us, we were powerfully reminded in the last quarter of this year about the bonds of Natural Awakenings’ community. That was when, in quick succession, there were a series of natural disasters which had lasting impact on our community. Hurricanes struck first and affected many, with Harvey menacing our Texan contingent and Irma hitting the Naples corporate headquarters in Florida with force. Our amazing team at the mothership somehow prepared and carried on so our readers across the country didn’t notice a thing; however, it was not business as usual for quite some time.
Not long after Irma came Hurricane Maria, which devastated Puerto Rico, home to one of the longest running Natural Awakenings’ editions. Waleska Sallaberry, who publishes Natural Awakenings Puerto Rico with her partner Luis, relocated to the tri-state area with her children so she could enroll them in school while other Natural Awakenings’ publishers set up fundaraisers to benefit the holistic community back in Puerto Rico.
In October, while Waleska was visiting Long Island publisher Kelly Martinsen, the group woke in the middle of the night to an electrical fire. Kelly’s home was destroyed. She posted on Facebook: “We had a fire and I know that there is word out there that we ‘lost everything.’ I want to assure everyone that this is not the case. While our house may be totaled, ‘everything’ I need was found the morning after the fire as I held my kids (all three, even my furry one!) and my husband in my driveway. For now, we have no needs.”
Community brings people together from near and far, connected by an idea, a common goal, a sense of purpose, a need for joy, solace or escape. What I wish and intend for our future is that more people can embody that humanity is a community unto itself. The stuff we collect and the subsets we choose to form—the “tribes” we seek and hold dear—are precious indeed but at this time may serve to divide us more than bring us together. The time has come for us to search for common ground and connection with all others. While as individuals we may be mighty, as a human collective we could be unstoppable.
I hope this month’s articles will provide some pearls of wisdom or bits of inspiration on the path to expanding our communities both near and far. I’m wishing you the happiest of holidays and peace on earth for the coming year.
With love and light,