With over 200 Facebook friends, I have an online family that includes: relatives, high school/college friends, writer/artist friends, friends from my time living abroad, and a few people who were suggested as friends. They all have their own status updates, profile pictures, and “what element are you” results. Snaking down the page as well are Farkle, Farmland and Mafia War scores on the update feed, which grows like a ticker tape. Amidst this overwhelming barrage of personal information are very real connections.

soulful_networkingI first joined Facebook because of my 20th high school reunion. One of my dearest friends convinced me that I should join to connect in advance. I was a bit skeptical about opening myself up to the world. This is not something that writers spending countless solitary hours at a computer usually do. Or do we? After several weeks of being on Facebook, I saw the love and light in the eyes of childhood friends who are now adults with their own families. They have all struck out on their own and have found amazing life paths. They are all messengers. Each of us has a unique message to share, from whatever point we are at on our journey. Often these roads connect and overlap. Friendships evolve, expand and find renewal after years of living.

When I arrived at my high school reunion, we embraced, giggled – eyes sparkling in recognition of our 18-year-old selves shining through. Whatever the best memories of each of my fellow alumni were, this is what I saw. Happiness spread like wildfire that evening. It was the contagious spirit of everyone genuinely being happy to see each other. I hope to make it to future reunions, embracing the people we will become then too.

Reaching out on Facebook is as easy as greeting the day with your first status update. Often friends will simply post inspiring words to uplift and bring comfort to others. How wonderful that we can have these on-going conversations to guide us and sustain us throughout the day. In a world where extended families live in different states or even different continents, this kind of technologically advanced immediacy is a necessity. I asked my friend, artist Jennifer Peña (www.faeriedust.com), to share some of her thoughts about the nourishing qualities of online social websites.

“… I have found a community of people who share similar interests and talents, which has left me feeling not so adrift in my island of creativity. Through Twitter, I read inspiring messages from artists like Yoko Ono who reach my spirit and sense of connectedness to the universe…Facebook has created also a support system of people with common life experiences, as in one friend who has also lost a brother.”

The universe supports you in everything you do, think and create. So too, do your Facebook friends, if you have the courage to put it out there and click send. Spread joy widely and nourish the souls of others. Reach out and just connect.

Cristina M. R. Norcross is the author of Land & Sea: Poetry Inspired by Art (2007), The Red Drum (2008, 2013), Unsung Love Songs (2010), The Lava Storyteller (2013) and Living Nature's Moments: A Conversation Between Poetry and Photography, with Patricia Bashford (2014). Her works appear in North American/international journals and anthologies. She was the co-editor for the project One Vision: A Fusion of Art & Poetry in Lake Country (2009-11) and is currently one of the co-organizers of Random Acts of Poetry & Art Day. Cristina is also the founding editor of the online poetry journal, Blue Heron Review. Find out more about this author at: www.FirkinFiction.com. (Author photo by www.perrenphotography.com). Contact Cristina at Bookndz@yahoo.com.

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