By Brandy Terrell, LCSW – September 17, 2019

We all have connections to family, friends, faith, and community, to name a few. These connections are vital to our health and well-being. We know that being connected to other people provides an increased sense of belonging and support, which in turn creates protective factors that help us overcome struggles and build resilience.

However, there is much more to our connections. Our bonds run deep and are often weaved into the fiber of our existence. This type of connection is our karass! The word karass, coined by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. refers to a network or group of people that, unknown to them, are linked, specifically to fulfill the will of God.

It is in these experiences where true beauty and wonder lies, even in our unawareness.

The extraordinary thing about karass is that we don’t always realize when we are an important connection for someone else. It is as if we are placed in the path of others by some force; perhaps it’s God, Buddha, Karma or any other name we have assigned to something that we may not fully comprehend.

Have you ever felt that you were placed in a particular situation for a reason? The reason may be unknown at the time but the power or pull that you feel is unmistakable. You just know that you need to be right where you are at that exact moment. Maybe you need to be there for your own sake, or maybe you need to be there for someone else.  I think this is what karass means, but you can decide for yourself.  

What I do know for sure is that small acts of random kindness matter. Maybe there really isn’t such a thing as “random” anyway.

Maybe holding a door open, donating money and time, calling up an old friend in their time of need, helping your neighbor put up hay or bring in the crops are all part of connections. Showing graciousness to strangers, being at the right place at the right time to help change a flat tire, call 911 or any other random act is probably karass and the people involved are also your karass.

I challenge you to be a connection for someone. Enlarge your karass. Be a pleasant memory for someone. Live each day to reach out and express kindness, a gentle word, or lend a hand to someone.

I also challenge you to think about all of the people who have supported you, who have never given up on you, who have given you the hard truth or who have simply listened without judgement, for they have had a hand in creating who you are today. They are your karass!

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