At first, since the almost all the townfolk were originally from the same small town in Italy, it was thought that good health must be because of the renowned "Mediterranean Diet". Investigation revealed that no, for the most part, the people had Americanized their diet, replacing olive oil with lard and eating sweets on a regular basis rather than just on special occasions. So they looked to genetics, but discovered that relatives living in other areas did not have the same health statistics. Neighboring towns fit the demographics of the rest of the country, so it wasn't something in the air or water. The investigators were challenged to figure out what made this town special.
They finally determined that it must be something about the community itself, and as they set about observing the residents they noticed that people seemed very close knit and supportive of each other. Neighbors visited every day and got together for meals; people were very active in civic organizations and in the church. Extended families lived together, elders were respected and honored, people helped each other when in need. Their social structure closely mirrored the 'paesani' culture of their origins in a small Italian town, and the world they created in Pennsylvania based on that place of origin had such a unifying and calming effect on its citizens that heart attacks were an anomaly in their lives. The community they created was a true buffer from the stress and challenges of the external world.
Most of us don't have that ancestral 'set up' as a precursor for collaborative harmony. However, when people work together for a common goal they are able to create a community structure that functions towards that purpose. Theatre companies, support groups, team players, and families can transcend individual egos for the good of the whole. So let's contribute to good health this holiday season. Wherever you go follow your heart and look to create community even when it appears to be a daunting task. Hold the intention of peace and good will. Practice acceptance, compassion, and forgiveness. Focus on what connects you to others rather than on what makes you different. Look for that spark of the divine in each person you see, and keep in mind that "every human is holy to someone".
"If everyone opened their eyes they'd see
That loving feeling is waiting within us
And if everyone opened their hearts they'd see
That every human is holy to someone."
David Crosby & Graham Nash