Returning to the Power, Solace and Resilience of Community
“I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live.” ~ George Bernard Shaw
There is a quiet but growing movement happening all over. Perhaps it’s the result of shaky economies or people rediscovering the simple(r) more rewarding joys that come with shedding unnecessary things in our lives.
Perhaps you’ve already discovered it — or are helping to lead it. Maybe this is your invitation to become a part of it. What’s old is now new (again).
It is called community.
We are all part of one in some way, shape or form. From the neighbors in our cities and towns to the people we work with day in and day out to those who we have come to know and appreciate via this amazing thing call the Internet.
Communities are living, breathing things; dynamic in shape and form and purpose; sparked and sustained by common aspirations, goals and in many cases, necessities.
Fueling Change and Success
The lifeblood of these communities? You and me.
It’s only when we become engaged in these living and breathing communities that they thrive. The great thing is that there is no shortage of ways you can do this. In my experience, there is always a need for the time, talents and know-how that you can bring to the table. Organizations big and small – from your local neighborhood association to the schools to your town/city government have doors that are wide open, just waiting for you to come in, hang your hat and get to work.
If you are taking steps to live deeply each day, you are likely finding new avenues of satisfaction and happiness. You’re focused on things that allow us to realize that innate peace and happiness that resides in each one of us. You’re beginning to share and practically apply what you’ve come to embrace.
Being part of creating (and sustaining) a vibrant and resilient community is a fantastic next step as we seek to live our lives in this new way. As time goes on, I believe we will see a return to the power and solace of community. Partly because of the practicality of keeping things close to home; partly out of necessity as the world comes face-to-face with the consequences of uncontrolled and unchecked consumption.
Getting On Board the Bandwagon
In my own neck of the woods (suburban New England), there has been a renaissance of sorts when it comes to community. Several non-profit organizations supporting the arts, land conservation and local business development have cropped up over the past few years and in their work to further their respective missions have helped create new opportunities for the community to come together, get to know each other and work to make things better. Farmers markets, “cow flops”, harvest days, film series, community music, art and theater… the list goes on.
If you have children, the ways to get involved are even easier. From schools to sports to other organizations that help build character and have fun, there are more ways than you can shake a stick at to help make a difference.
Even at the local government level, there is always a need for the talents of others. Volunteer boards and commissions focused on everything from recycling to business development to resource planning are waiting for you to come knocking.
Go Ahead, Get Engaged
The number one tip for getting engaged in creating and driving vibrant communities: Tap into an opportunity that leverages what makes you you.
Do you like to organize things? Have a knack for leading people and projects? Do you exercise creative flair in all that you do? Can you mesmerize kids like the Pied Piper? Or woo would-be donors to invest in a vision? Maybe you’re a Jack-of-All-Trades that is willing to roll up your sleeves for anything that is thrown at you.
Someone, somewhere has a need for you, your talents and your time. Your community needs you to help breathe new life into it. To help it grow and thrive in the face of all that challenges it. Here are some things to help you:
Spark Your Spirit
- Read about taking initiative and instigating change within your four spheres of influence
- Learn how one community is using food to bring together strangers and breathe new life into an socially depressed city
- Or the resilience of one community’s citizens to come together and forge a new regional economy
Ignite Your Action
Here are resources to connect you with opportunities that may be lurking right around the corner:
- Search far and wide for volunteer opportunities at idealist.org
- Check out your local town or city website for volunteer listings
- Learn practical ways for putting your boots on the ground right outside your door
- YES! Magazine has an amazing array of articles about and how-to’s for building resilient communities
Changing ourselves is the first step. From there, it is up to each of us to hit the streets and put our words into action. Together, we can make a difference.
Do you have an idea for making our communities more resilient? Looking for some feedback? Feel free to leave and comment and share with other readers. You never know what kind of connection you could make!
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