Abstract: Community as part of bringing forth the best in ourselves and our world. Community as a way to foster deep and meaningful relationships, enhancing our emotional states and overall happiness. Having new conversations and focusing on each other's strengths while learning how to strengthen them. Empowering each other to feel that we matter and can contribute in some way. Inviting people that are on the edges of community, the very ones who need to be welcomed into the core of a healthy strong community. Being catalysts for resolution in the community we call our world!
“If you’ve come to help me, you’re wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”
-Lilla Watson, great aboriginal elder, educator and activist.
As we go through evolutionary change, we ask new questions. Questions on how to be part of the resolution by bringing out the best in ourselves and the others in our world. Brene Brown’s latest book, Braving the Wilderness, explores the paradigm of seeking genuine belonging instead of simply “fitting it”. Having the courage to stand with our core values. and asking, ”What is the nature of experiencing community as a way to bring out the best in ourselves and our world?”
Even with all the cultural differences, the value of strong community is universal. Many seek out community as part of their agrarian heritage. A time when families shared their lives, depending on each other for their survival and emotional support. Community for fostering deep and meaningful relationships, enhancing our emotional state and overall happiness in our world.
There are the millions of communities around the world. Neighborhoods, towns and many other diverse communities with or without boundaries. What if we enhance our communities by being part of making everyone feel that they matter and can contribute in some way? What if we use this time in history to invite the people that are on the edges of community? Focusing on discovering how they can contribute their skills, talents, assets, knowledge, hands and hearts? Embracing people who have been segregated, putting them on the outer edge of their communities such as kids being labeled as “kids a risk”. The very kids who need to be welcomed into the core of a healthy strong community. What if we have new conversations about how to bring out the best in all of us? Letting go of trapping and patronizing those who have been identified as too old, uneducated, poor, rich, smart, dumb or simply different from the norm. Cormac Russell, Managing Director of Nurture Development and the leading Asset-Based Community Development, points out the damage we can do with institutionalized services, by trying to fix, change, demeaning their power and lowering their self esteem by creating dependency on our institutional services. “When you try to change someone it feels like violence but when people make the changes themselves their contribution it feels like liberation”.
What if we focus on discovering how every person can contribute? Learning about the people in our neighborhoods, knowing they each have something to offer? What if we ask people to tell their stories about the times when someone made a difference in their lives? What if we invite each other to tell stories about what happened in our neighborhoods and communities when people with no credentials worked together to make things better.
We are not made to exist in isolation. We all need connection, encouragement and relationship to enrich our lives and contribute on a broader level. As we cultivate communities of close knit families, friends and and other diverse forms, we find security, significance and belonging. We learn that we can stand strong, that people can be there for us through the hardest and best times. We experience a sense of belonging that holds our lives together, no matter what the circumstances. We learn to stand rooted in our core values while role modeling this for others and the future of our children.
Community offers us a place for…
“Let’s recognize that we are the people we have been looking for. We are sufficient up to the challenge as we are becoming the change that we seek. It’s not them it’s us ”
– Cormac Russell, Managing Director of Nurture Development and the leading Asset-Based Community Development organization in Europe works with local communities in four continents.
About the Author:
Crystal is a certified expansion guide with the Total Integration Institute. An author, multidimensional coach and facilitator for the live event called Freedom at the Core. She is the instructor and coach for her online course, Freedom From the Inside Out. She draws from her own experience and the experience of the thousands of people she has worked with over the past 35 years. Crystal is known for the fun and empowering way she supports people in bringing forth the experiences they want in their lives. Currently she is writing a series of children's books that embrace the principles of living freedom.