COMMUNITY - Sharing, participation, and fellowship.
I just looked through the posts from my last community week and I have to laugh. I went and got all scientific about my study of community and I didn't really increase any fellowship, sharing or participation in my own life. In my one of the posts I distinguished the term "social capital" and I identified it as the causative factor in my favorite communities both past and present.
In "Bowling Alone, The Collapse and Revival of American Community" byRobert D. Putnam as re-capped by Simon and Schuster "Putnam warns that our stock of social capital - the very fabric of our connections with each other, has plummeted, impoverishing our lives and communities...interviews over the last quarter century to show that we sign fewer petitions, belong to fewer organizations that meet, know our neighbors less, meet with friends less frequently, and even socialize with our families less often. We're even bowling alone. More Americans are bowling than ever before, but they are not bowling in leagues. Putnam shows how changes in work, family structure, age, suburban life, television, computers, women's roles and other factors have contributed to this decline."
This week I will make my bliss initiatives about increasing the social capital in my communities. I've lived in my new neighborhood for more then four months now and I barely know my neighbors. There is a family with little kids diagonally across the street from us and we have never even spoken! Crazy. I do have pockets of great social capital, like with my mom friends and families. Photos (Thank you Lisa!) are from our most recent pot luck supper. This week is about creating more of that!
To recap for my newest readers, my Everyday Bliss game is based loosely on Ben Franklin's weekly focus on each of his 13 virtues. Instead of using Ben's virtues, I have chosen virtues that I believe will encourage Everyday Bliss. In addition to focusing on my virtues, each week I come up with "Bliss Initiatives" (color coded in purple for quick identification!) which are concrete things that you too can try, if you want to play along with me. However, because as Earl Nightingale says, "you become what you think about," even if you only follow along, and never take on any of thebliss initiatives, I expect some increase in your experience of bliss too!
Identify all of my communities. In this exercise I will identify all the communities where I currently participate and determine in what new communities I want to participate. This should be a very fun exercise. Some communities are obvious like families, neighborhoods but others like park users, performing art center patrons aren't always at the forefront of our minds but are still part of the world we operate in.
Meet the neighbors. I am going to make a point of talking to my neighbors and being outside and available late afternoons when I normally see activity on the street. I am also going to talk to my neighbor's daughter (see I don't even know her name!) about doing some babysitting for me. She is the right age, seems very nice and if she is interested it would be fabulous to have someone so close to watch Jessie from time to time. How about you? Anyone in your communities you would like to meet? Maybe a shopkeeper who is always nice, the lady who sits next to you on train, the mom you've seen at the park? Pick someone and say hello!
On line community development. This is a continuation of my inquiry from last week. I would like to create and/or participate in a vibrant on line community. For me this means a little more research and discovery around what I am looking for and developing what it is I want to create. I will definitely be participating more fully in the places I already visit. This initiative is about letting your voice be heard. Comment in the blogs you read, in forums you belong to contribute a post, stop lurking and start playing!