Penguin Community Image from Red Deer Public Library website
When I begin each week, I take a few minutes and review what I have done in previous weeks. I have to say that I am rather disappointed in my previous outings on this topic. Of all my virtues, Community has been with me the longest. Long before I ever considered this project, community has been my lynch pin. More then 20 years ago, I attended Tony Robbins'Date with Destiny seminar and was guided through an exercise that brought us to an aha moment about our core values and what it was that was most important to us. The thing I came up with in that moment was "Fostering Community." I really felt in the very core of my being that I wanted to do something with my life that helped to bring people together.
I had distinguished community as my highest priority. Ever since that moment I have been really certain that somehow my very presence could be a catalyst for people belonging.. Frankly, I really can't help myself. Whenever I show up some where I end up running things or otherwise putting my spin on things.. Just this past week, as I was choosing which committees to join at the parent participation pre-school little J will be attending, I had to laugh at the question "Would you be willing to chair any of these committees?" Yes damn it. I would. I will be chairing committees and devoting way more personal time then any parent that school has ever known. When I am in. I'm ALL in. I don't really know how to stop myself.
I wrote last time out that my fear of my all consuming participation has been keeping me from participating but I believe it is time for me to grow up. The trick for me will be about balance. I already know I am good at bringing people together. Can I do it without it being at the expense of other things in my life I also deem important? I have been shying away from community for fear of letting it overtake my life. This week I'm going to find a middle ground.
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 the bliss initiatives, I expect some increase in your experience of bliss too!
- Get off the Couch - Turn off electronics and get out of the house. Find a local activity that sounds fun and attend.
- Sit on your front porch - In the world of backyard decks people have stopped hanging out in front of their houses. Try sitting on your front stoop and saying hello to those who pass by. I've started a Monday ritual to clean out my car right out in front of my house. I'm busy doing something that needs to happen, anyone who has a pre-schooler who shares a car with them will concur on this fact, and I have the added bonus of seeing and talking to my neighbors who I otherwise wouldn't see.
- Find a group that shares your passion - What ever your passion, gardening, scrapbooking, skydiving or anything else and there are likely groups who gather to do these very things. Seek them out and join one. Doing something you love in the company of others can be exhilarating!
- Buy local - One of the quickest way to really feel like you are part of a community is to get to know your local merchants. Get to know the folks at your local hardware store, farmers market, small gift shops and diners. When you know these people by name even mundane purchases become excercises in community building.
How will you foster community this week?
My 13 bliss virtues are joy, order, creativity, passion, whimsy, serenity, inquiry, community, romance, gratitude, moxie, humility, and surprise.
This week we are studying Community. Next up is Romance Week.