In Create community to truly accelerate change in your life, part 1, I talked about how the need for community is built into our very biology, and how much it can enhance your sense of well-being, making you feel safe enough to pursue new ideas.
How do you build more community into your life?
To begin with a shift in your mindset might be in order. In America, we come from a strong cultural heritage of DIY (that stands for Do It Yourself). We believe strongly that independence is fundamental and even have many sayings to back this up, such as “if you want a thing done well, do it yourself.” Leaning on others has gotten a bad rap!
But partnership is key in today’s world, as we are all beginning to discover the hard way. So first and foremost, let this idea of leaning on others and forming interdependent partnerships in.
There are as many different ways to build more community into your life as there are human beings in this world, and no one will want to have exactly the same kind that you might. Your unique community will be a meld of your past, your hobbies, your personality, your likes and dislikes, your level of health and energy–just to name a few.
Hobbies, avocations and activities are a great and easy place to start. Look for groups that do what you love to do: knit, hike, run, garden, sail, do yoga, you name it. Or look for a group or class that teaches you how to do one of these things if you don’t already know how to do it, or want more instruction.
Activism is another great place to look. Is there something you would like to change in the world–or even on your block? Do cars speed too much in your neighborhood? What group already exists that addresses some of these issues, or could you form such a group?
Your current life stage is another good place to create community. If you are a new Mom, then a Mother’s group might be found in your area, or a toddler play class. If your child is in school, think of the PTA or the school’s annual silent auction. If you are a single mother, look for a support group or form one of your own. Creat a group for women going through menopause that want to learn to do math for the first time in their lives! There is no end of possibilities.
If nothing particulary strikes your fancy or seems to match your passions, then go to anything. That might sound extreme or silly, but it isn’t. Just attending groups or local events will expose you to new ideas and new people and will generate some learning that can lead you in the right direction. Take action!
People often ask if internet groups or discussion forums provide a sense of community. The answer is yes, but also no. Internet groups can definitely make us feel connected and stimulate our imaginations, but they just don’t take the place of face-to-face encounters. There is a synergy that occurs when we get together that technology just can’t replace, for one thing, and even more importantly, makes us feel so strongly connected.
So, to experience the maximum in personal growth–don’t try to go it alone! Build a community.
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