Community Speaks

This past Sunday a woman I had never seen or met before, stood in front of our church and moved me. She spoke about the importance of environmental justice. She asked that we be stewards of our planet and protect it from the preventable destruction of climate change and wasteful pollution. But it wasn’t WHAT she said that moved me, it was what she offered – a moment to be mindful – and I took it, and was moved. I was present, in the moment, as she shared the sighs and tears and exuberance over what she loves – the earth.

Now, I don’t litter and I try to recycle as much as I can, but I can’t say I think about the earth on a daily basis. Yet hearing the passion in this woman’s voice inspired me to be more mindful about my relationship with my planet and the other life (outside of my own) that it supports. As I left church, I wondered:

What other amazing people might live in my community and have inspiring stories that can enhance my life?

Health, at its essence, is a communal notion. It involves the way we care for ourselves and  those around us. It relies on the spaces in which our bodies stretch and move and feel their power and the places where our minds think and learn and grow. But isn’t it curious that many of the spaces and places that define our health, are filled with other people – often silently going about their life, with their joys and fears and hopes and lessons hidden quietly beneath their public persona – beneath even who they allow themselves to look like on Facebook.

Ultimately, I think, health is the result of engaging the world around us and being present to both the vital resources like clean water, clean air, and nutritious food that keeps us alive and the social connections that fuel our emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual wellness.

What if we could learn about the other people who share our public spaces?

The older Korean woman who owns my local corner store…

The Spanish-speaking family who lives next door…

The 40-year-old white man who sits in the sandwich shop behind my house every day for lunch…

What are their stories? Who do they care about? What are their life lessons?

If health happens in community, then maybe when we engage those around us and are present, we can heal as we learn from each other.

I want to start right here!

In the next few months, I’m going to start posting pieces written by people I know and some I don’t, sharing thoughts, lessons, and stories about what they love and what they’ve learned. For this project I will define community as people who want to share together and include posts from friends, mentors, acquaintances, and strangers from however far my blog reaches. If you want to participate in this project, comment on this post and I’ll email you!

Ultimately, I’d like to host a Community Speaks session where people actually physically gather to be present and hear others’ stories and hopefully we can create a live feed on my blog to share the moment.

So, what do you think? If your community speaks, will you listen?

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