Monday, March 5, 2012

Community

From Living in Gratitude: A Journey That Will Change Your Life by Angeles Arrien:

          Harvests and celebrations involve bringing clusters of people together and
          are essentially community endeavors.  The word community (common unity)
          comes from two Latin words that mean "fellowship" and "shared by all".
          Community is natural to our species, as it is to the rest of nature. ...Human
          beings are happiest in groups where they can share and contribute the most,
          whether they are participating in the joys of life or it's tragedies.

          
This quote brought a few ideas to mind for me. While I thought I understood completely what community is about, I would have to say I must have forgotten some things myself.  This definition made me understand why certain communities I have been in, have fallen apart. The part on "shared by all", is what started me thinking. 

If people are supposedly involved in a community, and they aren't sharing - are they really involved in that community?  No, they can't be.  They aren't fully invested. Which of course begs the question - then why be involved at all? To which the only answer I can come up with is they are focused on purely selfish needs instead. A community is one of give and take - hence the last part of this quote -- people are happiest where they can share and contribute the most - whether for joy or through tragedies.  People who aren't sharing in a community will eventually learn they aren't happy either. They are denying themselves a human instinct. So while being selfish, taking what they can get, they are also denying themselves the ability to share with others.

If you are involved in any sort of community, it does become easy to tell who is committed and who is not, and as they say, hindsight is 20/20. Look back over communities you have been involved with.  Do you have someone in your own community who shows up only occasionally? Do they always come empty handed? Do you hear excuses like, "I didn't know" a lot?  These are all easy giveaways that the person in your midst is not interested in real "community", they are instead interested in what's in it for them only.  It's impossible to build a real community with people who are unwilling to participate in the give and take community requires. Those who are unable to share or give,  perhaps need to take a deep look inside themselves and figure out why. Until they do, they will never find a true community to completely need all of their needs.


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