I’ve said it here before. I love my community. I love the community I have here at home in Canada and I love the community I have when we are out in the world traveling. But the fact of the matter is, I didn’t just stumble upon community (although many serendipitous moments led me to it). Finding community is something I have had to work towards and it takes effort to build and maintain.
It seems as though, more and more, community is hard to find. It is a symptom of our times when we don’t know our neighbours and we turn to Facebook to satisfy our cravings for interaction. By nature we are social creatures, even those of us who are introverts, but it can be hard to find true community in this hectic, scheduled world.
How do we create community?
- Become. A few years ago I was lamenting to my cousin about how I felt a lack of true community. Her advice to me was to become the person I wanted to be and in so doing I would attract those of like mind. Our lives are an evolution in and of themselves. If we don’t take the time to ask the questions of Who am I? and Who do I want to become? then our lives can easily become one of stagnation. I asked myself what kinds of communities I wanted to belong to and then found it was easier for me to identify the qualities in myself that I wanted to nurture.
- Search. The people you need to find are out there, you just have to make an effort to find them, and to be found. Ask around, ask your friends, attend classes and make connections, search the Internet….You will not find your community if you sit in your house!
- Create. Sometimes you have to create it yourself. My first year of homeschooling was lonely. I didn’t make the effort to search for community…I think I just hoped community would find me! My friend gave her advice to reach out and create my own community. I started a facebook group for homeschoolers in my area. It started off with just myself and two other homeschoolers I knew and has now grown to over 70 families.
- Connect. Once you have found your people you have to actually do something! We meet with other unschoolers twice a week, meet with other homeschoolers throughout the year, attend a monthly locavore dinner party potluck, I sing in a full moon singing group, we meet up with other traveling families when we are on the road, host other traveling families when they are in our area, and meet up with them in their homes or in places where we are traveling through. This year I plan on starting a monthly cook out with a handful of women (think making big batches of springrolls, perogies, and wontons for the freezer). All of this takes a bit of effort but the connections we make along the way are worth their weight in gold.
- Maintain. It is easy to get caught up in our own lives. Life is busy. Making time to get involved takes energy that we might not feel like we have. But even when I don’t feel like making the effort I understand that the connections fill my cup, balance me, and actually give me energy in the long run.