by: Scott Bakken
This video is from a Socality Instameet that took place Saturday January 24th. Over 150 people came from across the state and beyond. We gathered for purpose and for community. Most started as strangers but ended as friends. Seeing the faces of all the individuals got me thinking about all the fighting that takes place between individuals, families and countries. It got me asking, "what are we fighting for'?
We are living in some very unique days. I can still remember where I was when 911 happened and the planes hit the World Trade Center. I remember the stillness of that day as everyone was in a literal state of shock. As our world went from stable to uncertain in a matter of minutes, people were filled with compete fear about the future. One of the first and natural reactions that took place was an incredible sense of unity. People joined together and supported the efforts for world peace. Stories would emerge over the weeks about the volunteers helping to clean up ground zero and the morale of the world was lifted by our love for our neighbours. We had no idea what tomorrow would hold and that was indicated through an overwhelming love for each other.
Fast forward years later and we seem to be more divided than ever. We have left that unity at ground zero and we have replaced it with divide over politics, war, social matters and whatever topics fill the daily headlines. I would ask, 'what are we really fighting for'? Are we fighting for unity and for love or just to be right and get what we want. Fighting requires so much effort and the effort is worth it if you are actually fighting for the right things.
If we are to put our energy into anything, it should be for community and to work together. To demonstrate love and respect for each other and be in relationship with each other, even if you don't always agree. Creating spaces where people actually feel invited, not based on their worth or influence as determined by a social system but rather because they simply exist.
Fighting for community takes work! It doesn't come easy or naturally and it will take us to rise up and grow up.
Below are 5 key things we need to consider when we are working towards community development.
Start With Yourself- it is so easy to point out the issue in another person. Being a critic is probably the easiest job in the world. It takes a real mature person to sit down and analyze their own issues and acknowledge what they need to sort out within themselves. You will never change the world by telling it what is wrong with it, but rather deciding to be the change and start with yourself.
Forgiveness- Holding a grudge is a debilitating thing for ones life. It has been said that bitterness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. It only keeps you from moving forward. Learning to forgive is imperative to community. Take a bold step to approach others and make things right and allow healing to come into relationships. Build bridges not walls.
Gossip- If people gossip to you they will surely gossip about you! People sharing opinions to gossip about each other is a very unhealthy habit for community building. Nothing says 'I don't have your back' like talking about a friend. Learn to choose your words wisely. People will be able to determine what kind of person you are from the conversations they have with you. Be someone who lifts others up and encourages people to be better.
Team Spirit- We have to learn to celebrate with others even if it means the spotlight didn't land on us. In fact, in true community people aren't afraid to shine the spotlight on others at all. You understand that celebrating others, especially for their successes is so important. When the local team from community wins the grande prize it elevates everyone to a new level. We can't all be the one who scores the goal or wins the game, but it doesn't mean you can't enjoy that win just as much as everyone else. Celebrate each other.
Stay Committed- When the going gets tough, you just stay in the game. It is natural and easy to go hide and isolate yourself when things go south. Andi Andrew said being in community is like being in a gym locker room. You have to get changed in front of each other. This is vulnerable and uncomfortable. Staying committed allows you to grow in ability, opportunity and relationships. The longer you stay around the stronger you get. Be committed to the process and that means being committed to the people around you.
Stay tuned for more Instameets and events in the near future. Use #socality and include your city behind it (ex: #socalityseattle). This will help you find local community and help others find you.