KIN STORIES

Cultivating Community

1. a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.

2. the condition of sharing or having certain attitudes and interests in common.
”the sense of community that organized religion can provide”

The word community seems to be a buzzword among people like me, those who are desperately trying to detach themselves from the world of materialism and consumerism (well at least that’s the perception of myself that I hope I portray). In a world that is constantly attempting to drive us apart, segregate us, grade us and rate us, how beautiful is the soft hum of the phrase “a particular characteristic in common”. This idea that there is a group of people out there that not only will tolerate my differences, but revere them, celebrate them and agree with them. They actually have characteristics in common with me, they are in this group because they chose to be, not because I paid them, forced them or coerced them.

Even more delicious than the first definition is the second, beyond characteristics, those in community with you have shared attitudes and interests, This means that those who you find in your community have developed a settled way of thinking or feeling about the world that we live in. They have an innate desire to know or learn something about you and what you stand for. And more often than not, they stand for the same things. In a world where social media drives us apart, titles define us and likes boost our self-esteem, how glorious is it to know that when you find yourself within a community of like-minded people, you have the undivided attention of decent human beings that treasure your opinion and celebrate that which makes you, you.

The greatest lesson we can ever learn is to treat others as we would like to be treated, and I don’t believe that there is a sound-mind on earth that can refute that simple yet powerful statement.

I think, with my admittedly limit knowledge of the universe and its workings, that true community begins with the cultivation of empathy and kindness, a fiercely passionate striving to understand and share the feelings of another while being friendly, generous, and considerate. The greatest lesson we can ever learn is to treat others as we would like to be treated, and I don’t believe that there is a sound-mind on earth that can refute that simple yet powerful statement. The sad reality of buzz words and in vogue topics is that they are often spoke about, wrote about and desired, but struggle to make their way to fruition. Creating a community or attempting to enter one is terrifying, it involves putting yourself out there, being selfless, putting away the smartphone that you hide behind, taking the focus off yourself and striving to understand another.The real question then becomes, if this idea of community sounds so wonderful, am I cultivating one? Am I brave enough to enter one? If there is one thing that I can leave you with today, it is this; We have no control over anyone or anything other than ourselves. If we would like to create this group of people that have empathy, kindness and a shared interest in everyone’s well-being, then the only place we can start is ourselves. Are you ready to cultivate your community?

(Author: Jessica Carolissen)

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