Monthly Archives: August 2014

My New Learning Community

Greetings dear friends!  I’m in the midst of a book titled, “Deepening Community: Finding Joy Together in Chaotic Times”, a gift given to my by the outstanding Chris Lee, and written by Paul Born.  Paul Born lives and works in Cambridge, Ontario in Canada.  Paul Born is the co-founder of the Tamarack Institute, http://www.tamarackcommunity.ca, whose ‘about me’ tab on their website reads:

“Founded in 2001, Tamarack is a charity that develops and supports learning communities to help people collaborate and to co-generate knowledge that solves complex community challenges. Our deep hope is to end poverty in Canada.”

I thought I’d just give you their explanation word for word, so as not to confuse anyone with how I paraphrase people who are brilliant with my incredibly long-winded ramblings 🙂

Paul Born

Paul Born

In exploring the Tamarack Institute, via their website, I discovered they host and facilitate different learning communities with individual, specific websites holding questions, conversations, providing avenues for publications via blogs  and disseminate resources people who are interested.  I joined Seeking Community, http://www.seekingcommunity.ca, for several reasons…but let me just do as I’ve done before and give you their mission word for word:

“Imagine: city planners designing neighbourhoods to increase social capital; elderly people staying in their neighbourhoods for another 5 years; mental health rates declining because neighbours are caring for each other and creating a greater sense of connection and belonging together.  Seeking Community is a Learning Community for individuals who care about the vibrancy of their communities.  Our aim is to encourage and connect individuals who are hosting conversations to recapture the idea of community; to make it a guiding force in organizing our neighbourhoods and institutions and for envisioning policies for well-being.

Seeking Community brings together people with diverse experiences and understandings of community into a dialogue about the importance of having a deepened sense of community. This online community allows you to create a profile, listen to podcasts, post blogs, post links to other websites, and other resources. Our Learning Community includes ten Thought Leaders: people who bring various insights and expertise into this overall dialogue. Over the next 3 years, we will host 1,000 conversations about community. Our online Learning Community will act as a vibrant space to document these conversations; analyze them to see what patterns emerge; and engage the Learning Community in co-generating insights from this data.  Once clear understandings begin to emerge, we will bring these to policy makers, celebrities and other people of influence to propose policy changes that acknowledge the importance of community.”

This is an e-newsletter they publish...one example of the general awesomeness of this community...

This is an e-newsletter they publish…one example of the general awesomeness of this community…

Anyone who knows me even remotely, understands how elated I am to have found these people…and I’m even more thrilled to take advantage of how welcoming this community is of new people and the desire to hear from a broad range of people…all for the common good!!  I’m now a member of this learning community, and I encourage all of you to check out the links I posted and see if it’s something you’d be into.  I remain thirsty to grow in this idea of connection. I remain open to hearing from any and all people who want to talk about it.  I am seeking community…a deepening community. I’m so grateful to Chris for having given the simple gift of a book, yet with intention, knowing who I am and what I’m into…I thank you Chris for being a true friend.  And since I’ve decided to share words with you directly from these wonderful people and what they are up to, I’m going to leave with you a poem written by Paul Born, titled “Finding Together”…it is all I want to read these days…over and over and over again!  Sending my love and gratitude to you all…

 

Finding Together

spending time together with…

friends

family

colleagues and associates

…just about anyone is such joy

To play, to visit, to eat, to sing even to pray …

opens me to the other – we

connect

converse

commune

What am I longing for if not this?

Do I really want more?

Do I have more to give?

If so what?

What are my longings? …

belonging?

commitment?

faithfulness?

They tell me I cannot have these things, that I am a dreamer ?

They do not say this kindly as if telling me to stop.

You have a good life – open your eyes be happy.

Or look – you already have these things, your family, your wife.

Yes, I say – I see these but I want more and it is not because I am unhappy.

What might it be like to wake up…

And know…

And feel…

And accept…

That I am part of something bigger

Something intentional, hopeful, safe.

Where my neighbours have committed,

Where I have committed

Where we have committed to each other

Where the world is better

Where our lonely resides

Where our fear rests

Where our tears are harvested

And our dreams nourished

A place where truth is easy

And visions are shared

Where my best greets your best

And where living together is easy because

I is We and We is Us.

They say you speak of heaven

Such places only exist in our longing

There is no place for such places in the now.

But still I long and wonder…

What must I give, how deep must my longing be to live such a life?

Let's hold this together...

Let’s hold this together…

 

 

 

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Our City, Your City

August in Edinburgh. The city is taken over by the festival, and the streets thrum with people handing out flyers, juggling, singing, rushing to watch shows, rushing to perform shows, milling around, and generally festivaling all over the place.

In these early weeks, it is so interesting to watch the visitors to the city start to own the place. The manner in which people move around the streets alters. Initially there is an excited energy, a spirit of adventure, curiosity, and discovery. And then gradually, the energy changes from curiosity to familiarity, and the performers, ushers, bar staff, and festival visitors start to become a happy kind of exhausted which leaves them more relaxed and at ease here. Ultimately, I see people lounging around, arms draped over the shoulders of someone they may barely have known three weeks ago. It is the immersion in a creative experience that does it, I think, and it creates powerful bonds between people and location.

I know the feeling they are experiencing and I also know that from the outside, residents of Edinburgh can read the attitude as a kind of arrogance which can be a little bit off putting. But it is a wonderful thing for people to experience and this post is my welcome to you all. Enjoy owning our city! Make for yourselves great memories, establish friendships, create in-jokes and nicknames, and always remember Edinburgh with fondness. It is a beautiful city, and big enough to share.

Happy festival, everyone!

Busy festival crowds on Edinburgh's Royal Mile

A city alive!

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Seeking An Undivided Life

About a year ago, I finished Parker Palmer’s Book:  “A Hidden Wholeness:  The Journey Toward An Undivided Life”.  It came at a particularly critical time for me as I had been, and frankly still am, searching for how to live my inner self, outwardly.  Once again, much like John O’Brien and his Integrity Gap nailing some guilt I’d been struggling with, with an actual name, Parker Palmer’s wisdom opens clarity about the journey I find myself in.  I’ve linked in a 6-minute clip of Parker Palmer talking about what he means by ‘divided life’, where it comes from and how it can be detrimental to our living a life with true purpose.

I’m interested in being the best version of myself…but think, perhaps, I’ve been going about it the wrong way.  Looking introspectively into my life, grasping a true sense of what I believe, what I stand for,  then drives how I interface with the world and humans around me.  If I can be my true self, then the authenticity that Palmer speaks of,  permeates all interactions, connections and relationships.  Subsequently, my life becomes whole, vibrant, salient and purpose-driven…and a purpose-driven life, hopefully, provides a compass for which my children perhaps will use to guide them as they evolve into contributing citizens, in their chosen places, where ever they land, and with whomever they are with.

Big love to you all…

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