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Importance of Community

I’ve been thinking a lot about community lately and the various versions of community that have been and are in my life. I've realized that I am not always intentional in declaring the importance of each community and what level of engagement supports that intention. Many of our communities are naturally created when we are part of a sport, school, or parents of kids in school and activities. And other communities we seek out due to passions and interests that fuel us. At times in my life,  I have felt obligated to

be a certain way and expected to do things to be part of a community, which can be exhausting. On the other hand, there is nothing quite like being a part of a community where you just are you. The richness in the giving and receiving is quite beautiful. The impact of being in a community can be subtle or monumental depending on what you are experiencing in your life.

Interestingly, our communities don’t need to be highly organized to provide joy and enrichment. I think of the many individuals my husband and I have seen for years while walking our dog up in the foothills. We stop along the dirt paths amongst wildflowers and wildlife and share stories, swap advice for our furry friends and maybe learn a little about the people too. The interactions are fleeting and we may know the pet’s name, but not the owner’s name, nonetheless, this is a community of dog lovers who take their dogs for walks in nature and we share that love and experience. We find ourselves looking for the older folks we haven’t seen at their “usual” time and wondering if they are ok. We notice the new folks and welcome them with a smile and a pet of their furry friend. It’s intentional and flexible and fills an important space in our hearts and lives. 

Yoga is another community that I am a part of. My yoga community has shifted and evolved and will continue to do so. At a macro level, I can mention to a stranger that I am a Yogi and instantly build a connection if they are a Yogi too. We might never practice together, but we share that passion and are part of that larger community. At the micro level, I am part of a virtual yoga group of women covering multiple generations who come together three times a week to practice in our own homes across the country. We found each other during COVID through our love of the practice and our extraordinary instructor who leads us. Our paths would not have crossed without this community of practice. It is this community that I intentionally invest in and receive so much from in return. Over time, we have built trust with our presence and sharing. The more we open up, the more support pours in through our screens. We have shared major life events, offered advice, and laughed and cried together. Sometimes we don’t say much at all and I feel the collective strength of our community fueling each of us with the intentionality and commitment we all bring to the group through our practice. I wish for everyone to find a community like this one that holds no expectations and provides so much in the mere being of it. 

We can be associated with a community where we simply acknowledge its presence, or be heavily committed to a community where we intentionally invest time and energy for connection, sharing, and support, or somewhere in between. Bringing awareness and clarity to the broader purpose and intent behind the communities we are a part of helps solidify, align, and prioritize our life activities and interactions. I believe our communities ground us in our authentic selves when chaos and uncertainty surround us and support us to create happiness and fulfillment in our lives.  

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