Learning to Build Community; Sharing to Sustain it

I am in the middle of a terribly compelling read: The Soul of Money by Lynne Twist (2003).  Recommended to me by a good friend, I am finding much in its pages to wake up and shake up my thinking and feeling around not just money, but my fundamental beliefs related to scarcity and sufficiency.  At the same time, I’m thinking about my inner and outer resources: what are the things I hold dear and what do I have the greatest joy in sharing?

My last post talked about the value of being able to learn as more essential to progress than knowing stuff.  Getting beyond thinking that revolves around money and thinking about resources that I have and what I would call important, I recognize both my unbridled enthusiasm for learning and my deeper need for sustaining and sustainable community – not simply having community but creating, developing and nurturing community.  An in my pursuit of learning, I have often discovered communities of like-minded individuals through workshops and courses. However, the experience was often fleeting. Shortly following the conclusion of the event that brought us together, despite our promises to stay in touch, our individual and group connections sputter and eventually fade into the (often digital) background. My sense of community with that set of people may remain faintly in tact, yet it rarely becomes the go-to resource which sustains me and lasts over time.

Oddly enough, and I hesitate to admit it, I have found pieces of that aspired community experience specifically on twitter. I feel like I have gained a few twitter neighbors with whom I gladly connect and share. It helps me to have just a few such neighbors in that vast online world who are able to offer genuine interaction when I need it and whose wider contributions of links and thoughts, I can often use and incorporate into my practice. When I look at this development in the context of resource flow, I see that in order to create more of the community I so desire, I can dare to share a bit more.  The community can become stronger, better, fuller when I offer what resources I have, however humble.

With so much talk about making a difference in the world, it’s easy to scare ourselves away from acting on anything based on all the inadequacies we bring to the task matched up with the magnitude, complexity and variety of needs to be addressed. It is exactly at this intersection where learning builds the bridges we need to get beyond our hesitancy to act. Learning, experimenting, risking, discovering – these are the experiences which build and strengthen communities when they are shared and extended beyond the two halves of our constantly churning brains. This process also  fairly accurately describes my  increased involvement in online media, especially through this blog and twitter: a steadily unfolding learning experience, a flow.

On a more practical note: I have found that it also pays to repeat some thoughts which we’ve previously shared and to stay tuned to others because when we least expect it, that critical piece of learning we were missing may just show up at the right time. (Thanks for Rafranz Davis and Beth Stiller for recently sharing tips about how to use google forms which I was able to immediately apply!)  And if that doesn’t happen, all we have to do is ask. Right, neighbor?

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