A Vision of Community

'Community' is a term widely used in conversation and writing on Transition. What does community mean to you? Here's a guest post shared by Jim Belcher, a member of Transition Orlando, Florida, exploring a vision of community.

Essential to the effective Transitioning from fossil fuel dependence to local resilience is our own Transition from isolated, self-centered individualists to compassionate creators of genuine community. Here's one vision for genuine community: 

LeafEcologists define community as including all species occupying a neighborhood. Try reading the following with the idea that your community includes all species and all non-living constituents of your neighborhood—however big you choose your neighborhood to be.

As Parker Palmer* says about emergence:

What is trying to emerge in our time is what has been trying to emerge forever… On the one hand, what’s trying to emerge is true self that lies beneath all our defenses and all our barriers… On the other hand, what’s trying to emerge is genuine community, a community of supportive witnesses for all beings.

Community is about possibility; it’s a way-of-being that creates a structure of belonging where beings feel at home. Community is inviting and inclusive—welcoming to strangers. Welcome home. It’s a space for uncovering and making visible each other’s gifts.  It’s a space of knowing, understanding and responding to each other’s sorrows.

Community is where we support each other becoming better listeners—listening for the cries of the world. We refrain from advising, helping, fixing and setting each other straight. We strive for complete, open and honest communication; we honor individuality and encourage creativity. We bring ideas and concerns from the margins to the center of the community for consideration.

Community carries a sense of ownership and commitment.  It is a space where we feel good about showing up, paying attention to what has heart and meaning, speaking our truth and letting go of our attachment to outcomes. It’s a space we come home to.

In community, we trust that

“All that we need is here: first, what we need is within each of us;
and second, what we need is here between us:
it’s in community, it’s in relationship.”
~Parker Palmer

What will happen to us today is completely unknown, as unknown as what will happen at death.  Whatever happens, our commitment is to awaken our heart.  As one of the slogans says, “All activities should be done with one intention.”  That intention is to realize our connection with all beings.  
~Pema Chodron, The Places that Scare You

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*See also, Parker Palmer’s book A Hidden Wholeness

Jim belcher is an active member of Transition Orlando, Florida, and can be reached at jim@transitionorlando.org.

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