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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Creating social fabric

I just read this in a book by Peter Block, "Community: The structure of belonging," (Berret-Kohler Publishers, San Francisco) and recognized it as the process we're in:

"The social fabric of community is formed from an expanding shared sense of belonging. It is shaped by the idea that only when we are connected and care for the well-being of the whole that a civil and democratic society is created...what makes community building so complex is that it occurs in an infinite number of small steps, sometimes in quiet moments that we notice out of the corner of our eye. It calls for us to treat as important many things that we thought were incidental...If the artist is one who captures the nuance of experience, then this is whom each of must become. The need to see through the eyes of the artist reflects the intimate nature of community, even if it is occurring among large groups of people.
     The key to creating or transforming community, then, is to see the power in the small but important elements of being with others. The shift we seek needs to be embodied in each invitation we make, each relationship we encounter, and each meeting we attend.  For at the most operational and practical level, after all the thinking about policy, strategy mission, and milestones, it gets down to this: How are we going to be when we gather together?
     What this means is that theory devolves down to these everyday questions out of which community is actually lived: Whom do I chose to invite into the room? What is the conversations that I both become and engage in with those people? And when there are more than two of us together at the same time, how do we create a communal structure that moves the action forward?
     It is in these kinds of questions that accountability is chosen and care for the well-being of the whole is embodied.  Individual transformation is not the point; weaving and strengthening the fabric of community is a collective effort and starts from a shift in our mindset about our connectedness."

1 comment:

  1. That is a really great quote. I feel a gigantic sense of gratitude to be here, now working this all out together. Thanks!!!!