How to...

What is Community? Where does it come from and how is it cultivated?

Community starts with a conversation. A conversation that overtime can build into a narrative. What conversations would you like to have? Chances are, there are a million others out there seeking to engage in the same conversation.

Fortunately, communities no longer have to be limited by locality. With the wonders of the internet we have the opportunity to cultivate conversations with people on the opposite side of the world. This opens wide the possibilities to find and connect with communities you identify with.

That being said, my recommendation would not be to look to the ends of the earth for community. Start by looking to the ends of the street you live on. It may surprise you to find there are people right in your very own neighborhood that are seeking the same conversation.

I’d speculate that there are probably several people in your neighborhood that share many of the same perspectives, the same ideas and visions even. Regardless of how disjointed our communities have become, many of us still float on the same wavelengths insofar as we are exposed to many of the same daily sites and sounds. We might shop at the same grocery store, share the same favorite restaurant, visit the same gym or church. It may not be immediately obvious, but many of the people you cross paths with are chewing on the same thoughts and are just waiting for someone to engage them in conversation.

Start close to home. Find individuals of like mind and start a dialog. Then grow that dialog into a conversation by inviting in more points of view. As the conversation grows and evolves lines of narrative begin to develop. Often times, these start as small threads of agreement that over time can be weaved together into a solid fabric of trust.

Trust is the foundation of community. The narrative is what cultivates that trust and weaves resilience into its fabric.

As the narrative grows, this fabric will inevitably be tested. This is not a moment to pack up and run. On the contrary, these are the moments when we truly begin to strengthen and find depth in our community.

Cultivation is not a passive activity. It takes great patients and perseverance. It takes love and compassion, open and honest communication, understanding and appreciation. And it all starts with a conversation.

What kind of conversations are you having?