We have all been there, at those meetings where the chair/president of a committee asks for volunteers and the room falls completely silent. Eventually the usual people begrudgingly raise their hands to volunteer for tasks, the rest always seem to sit there looking around as if there are gremlins hiding behind the furniture waiting to jump out and volunteer! One of those moments when ‘those’ people usually make the decision that they aren’t coming to anymore meetings, hence they be made to feel guilty for not stepping up. [Dare I admit that I have been one of those people???]
Over the past few weeks I have been experiencing as many yoga classes with as many different yoga instructors as I possibly can. Each one has had a unique gift and have brought out different qualities in my yoga practice. There was one class in particular that struck me as interesting and encouraging.
“Take a breath of community” the instructor said between poses. What was that? Breath of Community. Each time he said it the room [it was a full house] took a deep inhalation and exhalation together, in perfect unison. In fact, it felt like the[my] breath became larger and broader with every breath.
Breath = breathing = living. Breath of Community. Living in tandem with others who share your interests.
How often do we make an effort to breathe with our communities outside of the yoga studio and the yoga practice? [I wonder aloud.]
How often do we make an effort to lend support [live in tandem] to those within our communities? [ Again, I wonder aloud…] How often have we lent our negativity to those in our communities?
How many of us make an effort to work with our communities and develop relationships within our communities? That sounds like an awful lot of work! That is what I thought, and I looked around me and realized that I am a part of several communities… as a student, a [ballet] teacher, a yoga student. Do I breathe with my communities? [I hesitantly wonder to myself.] This summer has actually been more of a community summer for me – taking part in the yoga challenge and the events that go along with it, planning a seminar, volunteering at a conference, writing letters, and even my blogging is a community action. I feel that I have breathed with my community and it feels great! Now the question becomes, can I keep it up?
Unfortunately the air these days is very ‘me’ oriented, we live our lives singly, communicate via ‘social networking’, and breathe simply for our own survival. It’s survival of the fittest [good old Darwin]! Our communities have become online communities rather than face to face interactions. Our communities have suffered. Economically it is not much of a leap to say that community minded activities are generally voluntary (hence, no paycheque in return), and as such we tend to our fiscal responsibilities first (put food on the table, pay bills, etc.). On the other side, we are so busy in our lives that we forget the importance of our participation, interaction with living, breathing people. We have become so ‘me’ oriented, so competitive with each other, so afraid to admit that we sometimes need support, that we forget to support each other.
To quote MC Yogi “what you give is what you get”. When you give of yourself and your time, you receive much in return that has no cash value, no ‘Bling factor’, just the simple the satisfaction of helping your community (someone in your community) to achieve a goal.
- Community – How do we build it? By getting involved. Offer your skills to your community, whether it is letter writing, making phone calls, organizing, canvasing, etc. We forget that it doesn’t need to be a grand gesture, every little bit is appreciated.
- Community – Why should I? Because no one can be truly successful in this life functioning solely on their own. We all need help sometimes. The help you give your community today will be returned to you ten fold in the future. And honestly, doing what you can for your community feels really good. The key is doing ‘what you can’.
- Community = Karma. What goes around comes around – when you feel good, in turn you are good to others, they are then good to others, and so on (the pay it forward concept, you know?). We need to move away from the attitude of “if I do this for you, what will you do for me?”. I have been there, in that attitude, and it is not a good place to live.
- Community has been built – now how do we keep it? Be aware of your communities and take the time to reach out and offer a helping hand. And when people do step up and help you out, be sure to say thank you.
This week, take a moment to consider your communities. How do you participate in your communities? What can you do to participate in your community? Do you support others within your community in a positive manner?
All together now ‘take a breath of community’. I N H A L E aaaannnnnnd E X H A L E.
Have a beautiful day.