You may have seen these posters in gift shops like 10,000 Villages, or in a church basement, or in a resource centre - they've been around for years. "How to Build Community" and "How to Build Local Community". We have them in The Witchery - Winnipeg's Pagan Temple & Teaching space. I see them a couple times a week. Every time I read them - or glance at them in passing - something different strikes me and makes me go "hmmmmm".....
I think about these helpful hints and tips for community building from what I hope is a distinctly Pagan viewpoint. I think about how I can apply them to my life - in ways that make sense and are sustainable. I've been turning them over and over in my mind now for awhile - and thought that, in 2010 - I might share some of my thoughts. These opinions will be based on the theme of "let me share with you what I am learning" - which is all I ever really do anyway, I guess.
How To Build Community:
Turn off your TV - Leave your house - Know your neighbors - Look up when you are walking - Greet people - Sit on your stoop - Plant flowers - Use your library - Play together - Buy from local merchants - Share what you have - Help a lost dog - Take children to the park - Garden together - Support neighborhood schools - Fix it even if you didn't break it - Have pot lucks - Honor elders - Pick up litter - Read stories aloud - Dance in the street - Talk to the mail carrier - Listen to the birds - Put up a swing - Help carry something heavy - Barter for your goods - Start a tradition - Ask a question - Hire young people for odd jobs - Organize a block party - Bake extra and share - Ask for help when you need it - Open your shades - Sing together - Share your skills - Take back the night - Turn up the music - Turn down the music - Listen before you react to anger - Mediate a conflict - Seek to understand - Learn from new and uncomfortable angles - Know that no one is silent though many are not heard. Work to change this.
How To Build Global Community:
Think of no one as "them" - Don't confuse your comfort with your safety - Talk to strangers - Imagine other cultures through their poetry and novels - Listen to music you don't understand & Dance to it - Act locally - Notice the workings of power and privilege in your culture - Question consumption - Know how your lettuce and coffee are grown: wake up and smell the exploitation - Look for fair trade and union labels - help build economies from the bottom up - Acquire few needs - Learn a second (or third) language - Visit people, places and cultures -- not tourist attractions - Learn people's history - Re-define progress - Know physical and political geography - Play games from other cultures - Watch films with subtitles - Know your heritage - Honor everyone's holidays - Look at the moon and imagine someone else, somewhere else, looking at it too - Read the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights - Understand the global economy in terms of people, land and water - Know where your bank banks - Never believe you have a right to anyone else's resources - Refuse to wear corporate logos: defy corporate domination - Question military/corporate connections - Don't confuse money with wealth, or time with money - Have a pen/email pal - Honor indigenous cultures - Judge governance by how well it meets all people's needs - Be sceptical about what you read - Eat adventurously - Enjoy vegetables, beans and grains in your diet - Choose curiosity over certainty - know where your water comes from and where your wastes go - Pledge allegiance to the earth: question nationalism - Think South, Central and North -- there are many Americans - Assume that many others share your dreams - Know that no one is silent though many are not heard. Work to change this.