I wanted to write a little something about my observations from the The Breakthrough Visioning party where a eclectic group of inspiring people convened at the Akwaaba Mansion to open their minds & envision their dream future. We were loving the Haute Spice specialty drinks from Manjoor Estate, delicious hors d'oeuvres, and the chill vibe of the party. With guided meditations and visualizations everyone was able to get centered and in-tune on a deeper level with who they are and what they see for themselves. Then the fun began, with music and magazines galore, everyone dove in to creating their vision boards, envisioning their lives through imagery and text. We all had a chance to share our visions and find inspiration to take actionable steps towards our dreams. I left feeling blessed and honored that friends would come to share in this experience with me and my dynamic colleague Eric Fleming who was a fantastic co-facilitator. While I was grateful that the event went well and everyone left with a new outlook on the coming year, the biggest take-away for me was rather unexpected. I was most struck by the impact of doing this visioning work in a group. I started reflecting on the importance of community in my own life.
Community is vital for my happiness quotient. I realized this more than ever when I moved to Bedford Stuyvesant, didn't know anyone in the neighborhood and became a stay-at-home Mom with a newborn baby. There were many lonely days at home with my baby daughter and no friends close by. I had to do something. I just starting getting out there meeting other moms like me in the area and little by little, it's been 7 years now and I have developed a rich, loving community of friends that I completely cherish. All we have to do is walk around our blocks and my daughter, husband & I find ourselves saying hi to this neighbor and that...it's actually a running joke that it takes us much longer than normal to do errands around here. Living within this amazing sense of community brings immeasurable joy to my family's life. I was inspired. Check this out...
THE BEAUTY OF COMMUNITY….3 REASONS WHY...
1. WE THRIVE ON POSITIVE ENERGY
Since the beginning of time and humanity, it takes connection, collaboration and camaraderie to live in this world. From tribal villages, to government, to the intricacies of family life, humans need connection and love to survive. We can't exist without it. I find beauty in connection. I know not everyone is a social butterfly like myself and creating community can be challenging for some, but what a benefit to our lives when like-minded connections blossom. At the Breakthrough Visioning Party, I was reminded that we all just crave and need a little time out to cultivate peace, joy, clarity & support. With all that positive energy flowing around, there were smiles abound.
2. WE ARE AS ONE:
I am someone who has befriended people from all walks of life throughout my entire life. You name the stereotype and I probably had a friend who could fit the criteria. Here is the issue, throughout my life I always seemed to keep my friends separate. Assuming one person may not connect with the next. This left me feeling uncomfortable. It's possible my assumptions were false and if I were to just relax everyone would just get along, but for some reason I always felt uncomfortable forcing the hippy chick to hang with the uber fashionista etc. Then you bring in race and culture. I know many a friend who would be scared to ever step foot in the reggae spot at midnight. But what a refreshing vibe to see people of all races and cultures come together at the Breakthrough Visioning Party. I came out of my comfort zone and just set the intention to let go and invite everyone. I was told by a friend that she rarely gets a chance to have a multicultural experience where everyone is coming together to just be open. I was really touched to hear that she enjoyed her day of multicultural living and it opened her up to something that was missing in her life. I feel so blessed that I can bring this connection to others. The realization that we really are one. I love being a catalyst.
3. WE NEED IT
If you don't have a thriving community in your life. It's time to take one small step towards building community. Your happiness quotient in life will greatly improve, even if you are an introvert. Here’s how to cultivate community in your own life: You must know someone who intrigues you and whom you would like to know better. It's time to step out of your norm. If chit chatting is uncomfortable for you...try embodying fearlessness and reach out to those that interest you in a small way to connect. Remember, the same ol' can be so boring! If I can conquer my fear of public speaking and host a three-hour Visioning Party, you can step up and out, too.
What is one thing you can do to deepen your connection to those in your community? Reach out that much more. I know there is something. There are a thousand excuses we can give ourselves to do nothing. Even if you just smile a bit more often....just do it!
My wish for you is that you experience the overwhelming love and appreciation I have for community and for the life you get to create for yourself when you invite people in.