Category Archives: Community

Building a Healthier Democracy

I’m going to share a few links here that give me hope.  With the Federal Government of the United States in a shutdown state, many people are feeling tension and the blame and name calling is at an all time high.  I have yet to come across a situation where name calling led to anything good.  So here, I offer some words by some very conscious people.

I came across most of this on facebook.  A place that has allowed me to practice tolerance for differing views.

A question was put forth to Parker Palmer – founder and senior partner at The Center for Courage and Renewal and author of  Healing The Heart of Democracy.  The question was this:  “Please let us know when you figure out how to talk to the teaparty.”

He welcomed the query and offered this: “Here’s a site where you can watch my friend Joan Blades, co-founder of MoveOn.org, in dialogue with Mark Meckler, co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots http://tinyurl.com/b527zbt. I’m involved in Joan’s “Living Room Conversations” project (click on the “People” tab on their home page to see my statement about it), and I highly recommend it as one way of responding to your implied question. Thanks again. But please, don’t wait for me to figure it out! We’re all in this together, and all of us working together are smarter than any one of us working alone—certainly smarter than I am!”

Although I only just came across the Living Room Conversations project, and I’m not in any way involved in it, and don’t yet know the participants, I wanted to write about it here to raise awareness.  I personally believe in this process and I have seen how deep conversations can bring about peace, healing, and a connectedness beyond what any of us dreamed possible before sitting down in that field that is beyond right doing and wrong doing.  I practice this with my neighbors, with my husband, with my children and with my co-workers.  I know it works.  It gives me hope.

I follow Parker Palmer on Facebook.  You can check out his page here.

Parenting in a broader sense

Parenting is a word that we understand to mean that we are dealing with offspring…but I invite you to broaden the definition of ‘parenting’ a bit and think of parenting as a quality of relationship such as nurturing. Nurturing can be done to plants

in a garden, to a sick animal, and of course to our own children. So then with the broader sense, the word ‘parenting’ can be applied to anyone you have a relationship with where you are in a position of ‘parent’, ‘mentor’, ‘boss’, ‘teacher’, ‘vendor’, ‘caretaker’… It deals with the relationship… Especially if growth is something to be a byproduct of the interaction.

I think the lesson that Dr. Wayne Dyer offers from the Tao is timely… And, when you are done reading, I invite you to have a conversation here, or email me privately if you know me. I would love to hear what your soul says to you (if anything) while reading the his blog entry: http://www.drwaynedyer.com/blog/the-simple-path-to-parenting

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Being The Change You Seek

YoMama and I had an interesting conversation over lunch yesterday. Topics ranged from the impact of texting on the social skills of today’s youth to Cave Creek zoning codes. The subject that stuck in my mind is this idea of being the change you seek.

I grew up and went to college in California towns that had a strong sense of community. As a child in Merced I remember neighbors gathering on their porches each evening. The parents would socialize and drink wine while the kids played in the street. As I student in Chico I recall how dedicated the community was to gathering in the town square every weekend (if not more often). The gatherings ranged from farmers’ markets to pet parades to poetry readings and concerts.

Ten years ago I moved to the Phoenix area. I immediately noticed an absence of this sense of community. Families didn’t socialize in their neighborhood after dinner. Kids weren’t playing in the street. There was no town square bustling with activity.

I attribute this absence to a variety of factors. Many Phoenicians are transplants. Entire subdivisions of these transplants have sprung up so quickly they’ve yet to form their own communities. Parents are working longer hours either by necessity or to pay for all the things used to fill some hole in their lives. Perhaps the hole is the lack of community. TV and video games have replaced the desire or necessity for kids to go outside to explore and imagine.

I’ve always lamented this lack of community here in our part of the Valley and assumed I would eventually move back to CA or someplace else that fit my ideals. Then I met my wife Debra. She is a grounded and practical person. She also happens to be one of the few AZ natives I’ve met (third generation). So she has a unique perspective on live in AZ. She remembers a time here when her sense of community mirrored my own. It did exist her once. She reminds me often that we should embody the community we desire. “Be the change you seek” she says. Maybe it’s time to go knocking on a few neighbors’ doors.