I invite you to join me on the journey to living a more connected life.
Welcome to The 3 Cs of Belonging, a weekly newsletter for people learning how to live a more connected life and looking to join others who are doing the same.
Several months ago, I finished writing a book on vibrant community called “The Practice of Belonging” which will be published in April of 2023. Researching the book and traveling across the country to meet inspiring people building creative communities of care made a powerful impact on me. Three years of research and writing convinced me that the best way to solve the crisis of belonging we find ourselves in is by building vibrant communities. It is in vibrant communities that we learn to relate to each other in transformative ways.
The newsletter, birthed out of writing the book, will discuss community's meaning and introduce you to places where vibrant community practice is happening right now. It aspires to support your participation in building your own cultures of belonging and care so that we can all thrive.
Meaningful change takes place when it is grounded in relationship, and this takes time. There is no way around it. This is community’s superpower, because whatever the mission and goals of the group, nothing supersedes the centrality of building relationship. And vibrant communities require that we cultivate the most authentic version of ourselves so that we can offer our gifts in the service of others.
Vibrant communities need us to bring all aspects of ourselves to them, needing nothing to be hidden or left at the door in order to participate. As most of us know, this has not been the case in all communities where authentic voices have been muted in the name of group cohesion. Vibrant communities invite us to maintain our individuality, while also cultivating a perspective that focuses on the “we” over and above the “I.”.
We change course by first changing our priorities. True belonging is possible when we gather in ways that place relationship at the forefront, and we practice skilled, compassionate communication with each other.
A sense of belonging is an internal state that we can tap into, a sense of home not tied to physical place, though we experience it by showing up in real time and space. In vibrant communities, we linger, labor, and listen; we grieve, find joy, and heal; and we practice connection in ways that radiate out beyond our personal boundaries. We build these places over time, and as we do, we get a glimpse of an emerging collective mindset that fundamentally challenges current versions of social reality that are painfully limited in their notions of relationship and worth.
In this forum, your thoughts on cultivating connection and deepening and expanding your own personal communities will enrich us all. The very act of asking questions like “what is community?” and “how do we better build environments of care?” is an important part of the process of building a healthy, more connected world.
Stay tuned next month when I will share some of the traits I discovered that vibrant communities have in common!
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