Mark McCaw writes…As you think about the New Year and pursuing whole-person care as a practice mindset, take into consideration the need to engage whole
Thanks to Sara at walkslowlylivewildly.com for allowing us to abbreviate her blog – listing a few ways to engage your community.
1. Go out your front door.
This is as simple as it gets. Walk out your front door and look around. Pull up a chair and sit there for awhile. Read a book and drink an iced tea. Take it all in. When someone walks by, say hello. Know what happens around your neighborhood…who comes and goes, etc. See it all with fresh eyes and BE SEEN. If your neighbors see you out there regularly, they will be more likely to come out of hiding as well. I’m challenging myself (and you too!) to spend 1/2 hour a day “out on the block”.
2. Talk to people.
Do you know your neighbors names? What about that couple with the Chihuahua across the street? Or that elderly man at the end of the block? It always amazes me how few people actually know their neighbors. There is something magical that happens within a community when neighbors are no longer strangers, but friends.
3. Do Nice Stuff.
Do nice stuff for your community and for others. Look outside of yourself and see where there is a need that you can meet. Bella and I declared a trash pick-up day at our local park…it only took us 15 minutes to gather it all up…and it made such a difference! Set the example in your community. You might be surprised at who you will impact!
When we moved to Longmont, we hadn’t been inside the house more than 5 minutes when our sweet neighbors next door brought over a loaf of warm banana bread. That one little gesture made us feel so welcome and happy…and it was a great way to meet them and have a conversation. Neighborly hospitality is a lost art that needs to be revived!
4. Attend Events
Go to that concert in the park. Make time for the mom’s night out that you’ve been meaning to get to. Check out the farmer’s market. But when you go, don’t just walk around…look people in the eye and start a conversation! Get their number. Make friends! If this is completely out of your comfort zone, just start by talking to ONE person. You can do it!
5. Plan a Community-Building Event
If you’ve done numbers 1-4 and need an “extra credit” boost…
Host a monthly potluck or BBQ! Invite 4-5 neighbors over and talk about stuff and have fun!
Or…go all out and throw a block party: It will revolutionize your neighborhood. Start a tea party: This is something they have done in our neighborhood in the past. All the ladies of the neighborhood gather for tea and pastries on a Saturday afternoon.