by, 08-11-2009 at 11:36 AM (1455 Views)
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Since the modern Western lifestyle can isolate us from one another, it is often difficult to forge meaningful connections. Self-protection and mistrust prevent us from reaching out to neighbors and peers, and we consequently feel like we donít truly belong anywhere. Yet creating community can be as simple as reaching out within our own neighborhoods. To form the bonds that eventually solidify into long-lasting friendships, we must first be willing to rise above the walls of suspicion and doubt dividing us from the individuals who inhabit our neighborhood, block, or our building. We are taught from childhood to fear those we do not know, but community is as much a part of survival as safety. When we take a proactive approach, we can harmoniously unite our neighbors and build a network of support that contributes to the well-being of all involved.
Your overtures of community neednít be complicated. If you are new to your neighborhood, sending letters of introduction to your closest neighbors can ensure that their curiosity about you is partly satisfied. Consider telling them a bit about yourself and how you plan to positively contribute to your locale, even if it is something as straightforward as planting attractive flowers in your window boxes. Or if others have recently moved in nearby, schedule some time to welcome them to the area. By doing so, you can calm any misgivings they have while demonstrating that your neighborhood is a nice place to live. It is much easier to meet people while outdoors, so try to take frequent strolls or sit on your stoop or porch if you have one. Say hello to people who pass by, and you will likely get to know your neighbors speedily. And one of the easiest ways to build a sense of community is to organize neighborhood projects and events that bring people together in service or in fun!
Even if you have little in common with your neighbors, your proximity to one another can offer a wonderful opportunity to pursue new friendships and working relationships. You may not see eye to eye on matters of spirituality, politics, or lifestyle issues, but each of you understands that community helps people feel connected. As you grow to know and then to like one another, the city or town where you reside will truly become your home.