The word community is a somewhat loaded, and important, word to me.
I started out my post-secondary education at a community college.
I met my husband because of our activism with our community college student senates.
As an elected official, I represent my community. Particularly the part of my community whose children are not in school yet.
One of my favorite television shows is Community (six seasons and a movie, baby!)
Recently I’ve been thinking about community a lot. What is a community? How do you get one?
To me, a community absolutely has to be a safe space. A space to celebrate our differences. To engage in constructive dialogue and to build up each other.
A community is only successful when each person builds on, and celebrates, the successes of other.
One of my favorite cassette tapes when I was growing up was a musical story called Distant Seranade by Michael McClean. It’s a musical adaptation of the Australian Aboriginal creation story, and it is hauntingly beautiful. The musical starts out with a lone voice crying out “Tell me where I belong. Surely you understand, I cannot be myself until I find out who I am.”
The creators don’t hear her, but the ancient ancestors do and sing to her “Harmony, harmony, it’s harmony my friend. Harmonize with earth and sky and everything therein. If you want to find yourself, you’ve got to harmonize with something else. The only way to reach your goal of finding your own song is to harmonize with earth. Sun and moon and stars. And when you find sweet harmony, you’re gonna find out who you are.”
Are we going to find harmony in every community? Probably not.
Harmonizing takes work, even among accomplished musicians. And there are times when, despite all your work, harmony does not happen.
But if you want to find yourself, just keep trying. You will find your harmony.
For more posts on community and safe spaces, here are some more fantastic ones.
Charli over at The Carrot Ranch urges us all to seek objective truth and be critical readers in Safe Space for Our Voices.
Stacia, who is Another Writing Mom, shares What an online safe space is and isn’t. A big takeaway for me is a safe space isn’t necessarily a place to avoid talking about the hard things. It is a place to talk about hard things in a compassionate way.
Charlotte, who does truly incredible work through her organization Art Saves Lives International, reminds us that “. . . the next time you hear the words “Safe Space”, be mindful of why this space exists and remember that the world is cruel and if we as individuals need to take a break, so that we can be heard or so that we can be seen – this does not stop you or anyone else doing the same.
Raymond reminds us of the power associated with the motto “trust, honesty, and safety,” in his post about living in a safe space every day.
Drew talks about the power of trying. If I may editorialize a little here (it’s my site, so I think I may), Drew’s comments remind me of the opening statement of the U.S. Constitution. The goal was to form “a more perfect Union.” Not the perfect union, not something infallible, but we keep trying anyway.
Shawna, whose quill is indeed honeyed, reminds us that safe spaces require (sometimes literal) Heavy Lifting.
Thomas reminds us to always #ShareInspireConquer by bringing others in.