From the desk of Teresa Jordan, Executive Director – My favourite part of fall is, quite literally, the falling. I love the way the wind takes the leaves all around – the cascading leaves and the bunches of leaves that swirl from the ground in the wind. This is a time of letting go. For me, it is mostly letting go of all of the garden projects that I meant to do.
I recently spent a bit of time with a community builder who had all kinds of words and phrases that are second nature to him, but require a little investigation for the rest of us. He often uses the phrase “showing up” and while it would appear at first glance that this is easy to translate – simply “arriving” – he means something a little different. He is talking about making a space, a group, a time and an alliance in a community where people feel safe enough to really bring their true selves, their talents, their vulnerabilities and their gifts.
To show up in this context means that well beyond the physical presence in the room, a person is present, participating and taking some risk in being his or her true self. This is no easy feat.
We spend a lot of time creating opportunities for presence – we make connections, build opportunities and access community in all of its forms. How do we take this to the next level? How do we create spaces in which we all feel able to “show up”? How do we arrange things where everyone in a place and time feels empowered to bring their ‘A game’?
Community is very near, very accessible and all around us. How we engage in community lies within and, when we all show up, the magic of inclusion and engagement starts to spark. The first step, I think, is just checking in – am I showing up? Am I really here? After all, community starts on the inside of all of us.