I was looking at some notes I had written down when contemplating this project. One thing that is very important to me is to empower people to live their best lives. That really is the crux of the project. But the truth is, that even in being empowered, it doesn't mean I have to do it alone. I live my best life when I find the common purpose and share vision and my gifts in collaboration with others.
This project is attracting people who have good hearts, and want to give. Recently we had someone donate some food items that we couldn't immediately see us using in our after school programming. There was an initial thought that perhaps we could serve a role as a food dispensary. I was pretty tired at the moment, but it didn't feel right. It didn't feel as if it fit with our mission. I realized that we do not want to become simply a place to give things away. If we are not teaching someone something with our gifts, if we are not empowering them, we are creating dependence.
Once that part of the vision was clarified again, we came up with half a dozen things we could do with the food. All of these things inspired creativity, would bring the community together and also would feed our neighborhood while lifting people up. The point is that the vision is beginning to live not just within me, but within our team of amazing leaders.
Of course we don't want to create dependence. We want to empower people to be less dependent. But it is not about being completely independent either. We want loving community. We want connection with others. We want to share our gifts and realize our interdependence.
I have consistently struggled with how do I loosen the reigns. I don't want to be a dictator. I want to support the growth of others, and make it less about me and more about what the community members can bring to the table.
I can see that it is working. I am able to step back, and people can step in and shine their light. This was ever so apparent when during my time visiting my mother in Chicago, the team held a successful community event that even received media coverage. Thank you team!
In a project like this, it is so important that we allow others to contribute their own personal vision and mission to the energy of the project. No one has been more influential to bringing clarity to our vision that Kelly Beal and her personal mission to bring more kindness to the world through Keegan's Krew Anti-Bullying Campaign. It is only through allowing her own passion to come through that a clear direction for our shared vision is being realized at the Community House. Loving kindness really is the cornerstone for us all.
You can check out the story here.
The Community House Network is built on a philosophical framework that believes that in order to bring positive change you must focus on the positive. It doesn't mean you have to ignore the negative, but we can know the negative is there simply as a contrast to the beauty of all of the positive things we each hold within us.
There is a great deal of research around this. In fact their is an entire field of study devoted to it, called Positive Psychology. The pioneers of this field investigated the best of humanity throughout the world. They discovered that humanity has a lot in common when it comes to goodness.
The research showed 6 core themes to our strengths and virtues. Each month we focus on one of these themes at the Community House. This month it is Courage.
However, it is also the month of Thanksgiving, and that is most often associated with gratitude. Gratitude is such a powerful virtue. Gratitude opens the heart to receive. No wonder gratitude is associated with the theme of Transcendence.
Today I have so much to be grateful for. I am thankful for my family, for all of those who have joined me on this journey. I am grateful for a second chance at life through this beautiful process of recovery. I am thankful for all of the opportunities and even responsibilities that have been presented to me. I am thankful for true friendship!
Join us on Saturday, November 27th at 1PM for a Friendsgiving. Have some delicious food to celebrate and give thanks to all we have been given.
I can hear the people in our community crying tonight. A young boy was shot over at Cooper's gas station. That is not the first time, and probably won't be the last.
"Why isn't anyone doing anything?" I can hear them cry.
"Where are the police?" "How can this violence continue?"
I myself ask those questions too. I am angry too.
Last summer, I stopped a fight in the middle of the road in front of the Community House. Two gangs of boys had started jumping each other. I called out for them to stop. I told one boy that I knew and his brother to go home. I finally called the police. The police arrived and said they were told not to do anything when there was this type of fighting.
What is going on?
There is open drug sales and drug use down in front of the gas station. Just yesterday when I went to get gas, there were two men standing in front of the store, simply waiting. Waiting, I presume, for customers.
I have even seen people injecting drugs out in the open, just sitting on the curb facing the street. This kind of emboldened behavior is a signal that there is absolutely no fear of police. My neighbor with a developmental delay, had drugs given to her in a box of chicken. She was so afraid the police were going to get her, she came to me. Another neighbor informed me of the use of one of the abandoned stores on Sheridan being used as an illegal night-club. He said he informed the police, but they are actively ignoring it.
What is going on?
And now this. A young boy gunned down. The kids from the Art Garage knew this boy, and they are afraid. They asked me to walk them home from the Community House. They are angry and shocked and confused. What kind of world are we living in?
Our goal at the Community House is to help them to become Ambassadors of Kindness. To make a decision to help make this world a better place. To do what they can to spread peace, and stop the violence.
I think we need to stand up for peace! What do you think?
Join us on November 11th
at the Community House
2223 N. Sheridan Rd.
During our open hours from 3 to 6PM
There is so much that we need to heal in our world.
We can start with ourselves, but how?
First, can we even identify those aspects of our lives that are sick?
Maybe it relates to our physical health. Maybe our emotions are unbalanced. Maybe our relationships are sick. Or perhaps we are spiritually sick, that is, I don't know who I truly am. I am sick in spirit.
This month we will begin hosting a healing circle at the Community House. It will be emergent, as is most of our programming, welcoming in what will serve our community and individual needs most. It will include some form of meditation and prayer, and some form of alternative healing (bioenergy, sound healing, etc).
Healing has been a critical part of my own journey. It has made it possible for me to be myself and to live an unconventional life filled with joy and spontaneity.
No matter what your issue, there is hope for a better life when we open ourselves to the possibility of healing.