We work with people who want to affect social change micro-locally.
That could mean
- people safeguarding their wellbeing by weaving neighbors into their social safety net,
- environmentalists, thrifts, mentors, helpful people,
- synchronicity assistants needing higher empathy density,
- proponents of social justice, equity, inclusion, and diversity,
- people serious about neighbors becoming ‘like family’,
- those actively curbing the isolating & overwhelming culture of ‘never enough’.
In general, I find that they’ve come as far as they can in their not-neighborhood realms (often very far and with huge success) before being confronted with the fact that “more people” aren’t paying enough attention, aren’t at their meetings, aren’t being reached or impressed or affected …enough. Whether it’s “people” responding slowly or incoherently to climate chaos, failing to participate in #BlackLivesMatter, or just seeming too busy & ‘consumed’ to even get acquainted, my clients have reached the point where they see local = global even more literally than ever… but their impassioned skill set seems to be detrimental to attracting/really liking neighbors.
Blinded by their mission, they forget that neighbors don’t want to be convinced or reasoned with or rallied before the one who’s rallying has won her neighbor’s trust. If they were able to go quite deep quite quickly before, they have to learn to pace themselves with neighbors. If they were good at politics before, they have to begin to embody the kind of equity & inclusion they used to advocate for with words. If they were a resource for facts, tips, and tricks before, they might have to –in order to generate authentic curiosity– first tolerate some circular reasoning and learn the dreaded skill of small talk.
It’s generally upsetting to feel like a beginner at neighboring. Neighboring is something they assumed they were good at –or would be instantly good at, once they prioritized it.
So a lot of them hide behind projects. They organize a block party and –year after year– can’t seem to get others to take the responsibility. They start a thing they become known for far and wide, that doesn’t necessarily get them the depth of connection with the small number of neighbors their hearts need so much more than the activism or fame. Some lose touch with the simplicity of their intention to connect one-on-one… Others connect directly, but become numbed by the mundane momentum-less-ness, or let life hijack their attention. Many secretly despair they will not generate many high-quality relationships –relationships of substance– near home .
With rugged individualism and disempowering dynamics so rampant today, we need purposeful neighbors like never before. More and more people want to live and love life locally — they need you!
But this means not only taking time for neighbors, but taking time for you — for encouragement, acknowledgement, solidarity, and recognition. It means being celebrated & valued for living your values before any of your neighbors learn what they are. It means improvising AND being held accountable to intentions you set. It means learning from your own occasional embarrassments, and (preferably more from!) those of others.
In other words — a community of practice.
You are driven to develop a personal village because it will elevate everyone affected.
It’s not there yet, or not robust yet, so you’re meeting your social needs in somewhat counter-productive ways. It’s not guaranteed to work out, so you hesitate or lose your patience some days (or months). It’s not strong enough that you can talk to a neighbor about your struggles with neighborliness as a project or a spiritual practice — that’d be awkward, and just… too ‘meta’.
You’ve put thought into living your values–and your great passion has gotten you far in the realms that you care about, but at neighborliness in this place, in this day and age, you feel new.
You know in your heart, your mind, your gut that you need some support — but it’s the exact same support you’d be great at offering others! But who else is dreaming such a dream?
How to lead a movement for leadership-from-within, leadership-by-all
— one of shared meaning-making?
How to practice leadership that makes your community conscious of itself
as an intelligent, responsive whole?
My mission is to support you in your neighborly relations with ideas, tips, and resources. Please consider your Welcome Package your digital entry into a real-world relationship with me and your peers. I’m all about finding you buddies and calling a community of practice gathering in a time and space that works for you! Fill in your name at the top right to join us.