I completed a five-day Restorative yoga teacher training in San Francisco on Friday (more about that next time, when I will have access to photos to share). It was a wonderful experience, and, being on my own all week, away from my husband and dogs, it got me thinking about the importance of community.
For the week, my yoga group was my community, and it was really fun and rewarding to meet so many wonderful new, like-minded people. I like the way Thich Nhat Hanh defines the Sanskrit word sangha here. I also thought about how fortunate I am to live in my own community on Vashon Island, where I’ve lived for the past five years and where I’ve always felt welcomed.
This weekend marked this largest festival of the year on the island, The Vashon Strawberry Festival, and this year’s was the 110th annual. Vashon is home to many creative people, and festival showcases musicians, artists, food makers of all kinds – and much more. It’s a wonderful representation of what this community is all about. I’ve participated in the Grand Parade several times, and this year my husband and I had a great time volunteering with Backbone Campaign to bring greater awareness to the importance of preserving the environment. I was one of the butterflies! We also had a giant inflatable Orca, salmon and Earth.
Creating community can happen anywhere, with anyone. It starts with connecting with others and kindness. The next time you’re buying coffee or groceries, or any number of interactions where these days we’re so quick to scroll through our phones, try looking the person in front of you in the eyes and asking them how their day is going. That’s a level of community right there. Notice how you feel when you do, and let’s all do more of that. It’s a starting point to a complex topic.