Living in community is my heartbeat. It's the why behind our family eating dinner around our kitchen table, the community dinners we host, the events we plan and most definitely why, about once a month, I carve out an entire day to go explore the PNW wilderness with two of my dear friends. When my youngest started full day kindergarten, my two girlfriends and I said 'Lets go adventure together!' So, once a month we pack a picnic lunch, pile into one of our cars and head outside to the best community center around - the wilderness.
There are two basic definitions for community. 1. A group of people who live in the same area, and 2. A feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests or goals.
This second definition is what we've found. It's the type of community where you can say what's on your mind and not feel afraid of being misunderstood, you can share what's weighing heavy on your heart and know you have support, it's the freedom to simply be you. I realize this type of community/fellowship/friendship is rare. I feel incredibly blessed to have deep, lasting, real friendships.
But here's the thing - if you're reading this thinking I WISH I had friends like that. I wish I had a hiking group, book group, running buddy, knitting friends, walking, kayaking, painting...group like that. I've got a secret for you - you can.
Friendship is surely not a mathematical, 4 step equation. But there are some basic things like packing a picnic that can get you a few steps closer to finding your people. To start, let's talk about being brave.
Living in community takes brave souls willing to be themselves. It takes you being brave to say 'I like to ____________.' Go ahead! Fill in that blank. What do you like to do. Anything that brings life to your soul is a possibility - do you have young kids? Maybe you like to bring them to the park. Do you love your job? Well, lucky for you, you've got people built into your days that are doing the same thing you are! Do you love to create art? Paint furniture, go to concerts, try out new restaurants, go thrift shopping, go to the mall...Go ahead, be Brave and claim those things that you'd fill your days with if you could. Start making a list, I'm sure you have more than 1 thing.
So how does you knowing what you like to do help you find your people? And what about that picnic? Don't worry we'll get to the picnic. Now that you've made a mental list of what you like to do, ask yourself who else is doing this? Not sure? Start looking around the park when you're there, or the art class you go to, the class at the Y you love to attend, or post a message on Facebook or Instagram and ask 'who likes to ____________.' Yep, you get to fill in that blank. I bet you'll be surprised how many other people in your definition #1 of community like the same things you do.
Now you have your list of things you like, you have a few people in mind who like that same thing, so here comes the next big brave step... start inviting people to join you. Yes, I realize you might think you are an introvert and you should just wait for someone else to initiate it. But let's be real - everyone is thinking 'I wish someone would invite me.' So be that someone! You'll look back on this invitation as a turning point, the first step to filling your life with the type of community that gives meaning and purpose.
And now comes the picnic - in my life, I have had some of the best conversations over meals. Pack a picnic to share with your new friends and enjoy a few minutes eating together. Whatever you might be doing, a picnic is always acceptable. Here's what we like to pack:
The Perfect Picnic
- Fruit (think non squishy fruit like apples and oranges)
- Hardboiled Eggs
- Cured Meat (salami, prosciutto...)
- Dried Fruit
- Chocolate Bars
- Beverages - we like finding new drinks to spike. Our latest find was Chai Tea with a little cream, sugar and Brown Sugar Bourbon
Don't forget to tag us in your adventures! We want to see what you're packing for your picnic, but more than that, we want to see where you're finding community.
Next Up in the True Community series : my calendar needs more spaces.
Cheers to living life together ~ Kelly