Paul Born is a man of many talents, all of which he puts at the service of strengthening the ties that bind us together in community. He is a master convener using those skills to create and sustain Vibrant Communities – a poverty reduction strategy in dozens of Canadian communities. Paul shares his expertise and experience through the Tamarack – Community Engagement website. More recently he has turned his attention to writing books including the popular Community Conversations . Here is Paul's response to: What would you like to become more visible in 2011? You can also Download Becoming Visible - the complete collection of 58 essays.
When I reach for my morning coffee, or stop to meditate on my yoga mat, or put on my shoes that will walk me where I need to go, when I prepare a meal for others and myself and when I try to do something for the betterment of our world, I want to feel like I belong. I want the same for everyone I touch (virtually or through a great bear hug) – to feel that they belong and to feel a sense of community.
I want more community in my life. I figure the only way I am going to get this is if my neighbours also want more community in their lives. The only way that that is going to happen (unless I escape to a cloistered place) is if community becomes much more important to everyone.
Three of the fastest growing movements in the world give me hope that I am not alone. The slow food movement (http://www.slowfood.com ) is driving a go slow- grow local agenda. Transition Towns (http://transitionnetwork.org) in response to peak oil concerns are asking people to get ready for a more sustainable future fossil fuel free. The simplicity movement ( http://www.simpleliving.net ) is causing more and more people to find each other or should I say "stop long enough to smell the roses together". All of this is causing us to rediscover community and even though our skills for community are rusty, people are relearning this very innate ability quickly.
Here is my very simple plan for getting to more. I want more people to join me on this journey. So in 2011 I am calling all seekers to sign up at http://www.seekingcommunity.ca to share their longings and ideas about community. I also plan to convene 50 seekers to join together for a three -day retreat to talk about community and in turn to commit to hosting the first 250 community conversations and to then blog about each conversation on the site. From here we will collectively develop the next stage of learning and create a strategy for more community in the world.
Please share and distribute to your friends and through your various networks, websites etc. I think you will agree – these are too good to keep to ourselves.