Learn: Understanding Community
Explore: Community Features & Flavors

Explore: A Picture of Community

Last week's post (Learn: Understand Community) focused on five sociological functions of community.

This week's post takes a participatory perspective on community. What do the functions look like from a community member's point of view?

Community looks like a potluck with a gift exchange. Each member brings something different to the community. Community involves sharing and offering, giving and receiving. The community's norms and values set a formal or informal structure for how the exchange happens: How often people are expected to give and receive and by what means; how much time and what level of personal disclosure is appropriate in an exchange; who hosts the event and where and how frequently the community gathers.

community looks like reflection :: www.LearnExploreShare.comCommunity looks like a reflection. A safe, authentic community affords us opportunities to share our heart's truth. At a recent Vision Mapping workshop, one of the participants prefaced what she was saying with, "This sounds silly, but ..." A heart's true community provides a safe place for us to share our so-called silly thoughts and ideas out loud. It's where we can open our inner hearts and see them (or hear them) being reflected back to us. It's where we can practice courage and begin to reveal our inner dreams and desires within an outer reality.

Community looks like inspiration and encouragement and constructive comments. Sometimes it's easier to get behind other peoples' dreams than it is to support and believe in the reality of our own desires. My authentic communities can serve me a generous helping of inspiration and motivation to encourage me to take the next small step on my heart's true path. When a community aims to honor the individual true paths of each member and holds each member's heart as sacred, then feedback can be honest, heart-centered and truly constructive.

Here's something to consider: What shifts when you share an idea—a private thought—out loud in community? Notice how your body reacts—Do you get butterflies? Do you feel a sense of heaviness? Our body gives us valuable clues to help steer us toward our heart's true path. (Learn: Two Strategies for Examining Obstacles like Fear offers a brief introduction to this physiological tune-in.)

What does community look like to you? Am I omitting something obvious or important in this post? Let me know what you think by commenting here on the blog or at our community Facebook page. You can also connect with me via twitter.


Registration closes soon for next Saturday's 
Heart’s Path Discovery Sessions

If you’re seeking your heart’s true path, join me for an intensive in-person Heart's Path Discovery Session Saturday, October 11 in Minnetonka, MN. Heart’s Path Discovery Sessions offer a set of guideposts for discovering and living your heart's true path, a strategy for finding what activities you love and then living with intention and with a greater sense of meaning.