A few days ago I was on my morning run, pushing my son, Connor, in the stroller. We were climbing one of the steepest hills on the run (a part that I usually slow to a walk) when a woman on a bicycle passed us and cheered me on ‘You get it, girl!’  I felt a rush of energy and excitement and pushed through to the top of the hill without walking!  I probably wouldn’t have attempted without this passer-by’s support and certainly wouldn’t have felt as energized and powerful.  This was a great reminder for me of the power, strength, and energy that feeling connected to and supported by community creates.

Here are a few ideas for harnessing the power of community to energize and inspire you!

1. Get connected virtually.  Social media has created such an amazing opportunity to feel support and connection.  If you are Facebook fan, which I am, search for groups re: an area of interest or something you identify with.  For example, for counselors, there are local groups, private practice groups, and other groups that link therapists across the world with one another.  There are also groups for mothers, groups for parenting, groups for empowering women, for herbal healing, you name it, there’s probably a FB group for it.  Once you join, actually show up and participate!  Introduce yourself ‘I’m new to this group. Thanks for including me.  I’m really looking forward to connecting!’  Stay tuned for a virtual community I’ll be creating to bring women together who are stepping into their power!

2. Nurture the communities that you are already part of.  Take a moment to consider friends, family, acquaintances.  See who you have the impulse to reach out to, just to acknowledge and remind both of you that you are connected.  You are not alone.  Could be a quick text ‘Hi! Wanted to let you know I’m thinking about you!’ or set up a coffee date with a friend.  There are other ways to nurture community, e.g., pick up trash when you see it, say hi to your neighbors, tip your barista and let them know you appreciate them.

3. Notice in which areas of your life you’re longing for community.  Then seek out that community.  For example, recently I’ve noticed a calling to reconnect to dance so I’ve been seeking out dance where-ever I can–Zumba at the YMCA, morning hip hop class at a local studio, going out dancing with my sister.  What communities are missing for you?  If you can’t find it, there’s probably a need, so create it!  Try www.meetup.com for in person or try creating a virtual community page.

4. Create community everywhere you go.  We are all connected.  We are all mirrors for one another.  Treat strangers with the same compassion and presence as you do your dearest friends.  Get curious and interested in people.  So often I notice that I go through my day with blinders on because I’m busy or overwhelmed but when I actually take the time to slow down and connect, the stress becomes secondary.  Community is such a great reminder of the bigger picture.  It helps us get out of our contracted ego-state.  Reminds us what it’s all about!

Lastly, know that being part of community also tends to bring up our ‘stuff’.  Community is amazing and wonderful and can reflect those parts of ourselves that we don’t feel comfortable with, e.g., we can compare ourselves, feel left out, not good enough, etc.  More on that later.  But just a reminder to be gentle with yourself as you build community and step in more fully.

Here’s my challenge to you: Do something that gives you a sense of community today.  I’d love to hear about it!

Affirmation: May you feel connected to something bigger.