STEPS, Thoughts

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Community

In biological terms, a community is a group of interacting organisms sharing a populated environment. In human intent, belief, resources, preferences, needs, risks, and a number of other conditions may be present and common, affecting the identity of the participants and their degree of cohesiveness.

In sociology, the concept of community has led to significant debate, and sociologists are yet to reach agreement on a definition of the term. There were ninety-four discrete definitions of the term by the mid-1950s.[1] Traditionally a “community” has been defined as a group of interacting people living in a common location. The word is often used to refer to a group that is organized around common values and is attributed with social cohesion within a shared geographical location, generally in social units larger than a household. The word can also refer to the national community or global community.

The word “community” is derived from the Old French communité which is derived from the Latin communitas (cum, “with/together” + munus, “gift”), a broad term for fellowship or organized society.[2]

Since the advent of the Internet, the concept of community no longer has geographical limitations, as people can now virtually gather in an online community and share common interests regardless of physical location.

Ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Community

Of late I’ve been thinking and actively participating far more in my local community. As is so often the case in my life these days, my sense of community has been deeply affected and influenced by my daughters Tienne and Saskia.

My business, Fishica has also provided good reasons for venturing within communities I may not have spent (and enjoyed) so much time within prior.

I like how the word community is derived from ‘with/together’ & ‘gift’…and I feel that some of the community groups I have had the good fortune to be involved in of late have indeed been gifts, in some instances providing much needed lifelines just at the right time.

My dealings with the Margaret River Organic Gardens and the recent ForeverGREEN Fair, Fremantle Markets and local Montessori & Steiner Schools have all provided sustenance for the soul… in all instances I have found like minded people and on occasion stumbled across people from my past, many who have provided cause for valuable reflection on times in my life I have not thought of for many years. It never ceases to amaze me how once you open up to both yourself and others so often people enter our lives, sometimes only fleetingly but so often for good reason.

I’ve had plenty of reasons to give thought to community spirit of late.

My parents regularly catch up with their old neighbours despite having lived some distance away for many years now. Recently a large proportion of their old street got together to help bid farewell and see a now elderly neighbour safely and happily to his new home in a retirement complex. My brother was at hand to take a photograph – a memory to add to the many this street full of neighbours and friends have created over the years.

I on the other hand have been intending to get the people on our street together for a Christmas drink or similar for years on end and while we know and like several of our neighbours, find that sometimes months will pass without us seeing, nevertheless speaking with each other…a little sad really…While this Christmas may not be the year I remedy this situation with parents in laws soon arriving and a new shop opening  I will revisit the idea, perhaps in the New Year…or am I just making excuses again in putting it off when it should be as easy as setting a date and extending invitations…to spend time with and get to know others in the beautiful street we have all chosen to live?

I’ve been on the periphery of another nearby community of recent months…Witchcliffe, 5 minutes south of Margaret River. A ‘blink and you’ll miss it, but please don’t blink as it’s worth it’ town where I will be opening my physical Fishica store in two weeks time. A town I have regularly visited over the past 4 years, largely due to my love of the collectible shop there, The Flying Wardrobe and the reasonably priced petrol station manned by friendly staff!

It may be small but it definitely has heart and I am already feeling welcome with local people happy to offer encouragement and enthusiasm for my new venture. I look forward to growing my business within this small but positive community and hope to be able to bring something of my own to contribute favourably to what is already a unique and somewhat quirky place.

In an age where increasingly our extended family do not always live nearby should it not be the perfect excuse to get more involved in our local community rather than less? A positive involvement in community activities and getting to know people within our immediate geographical location will surely in turn create a greater sense of well being and perhaps provide reciprocal support networks that we miss through the absence of nearby extended family.

Thinking about coming together with good intention and providing a ‘gift’ for others and in turn ourselves… can only benefit the community as a whole.

The following photographs were taken at an Art Bazaar set up at the Witchcliffe Hall recently by some local emerging artists. Friday night’s opening was a visual feast both of art and people coming together to enjoy the said art and each other’s company. A fantastic feeling of community spirit was definitely alive and well and continued over the weekend with friends playing music in the park area next door while local children drew pictures under a shady tree and blew bubbles into the clear blue sky…a small community but a perfect example of community at its best!! A community I am soon to be more a part of – a great place for Fishica!