52 Weeks of Neighboring - Week 35

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Neighboring Tip of the Week - Acknowledge an issue your community struggles with, and then ask, “What gifts do I have that could address this?”.

Let’s face it: It’s easy to complain about the issues our community struggles with. It’s easy to complain and complain and complain...and then complain again when nothing changes. But when all we do is complain, it’s no wonder that nothing changes! How easy it is to forget that the best place to start is, well...ourselves! At the Neighboring Movement, we think it’s easy to forget that we have power. We. We as humans. We as citizens. We as neighbors. How often we look outside of our communities to institutions and governing bodies for our resources and even our actions! Everyone at our nonprofit wants to start both thinking and living a different way, and we want to encourage others to do the same, hence this week’s neighboring tip.

We think there are four simple steps for experimenting with this tip:

1. Acknowledge that your community does not “have issues” but instead “struggles with issues”.

This step may seem like semantics, but we think that our language has a profound impact upon who we are as people and communities. Saying our community “has issues” seems to imply that there is something inherently wrong with our community, and we don’t believe that to be true at all. We believe ALL communities to be both inherently good and inherently gifted. Even further, we believe that these communities are filled with people who are ALL both inherently good and inherently gifted, as well. If we are going to start seeing the world through a lens of abundance, we believe that this is where we have to start. 

2. Acknowledge that your community does indeed struggle with various issues. 

While we do live in communities that are truly good, we must also acknowledge that our communities struggle with various issues, whatever they may be. 

3. Brainstorm one issue that you and/or others see your community struggling with.

This issue may seem more “small scale” like the consistent presence of trash in a few areas, the continued existence of a couple empty lots, or the fact that there’s always that one yard that doesn’t get mowed. Or, this issue may seem a bit more “large scale” like the consistent presence of crime, the continued existence of discrimination, or the fact that your neighborhood is becoming more and more gentrified. Whatever this issue may be, write it down, and do your best to name it honestly. 

4. Ask yourself, “What gifts do I have that could address this?”.

You have so many gifts. Reflect upon them, and write down any that come to mind. Do your best to name your gifts honestly, as well. Now, as you look at both the issue you named and the gifts you named, are there any that seem naturally related? Do any of your gifts seem to directly address the issue? If so, how might that look? How might you do so?

We hope this tip is an empowering practice for you. It brings to mind one of the most famous quotes from Mahatma Gandhi, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”

Let’s own our power. Let’s be the change. Let’s be the Movement.

Happy neighboring!