5 Ways to Cultivate Community
If you’ve watched any of Parenthood or Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, The Secret Potato Peel Society or The Cranford Series I bet you were drawn in by the sense of community. I’m talking about the living life together, walking in the door without knocking, helping yourself to a drink in the fridge, knowing where the stuff goes in people’s kitchens kind of community. We’re all wired to desire it. So here are my top 5 ways to cultivate community in your life.
Create Space for It
Cultivating community is not an overnight thing. Sorry, maybe that shouldn’t be the first point. But it’s good to start here so that we can take all of the pressure off, but also so we can realize that we must make space for community to grow.
How do you make space?
Pull your calendar out, look at it. Is there time on there for you to connect with people? Where do you connect with them? At the Gym? At a class? In a book club, or Mom’s group? At a monthly dinner or at the sports field?
The bottom line is that in order for us to feel connected in community, we need time and space TO connect. If you’re looking at your weekly schedule and thinking wow, I don’t have time to connect, start clearing space and looking for opportunities. Then block out that time to go do those things!
Prepare for it
My high school choir teacher used to always say “Fail to plan, plan to fail”
Brutal. I still remember standing in her office and her saying it to my face as I was scrambling to turn something in. I don’t remember what assignment I had missed, but I’ve always remembered her saying that.
Cultivating community doesn’t always come naturally, sometimes we need to prepare and plan for it. Let’s embrace this, It takes so much of the pressure offHow do you plan though?
If you made space on your calendar then you’ve got a head start. Other ways we can prepare are by expecting that it’s going to take an investment of time, it’s going to take us being true to ourselves so that we look for community in places that fit us.
The best way we can prepare is by listening to our own hearts. What are you interested in? Follow that nudging of your heart and go to classes for it, join groups that do it, make space for it.
You have the highest likelihood of finding community if you surround yourself with like minded people.
Invite to it
Who doesn’t love getting a real paper, open your mailbox, kind of invitation! Not one that asks for something but one that invites you in, that says I see you and think we’d have fun living life together!
Now stop staring in your mailbox waiting for it and look around at who you see doing life the way you’d like to - invite them to do life together!
I know it takes a lot of courage to invite people in but you can do it. You don’t have to invite the masses in, just keep looking around for those people that are shyly looking around too.
Save a Seat
We have a standing rule in our home that there is always an open seat at our table. If someone needs to bring a friend home they are always welcome. The door is open and a seat is set for them.
When we’ve found community it’s easy to forget that there are other people looking for a place to ‘sit' and connect. So keep a spot open by you for that new person to the group, for that new person to the school, for the person stepping into a new season or out of a old one.
Just save a seat, it helps you remember how you felt when you were looking for a place to belong.
Clean it Up
Living life together isn’t always pretty dinner parties. When you’re real with people, you’re bound to go through real life together, which means there’s going to be some clean up. There will be times where you need an extra hand, and others where you can offer yours.
When we expect to live in community through the good and the bad it helps us to not be caught off guard when the dinner party is over and there is still clean up to do. Roll your sleeves up, start washing dishes and invite your tribe in to do it with you. It’s amazing how much better clean up is when we get to do it together.
Because we love cultivating community around our table we love helping you cultivate it around yours. Go ahead, make space on your calendar to invite people over, save a seat for someone extra and invite them all to stay for clean up - I bet you’ll love the time in the kitchen as much as the time at the table. Check out the Cookbook I wrote all about creating community! Plus our Online Shop is packed with everything you need to fill your table - AND fight for freedom!!
Life is full of opportunities to connect, let’s look for them this week.