A New Years Appeal

Submitted by Paul Born on December 31, 2010 - 5:02pm
Lets make 2011 about community


Happy New Year!

I first want to say thanks. Secondly I want to ask for your help but I will leave that to the end of the letter. You gave me a great gift last year by signing up at http://seekingcommunity.ca and in doing so joining our learning community. You see, this website is not just another campaign for me, it's much more personal than that. Let me explain -

For me seeking community is grasping the possibilities that lie within: the possibilities that lie within each of us to care and be cared for, and the immense possibilities for good that we can do when we work together on behalf of others to build a better world.

I know community matters and you know community matters. We see it; we feel it; we have experienced it. In these times we need more of it. I believe this insight is intuitive for all of us who have signed up to learn together at http://seekingcommunity.ca.

I am an optimist, always, no matter what, even when evidence against optimism abounds. Which is why, as three worldwide forces challenge us: global warming, economic meltdown, and terrorism, I am focusing on three opposing forces that have emerged. These are three of the fastest growing movements in the world today and they are converging, creating a commanding force for good. These movements are too large to be described as programs but here are three examples, one from each of the movements to give context. The Slow Food movement is driving a go - grow local agenda. Transition Towns, acting in response to peak oil concerns, are asking people to get ready for a more sustainable future fossil fuel free; and the Simplicity movement is inspiring more and more people to slow down and reconsider their values.

Each of these movements is redefining society as we know it, and together they are motivating people to rediscover community. Although many people's skills for community are rusty, they are quickly relearning this innate ability. For me, community is where the real hope lies. Community has the power to change everything. It can combine collective wisdom, the required innovation, and new systems of peaceful governance, fueled by the power of collective altruism, into a formidable force. As Meg Wheatley is fond of saying, whatever the problem, community is the answer. It is my belief we can change the world, and we can do this one community at a time.

Seeking Community has emerged as a learning community dedicated to discovering and then testing ways of harnessing the power of community as a transformational force. We want to explore three levels of transformation. The I is an inner journey of healing and opening to embrace the other. The We is a collective journey discovering how we might connect more deeply with each other when we gather as neighbors, family, citizens or friends. The Us is a journey to understand the powerful force we can create through collective altruism when we work together to change things for the better.

In 2011, in addition to calling all seekers to join the learning community at http://seekingcommunity.ca and share their longings and ideas about community, we plan to convene 50 community seekers to join together for a three-day residential retreat to talk about community. In turn, we want each of the retreat participants to commit to hosting five group conversations, and then blog about these conversations on the website. This will give us our first 250 community conversations. We plan to host these sessions five times over the next three years and in that way collect at least 1,000 community conversations. These 1,000 conversations will help us discover the wisdom to collectively develop the next stage of learning, action, and social policy required to advance the importance of community in our world.

I know you are a supporter of our work and that you believe as deeply as I do about the importance of community in the world. And so I am asking for your help moving forward. There are three ways that you can support this work.

  1. Complete your full profile on the site - In order for others to want to join our learning community, we need it to be an active place where we can find each other and engage with each other's interests and ideas. Many of the profiles on the site are not complete. If yours is one of those not complete please tell us more about yourself and post a picture. List your areas of interest. Doing this will make searching for you on the site more enjoyable and it will help prepare the site for our next community building resource. We are currently building into the site the ability to invite learning buddies (you can form your own mini learning community inside the larger one) and form groups and pods around learning themes and campaigns.
  2. Blog in the next couple of days - Can I ask you to respond to this letter and especially your understanding of these times and the growing significance of community? In addition, for those of you that blog regularly about community (or would like to), we have openings for 5 thought leaders who would agree to blog at least monthly as featured bloggers. If this interests you please email me: paul@tamarackcommunity.ca.
  3. Be one of the first fifty - Email me paul@tamarackcommunity.ca and let me know if you would be interested in being one of the first 50 people to attend a Seeking Community three-day face-to-face gathering. We will then send you more information on our current plan.

Much joy with wishes of a communal new year.

Paul Born
A friend




for those trying to get through to me - after the letter was sent we noticed that my email was missing a character - ! have corrected it now in this posting - so do try again.

so email me about being one of our first 50 and also about being a regular volunteer blogger. We can also provide you with ideas for blogging. some may rather be committed responders to keep the conversation going. Soon we will start groups as well.

much joy.