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April 05, 2008

(5) Cells of an organism

Sometimes, people suggest that I ask too often for help from other people. And in these moments I feel embarrassed or out of line, and try to reflect on how I can keep the balance of putting myself out there just enough to help spark the deepening experience of interconnection. I apologize if any of my requests feel distasteful.

But I’d like to explain how I see my requests of people. Every time I invite someone to help me in some way, I see it as an opportunity to be part this experiment of integrated community sustainability.

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If I see myself as a piece of this larger puzzle, than you helping me is being part of that puzzle. And, by inviting you in, I become part of your story, also a piece of the larger puzzle. And then, when you invite me to assist you in some way, you are inviting me to experience your piece of the world. And when we work together, we discover things together. We create shared knowledge and find innovative solutions. We add value, beyond the direct service, to our co-existence.

I fully anticipate that as I am asking people for support or involvement, I will be reciprocal. All sorts of people ask me for things—sometimes it’s material, but often, since many people know my skills, it’s about an idea, a connection, a project, etc. That’s why I love community organizing—it’s about connecting people for collectivity and grassroots action, and recognizing that the path is often seemingly unclear. Yet, we trust. We believe that each conversation, each moment’s gift or action, adds up. Trust is the “messiness”, and the propellant, of the socio-eco-system.

Trust is a very important aspect of living an interdependent life. I have to trust the web that I am stepping into, and the many components of that web have to trust me. Sometimes I think of myself as cell of an organism, and that the other people who I know (like you) are also cells of that same entity; therefore I trust that we will each want to sustain the health of the whole. Sometimes you just have to believe this, and start acting like it, before it necessarily manifests, but by doing so, by naming it and taking those baby steps, you help to make it real.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Many of the best organizers I know are successful because they do feel comfortable asking people for support, unabashedly - shamelessly because there should be no shame in furthering the cause, and they recognize that when people respond to such requests for help or involvement, they get a little warm feeling inside, perhaps feel a little appreciation and feel a little more connected to the community.