Community is about POSSIBILITY!
I'm still digesting Peter Block's newest book entitled Community: The Structure of Belonging. It ranks right up there with A New Earth as one of the most influential books I've read in a long time.
There are just so many things to tell you about this book! Right away in the Welcome he gives me the first nugget when he defines "belonging":
"First and foremost, to belong is to be related to and a part of something....The second meaning of the word belong has to do with being an owner: Something belongs to me. To belong to a community is to act as a creator and co-owner of that community.Wow. This was on page xii!
"...Belonging can also be thought of as a longing to be. Being is our capacity to find out deeper purpose in all that we do. It is the capacity to be present, and to discover our authenticity and whole selves."
Block goes on to describe our traditional communities - city councils, school boards, businesses, churches, even families - as focused on problems. We are really good problem solvers, so we are in a constant state of fix. Which means we will always have problems. He suggests we look at our communities with a whole new level of communication and conversations. As he told us in a previous book, The Answer to How is Yes, transformation is more about pursuing profound questions than about seeking practical answers. This book continues where that one left off.
If we are asking new questions, we are looking for - and creating - a whole new future by declaring a possibility instead of solving a problem. In this way our communities become places of restoration instead of places of retribution.
My Wednesday master mind group is beginning this book tomorrow as our next study. I've created a 10-week study guide for us as we begin this process. I'm really committed to creating a whole new future for our local community because of our work in this master mind, and I'm inviting the other 100 or so people who have been studying various books with me here in Fargo to join us in studying this book.
I know that the world will shift and transform as enough of us are creating possibilities to live into instead of expectations to live up to or problems to fix in order to justify our existence.
Let's start a conversation about possibility based on this book. What are you seeing in your own community? Do you see possibilities for transformation and new conversations based on profound questions rather than practical answers? I know I do!
On a related note, in 2003 I completed Landmark Education's Curriculum for Living and it gave me an entirely new technology for living. A lot of the structure Block talks about in this book is what Landmark is founded upon. He is clear that personal and individual transformation will not necessarily cause community transformation; however it is a great start. For more information about transforming your own life, check out Landmark's website.