The Nature of Community
While I was around at my grandparents’ house yesterday, my grandma pointed out these narcissi in the front garden.
From one stem there blooms 8 miniature flower heads, each with perfectly yellow petals, bright orange trumpets and the stamens shaped like a triangle. But despite their similar characteristics, what intrigued me the most were their differences, and how it’s these differences that contribute to the beauty of the whole plant.
This observation sparked off a few thoughts about the message that I communicate through this blog. Often when I explain the ethos of Lives Less Ordinary, I worry that the message of celebrating individuality will be misconstrued as an endorsement for isolationism. This isn’t my message at all, as I’m a firm believer in the need for connection, as it’s this connection which fosters community. When we engage, connect, participate, contribute, our voices can sing in chorus and our influence is multiplied. However, communities are always stronger when they respect that which makes us unique and different, as well as facilitating the celebration of our similarities. If a choir were to sing the same song with the same melody in the same key, would the effect be as powerful as a fully harmonized piece?
To return to the analogy of collaborative connection in nature, have a look at this photo of some funghi I found at the foot of the Wallace Monument:
See how closely packed together they are? And yet this is precisely their strength. They are more powerful together, and yet each is a unique individual in its own right.
What communities do you belong to? And how do you celebrate your uniqueness in your connections with others?