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Elements of a Successful Community

Jon Russell

A community is dynamic, successful, exciting, and serves human growth and evolution to the degree that it supports each individuals excitements and explorations. In exploring various communities, I have noticed that paying attention to the following values and skills is what allowed and maintained a deep sense of connection, support, interest and commitment amongst the members of a group.

1) Have a vision higher than yourself. While being committed to yourself and your inner sense of what's important to you, also notice that you are part of something much bigger than yourself. Sense your desires to create at this higher level and how everything you do feeds this higher purpose. You will find that this larger vision is what you share with those you are most closely connected to.

2) Spend a good part of your day doing what you love, what excites you, your passions, your "task." Recognize more and more quickly when you find yourself not excited and just coping, contending with things, or consumed in mundane activities.

3) Find those times when it feels natural to serve the group, and in what way you can best do that. Learn how you can, in those times, temporarily put aside your own issues or agendas. Learn what it is to be a "pole," a group member who is looked to for being centered, helpful, committed and inspirational. Notice that, when we create for others, those things we want for ourselves, we automatically receive it also, and without effort.

4) Leave the group regularly to connect with the outside world and new people. Bring back gifts of knowledge, experiences and insights. Use what excites you to guide your explorations of the world.

5) Be involved in the "feedback" process. Notice when you are being polite and not saying what you think. Practice speaking what you see and what you want. Notice the difference between what you observe about another and your opinions about it. Become more and more skilled at communicating to others effectively, in a way they can use it. Be open to questions about what you say, think and want. Help each other to be clear, and to learn about our projections and any tendencies to blame.

6) Experiment with anything and everything that interests you. This applies to every area of your life. Recognize yourself as a researcher and decide that it is your duty to yourself and to humanity to explore those things that intensely interest you. Recognize that there is no such thing as a mistake. Be willing to be directed by your intuition and your desire to explore, experiment and discover everything about those things to which you are drawn. Be shameless in your interests and excitements.

7) Be curious about others in your community, a curiosity that's real and comes from your heart. Be willing to ask penetrating questions, not just for the sake of it, but about those things you are really curious about. Do so without judgement, and learn that we can assist each other in becoming transparent by the way we ask our questions, and how we can help each other be open and honest without fear.

8) Let yourself connect with those to whom you are drawn, both within your community and outside. Let your feelings of interest and attraction be your guide and trust your heart. Learn to be present and connected with others. Notice the fears around intimacy. Find that level of intimacy that is possible and fulfilling with each person in your life, it's often surprising what's possible.

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