The Power of Community
A local Santa Cruz, Calif., TV station began Saturday’s morning news with the announcement that American Idol contestant James Durbin would be returning to Santa Cruz on May 14 for a homecoming celebration after all. Considered a favorite by many, Durbin didn’t make it into the Top 3, where contestants are allowed to go home with Idol cameras along for the ride. Many past contestants were given homecoming parades and honored by local officials while surrounded by friends and family.
In the case of Durbin, a flood of emails to the FOX-TV headquarters, Santa Cruz government offices, the Santa Cruz Chamber of Commerce and more, prompted the show to make what they called “a rare exception.” Community involvement changed the rules of one of the most watched TV shows in the U.S. This change of heart nourished the people of Santa Cruz County, where I live, and the homecoming lifted the spirits of thousands who enjoyed the parade and music.
In community, we can accomplish seemingly impossible deeds when we share our experiences and envision together. When we come together as a connected community online and in person, the results can be empowering. Like many others, I have countless tasks that fill my days. I connect with other people here and there, at meetings and through emails, but much of what I do each day I do alone at my computer. Yet, to nourish my heart, I make time for community when my work is done and make it a point to gather together with family and others. It is then that the true color, texture and joy of life emerge through engaging conversations and various activities.
In his free e-book De-Stress Kit for the Changing Times HeartMath founder Doc Childre explains, “When people gather together to support each other, the energy of the collective multiplies the benefit to the individual.”
At the Institute of HeartMath (IHM), we cherish community and are committed to nurturing it, strengthening it, and always finding new ways of giving back to it. We believe we can best serve our local and global communities by staying actively involved in them, keeping pace with people’s changing needs and providing services to help people and community organizations navigate these changing times with less stress and more ease.
Part of my job at the Institute is being active in our online communities. I seek to bond not only with those who see the world as I do, but also those with differing viewpoints, so I can learn and grow. Each day, I do a HeartMath technique called “Heart Lock-in®” to connect with my heart’s intuition to find something meaningful to post. This fulfills part of my need to care and make a social connection with another person or a community of persons.
If you haven’t already seen IHM on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or My Kids!, pay me a visit whenever you like. You’ll also find new ideas for living life from the heart, including techniques like Heart Lock-in®, tools, quotes, upcoming events, activities, videos and opportunities for connecting in the heart with people from around the world. Come for the commentary and camaraderie, and join the conversation.
One more thing that means a lot to me which I’d like to share with you is the Community Tracker™ (see image above). It is a web app at www.heartmath.org that monitors in real time how others in the world are faring. It’s kind of like a stethoscope on the heart of community, assessing how the collective is feeling over the previous 24 hours. The Community Tracker assesses Five Aspects of Well-Being, including physical vitality, emotional vitality and overall well-being. You can track your own moods and see how others are doing on the plotted trend lines. You can see where other “Trackers” reside – in your country, state or perhaps even your city. This helps me feel connected with others. Try it for yourself and see.
This is part two in the series Nourishing the Heart of a Community.