The Social Dinner: A Community Builder
It occurred to me in a yoga class that just as the main focus is not each pose but rather the transition from one pose to the next — the joining aspects — so might be the case with individuals in a community.
We exist in the world as separate and individual entities, but what gets people coming together is the quality of the connections they establish. These connections are formed via such mediums as communication, memory, imagination and repeated contact, and the better these mediums (‘media’ is a loaded word) are, the stronger and more nourishing the connections.
Many things can also keep us apart, like poor communication, not giving full attention in an interaction, lack of interest, absence of understanding, and low resilience in the face of things not going ‘our’ way. Distancing through lack of contact over time also erodes our connections, as do the larger forces in society that push us away from people who we are encouraged to see as ‘different’ or maybe threatening.
As an organisation that values the neighbourhood and inclusion, we in the Transition Town movement give these questions considered thought. We try to reach out to the variety of people who attend our events and projects, and we aim to promote good connections between people who come to steering group meetings, workshops, Film & Feast, the community garden and our farmers market stalls.
Acting on this value of inclusion requires some practical methods and skills as well as a friendly and open attitude. Our monthly social dinner (potluck) — email us at [email protected] if you’d like an invite to the next one — is a good place to exercise these community building skills in a fun, casual environment and to reconnect with people we meet along the way in the Transition Bondi network. As we share the food we cook ourselves, we can appreciate the uniqueness of individuals and the power of individuals coming together in communities.