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The grace of community

Where do you find your community? Maybe it's your friends from work. Your church group. Your family. Community is everywhere. Could be a group of new moms, new neighbors, first year students. You might be the new kid or the leader. Community comes in all shapes and sizes.

It is important to our humanity to feel membership with a group from an afternoon workshop to a life-long membership. Probably critical. That's why nearly every one of us is a member of some community, no matter how strictly or loosely attached we feel to it. Of course, it can go too far and then it's not a community -- it's a cult.

Thich Nhat Han, the renowned Vietnamese monk, leads a community of followers, known as a sangha in Buddhism. "The essence of a sangha is awareness, understanding, acceptance, harmony and love." That covers a lot of communities from church groups to AA to Scouting to good friends.

Today, I shared a few hours with four other strangers and a colleague, Gene Krackhel, in an afternoon of healing and sharing. Gene is truly an amazing healer and in the span of 90 minutes, we six became a community of awareness, understanding, acceptance, harmony and love. And then we went our separate ways. A community indeed, albeit for a short time. And in an awesome space, The Angel Cooperative, in my local area. Another community I was happy to discover.

Think about the communities that matter to you. Where do you feel comfortable, accepted, loved? It doesn't matter if you find your group in a religious setting, a secular one -- I have my book club later this week -- or just hang with people who share common interest (running, quilting, rock climbing, volunteering, fantasy football, working out, camp). What does matter is awareness, understanding, acceptance, harmony and love.

May you find your supportive community this week.

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