J64: Join

The word join usually is my cue to exit stage left. But an integral part of my year in living a life of sustainability necessitates leaving my hermitage on occasion and working with others. I have written about some interactions with my neighbors. But, I haven't been consistent or ventured very far.

Several weeks ago I took a real leap into community by participating in a city workshop on the Highway 101 streetscape for the 2 miles in front of my home. I also have been attended a city council meeting and viewed several of them live streaming on my computer. I approached city council members, emailed and have been commenting regularly on a local blog. This is pretty big 'joining in' step for me at the community level. As a liberal I have never felt 'at home' in these western bodies. In the 80's I lived in upstate New York, Manhattan and Philadelphia where I felt shared political values with so many others living in those places.

Moving to Phoenix in '92 indeed felt like moving to a desert. I feel similarly here in Southern California. I will admit that I didn't dig deeply into the red state community groups. I just stayed to myself. But, I am pushing through my reluctance to have some beginnings of a grassroots experience. The other beginning is my participation in my mobile home park's resident association board. This only entails a meeting once or twice a year.

Now the last two weeks, since I haven't been writing on my blog, I have been writing possible city council presentations and composing several newsletter drafts. Some interested neighbors and I are trying to drum up more participation in a Community Garden for our 'soulful little' mobile home park. We also want to do some art projects around the park. This is timely with city council action coming up with mobile home parks, with the rising cost of food and to help us all build community for whatever the future will bring. The city could be contemplating eminent domain, despite talk of needing the only bit of low income housing the city can claim.

The garden is something that will help us all focus on empowering ourselves rather than stewing in paranoia or general anxiety. So, I have joined with others. It is good to venture out of my comfort zone now and again. It is also a way to be an example of living more lightly. Already so many themes of combating waste and conserving water have come up conversationally. There will be the junk that comes up with group processes, but I just know I will get more than I give.

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