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Recovering backpacker, Cornwallite at heart, political enthusiast, catalyst, writer, husband, father, community volunteer, unabashedly proud Canadian. Every hyperlink connects to something related directly or thematically to that which is highlighted.

Tuesday 11 March 2014

Lost and Found

     - Izzy, The Fountain
As part of a course I'm taking on Design Thinking ( for you Twitterbugs) classmates and I have been out on the streets of Toronto, exploring the things that connect individuals with something more - nostalgic memories of a happy childhood or enduring ties to a community of faith, geography, ethnicity, ideas.
Through the process, we've come across a lot of people with no ties - no fond memories of the past, no faith in the concept of community, or perhaps saddest of all, personal connections to a community that, when probed, are smoke and mirrors.
Those with no sense of belonging tended to be jaded, withdrawn, contained, like a closed vessel.  Those wanting to belong were like an open hand, grasping, taking any strands as a touchpoint no matter how loosely they were grounded.
There was also a teacher who turned the ideas of nostalgia and belonging on their heads.  For the teacher, creating memories of experience for their students was what mattered; creating a space their children could belong in was their focus.  They were investing, creating community and finding themselves through the process.
Recently I've met the most remarkable person, a true empath with an almost uncomfortable ability to understand the emotional framework of individuals, structures that people often aren't aware they are shaped (or constrained) by.  This woman self-describes as a giver, which is apt; how she replenishes, lord knows, but the ability makes her a magnet for people.
But when in darkness, we all move towards the light, don't we?
Community is a fragile thing, made up of fragile people.  But that fragility isn't weakness - it's openness.  Is that by design?

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