Ignoring The Voice of Dependency


 A community is democratic only when the humblest and weakest person can enjoy the highest civil, economic, and social rights that the biggest and most powerful possess.
A. Philip Randolph

Sometimes those that want to help–actually hurt.

I am talking about those large  institutions like corporations, governmental, academic and even professional ones like social service agencies. Just for the record, this is where I take out the mirror and look at myself.  Pot, please meet kettle. At various times in my 20 plus year career I have belonged to each of those large entities I just named. And if I am being honest sometimes we have probably done harm where our intent was to help.

These institutions have resources and  they can be amazing supporters and advocates, they just can not be in the drivers seat.   They do not  get to drive, hold the map or  determine the road that  will be utilized.  The vision  has to be driven by the people. True movements  do not have CEOS or benefits. They happen when thousands of people discover their power and in doing so discover their possibilities. Movements take courage. It takes courage to discover your own way and own your  destiny. 

The American poet Audre Lorde  said it best:

If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.

And sometime other’s vision of our self or our communities come from a  historical place of lack- a place of dependency. They tell communities  that they are inadequate, problematic, incompetent or broken, but  of course they know what the community need. They know how to “fix” it, how to help.  I believe that at their core they do want to help–and sometimes when you are bone  and soul weary it feels GOOD to have someone tell you that they will help you, give you what you need.  It is sometime very hard to ignore  these strong, loud voices, and hear your own heartbeat. We are all called to find our own way– no one walks your path for you.

The gifts of neighbors. The voice of strength. The path of abundance.

Strong local communities are vital and they are not created in a vacuum.  They come from the freedom and opportunity to create vision and the power to make that vision a reality. You noticed I said POWER and not RESOURCES.   In every local community we have the power to build a strong economic community. Every neighborhood in the world  has some locally started enterprise- car mechanics, beauty shop, seamstress– so many basements, dining rooms, kitchens and garages offer great prices and impeccable work.  As neighbors we have the power to utilize these services, choose their power to  support these businesses over large institutions. When neighbors support  neighbors  they are really allowing them to share their gifts and talents.

When communities walk the path of abundance  they join all of their gifts. When they grow food together and feed  another. When  they raise each other’s children together and invest in their future leaving none behind. When they care for  all of the elders and value the wisdom they share. May we all have the opportunity to  use our gifts to contribute to the healing of the world.

 We all have the right to live in a safe and secure place. Freedom is our divine right. We all should be  free to move beyond past limitations and become all that we were created to be. This can not happen  if  communities give others the power to define them. The gifts of community are endless. They need  to be magnified and celebrated. They should be cherished and every community should be allowed to define themselves.

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