Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Resilience - our resilience and that of our community

Personal Resilience

Sometimes you see people click, the conversation flows, they are animated and engaged, their faces smile. Human interaction, when it is positive fills me with joy, people are happy and I am seeing before me glimmers of the grace of God.

But it’s not always good, sometimes, often, interaction is negative – people get hurt, or worse. In the past I wanted to face this straight on, I determinedly set out to prove how much good there was in the world, for every negative experience I would aim to build more friendships, more dialogue, more campaigns, and more petitions against injustice.

I feel like human interaction is at the core of all, if we valued the human, would we live in a way that was detrimental to others, would we drive gas guzzling vehicles knowing that it was creating a world where millions would suffer the adverse effects of climate change, would we continue to eat foods that were high carbon, out of season, food that had travelled across the world, food that was handpicked because it looked the right colour or the right shape whilst food with so called imperfections are discarded.

These days I feel like I am walking a tightrope, sometimes I want to close my door as it gives me the illusion of feeling safe. The reality is I don’t feel safe, I won’t feel safe unless I fight for the world I want to live in. This week, that world includes one where legal aid isn’t cut, where we save the artic, where people don’t incite racial hatred, where the richer don’t get richer and the poorer don’t get poorer.
I need to be a part of the positive human interaction because I need to be filled with at least a few glimmers of the grace of God.

Community Resilience

At work, Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre, where I am the Faith in Action Tutor, we have been talking about resilience, how resilient do we feel? Are we a part of resilient communities? I think my answer to this question, would have to begin with the consideration of whether or not I belong to a community and if I do – which ones and how involved I am in each.

If you feel a part of a community, I believe you can feel empowered to do all sorts of things, perhaps we feel a little braver, more adventurous, willing to take risks knowing that we are not acting alone. Perhaps we feel we can achieve change when working together. If I consider taking action on Climate Change, I might feel like my actions have no impact – but if I consider my actions along with others in my communities and those taking action on Climate Change then suddenly my impact becomes part of a bigger picture.

If we don’t feel a part of a community, or that the community does not feel resilient to hold us – then what? Do we become isolated? Detached? Are we less likely to take action as we don’t feel supported by one another?

However working within community is a challenge in itself, communities aren’t places where we all think the same and would be led to the same action. There is always a need to communicate with one another, to be clear in our own convictions without drowning out the ideas of others.

This is only the very beginning of this conversation.  Resilience is going to be a theme for some of our Woodbrooke courses in 2014 (in particular), if you are interested – please get in touch. The brochure for 2014 will be available late autumn. 

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