By Helene Szabados and Heidi Majano
“A candle loses none of its light to light another” –Rumi
Last Thursday, Peaceful World Foundation hosted its last conversation of the Love series. At the start of February, we began this amorous series of conversations with the introspective topic of practicing self-love. From there, we slowly worked our way outwards, discussing the love we carry when connecting to others. For our final conversation, we focused on the ripples of love and how they can work towards supporting a community. This week’s topic of conversation was as follows:
“As we think differently about ourselves, our world around us changes. How can we begin to build a sense of community with others from a place of inner peace?”
As we decorated our table with our trinkets, signs and name tags, we recognized the stillness of an intimate conversation. The process of hosting conversations is an unpredictable journey. Occasionally, you may find yourself holding space for a large group of participants to dive into a complex conversation and on the contrary you may just be facilitating a cozy chit chat for one attendant. Keep in mind, however, every conversation has value, even the small ones. We were joined by our friend from Pachamama and his visiting fiancé, making it a quaint table of four.
After a short introduction, I pitched the ice-breaking question, “What aspect of your personality gives most value to the world?” I shared how much I appreciate my ability to socialize with anything that is set in front of me. One of the guests related to this by describing his efforts towards becoming more social in a new environment. Heidi, Peaceful World Foundation’s Program Director, described her presence while listening as her most valuable quality. The question provided us with a warm reminder of what we love most about ourselves and led us straight into our topic.
When we break the main topic down, two themes stick out; inner peace and building community. We began by describing what each of our communities looks like. We deduced the people who make up our communities which include, family, friends, coworkers, roommates, neighbors, and the people who we see on a daily basis such as bus drivers, store clerks, baristas, etc. One participant shared that because of his strong sense of loyalty to his family, it takes more effort for him to start a new community. We reasoned that community building is a daily process; a little effort a day establishes a strong community.
One patron spoke of the idea that, “When I am happy with myself, it is easier to be present for my community.” I related this concept back to the icebreaker, explaining that although my gift of gab is my most valuable personality trait, there were many times in the past I would doubt myself about it. I went on describing my journey into hosting Peaceful World Conversations and how it implemented a constructive outlet for me to utilize my talent. Not only did I have a consistent space to express and practice my social qualities but I was also sharing the teachings of conversations through “Sami’s Six Ingredients.”
Together we came to the conclusion that building community is inclusive of self-love. Our community is a reflection of the relationships we hold with ourselves. Utilizing the practice of self-love, allows for another possibility to unfold which can emulate the community we want to see. Community is waiting to be built, the adventure is in our approach.