Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Another Kind of Community

I have written frequently about community on this blog. Community is incredibly important wherever we go, and on this blog, the focus on community has, not surprisingly, focused on legal and yoga communities. Over the course of the last several years, I have learned to find community in yoga classes, at professional conferences, and even in the blogosphere. Community is what keeps us going, and finding so many different communities has been one of the greatest personal benefits of writing this blog.

These past few weeks I found more community, the one that should be staring us all in the face all the time, but sometimes we fail to see it. It is the community we always have with us, the one that steps out of the woodwork when we really need them. It includes our close friends and family, but it is larger than that.

Someone said to me yesterday, "Like most people, I want to help." I have a lot of respect for that person, both as an individual and as someone who understands other people as well. That simple statement opened my eyes to the communities we carry around with us in our lives. What better time than Christmas to recognize our connection to each other? It is that time of year when even when we do not celebrate the holiday, we notice that people smile more, people talk to each other more, and the atmosphere is full of joy.

But that sentiment need not be confined to December. As my friend reminded me, people like to help one another. Human beings are social creatures. Whether back when we were hunter gatherers or today when our food comes to us in plastic wrap, we need other people to survive. And our society does best when everyone in it is cared for, and we personally do best when we can participate in that caring.

On a yoga mat, it is easy to feel that connection to people, but it can be difficult when we are running around in the hustle and bustle of life. But that is just the point. Sometimes life forces us to remember. Sometimes life stops us in our tracks and says, people are here to help. You are not alone. Even though we live in a society that awards people who can do everything on their own and seem to be self-made, the truth is that none of us can do that forever. Eventually we need the help, and eventually we need to help others.

The conferences and yoga classes are great places to expand our communities and find new people with whom to engage and learn. But the real community is our everyday lives. It is the people we interact with on a daily basis, the ones who just want to help because that is what people do for each other.

May this holiday time be your reminder of how vast your community is and how connected we really are to each other, whether we have met in person or not. How do you get reminded about your community? How have you reached out to your community?


© Rebecca Stahl 2012, all rights reserved.


  1. Communities become increasingly important as we grow older. I've reached out to community in the past by participating in various volunteer opportunities - whether it was a Meals on Wheels program, cleaning up a beach for Surfrider, helping a friend patch up her home after it was burglarized, etc. We are so interconnected in so many ways, that it only feels natural as we get older to become more involved. What a poignant post for Christmas, thank you!