Re-Thinking Community – What Does It Mean Today?

Community is a word that I’ve used a lot, but it has never had the meaning it has today.

Almost the whole world is in quarantine, which you probably already know. Maybe if you are reading this, you are experiencing something similar to what I am: you are staying in your house, feeling locked down, not seeing your friends, not going to work, and probably overdosing on food and Netflix. If you are a little like me, your brain probably hasn’t stopped, even though your in-person interactions have.

I’ve been thinking about how my plans have completely changed, about my country’s economy and social situation, about movies, about work, but mainly, I’ve been asking myself many questions. While I was having some quiet time the other day I asked myself: How is it that even though I am not in contact with any of my loved ones I am not feeling lonely?

One word came to me: COMMUNITY.

I have learned during this quarantine that a community is not a concept that is necessarily attached to where someone is located. You can be part of my community and still be in the whole other side of the world. Communities are safety nets, are shared values. Being part of a community is a commitment and a decision, is something active and something you have to work on. It is a two-way street which means you give and you get back. It’s not something static, and it’s never linear. Mostly I have learned how thankful I am for being surrounded (not necessarily physically) by such a loving community.

In the middle of all this pain and uncertainty there’s hope. This hope, I think, comes from the citizens of the world holding hands (metaphorically) and becoming one big community. In this moment, even though we are all separated, we are more together than ever, and this is food for our souls. Imagine this solidarity and union being applied to other issues of the world such as climate change, global peace, gender equality, etc. What a world this would be!

We can’t forget that this is a moment of crisis; a moment to rethink and re-order our priorities, and also a moment of questioning our habits as individuals and as a society. I haven’t lived a long time, but never in my life would I have imagined that there would come a day in which we would live through something like this. I think it is very important, as a community, to be up to date with the news, to be active in the reality, and to have our feet on the ground. Being conscious is a responsibility we have as members of this big community we call humanity. Being part of a community means to care, to be out of our own bubbles, to think about others.

This quarantine has taken me far from people, but reminded me of my purpose: connection.The genuine kind of connection, that happens when we go to the communities and see our producers in the eye. The kind of connection that happens when travelers come and happen to have the same dreams than the ones we have, the kind of connection that happens when we are in a creative meeting and we all agree on a concept we want to communicate. These little moments that happen in this place we call Wakami.

Wakami means “It already is.” A word that is here to remind us that utopia, that place where citizens of the world can connect and dream together exists, already exists. Now, even though it is harder than ever, I encourage you to connect with your community. Have meaningful conversations, take care of each other, share gratitude, and remember that  individual dreams are strong, but collective dreams are unstoppable.

What are your thoughts about community? I invite you to share in the comments.