Meeting Monday Mornings at Dublin Roasters Coffee (1780 N. Market Street, Frederick, Maryland, noon to 2:00 p.m.)
Sponsored by New Horizons Support Network, Inc.
This morning, another Monday morning, had its high and lows. The high point was that I was relieved and happy to not need to quickly leave the warmth under my down comforter or the serenity of New Horizons’ Harper’s Ferry Retreat Center, up here in the mountains, during this first of winter’s cold snaps.
I do love warmth and coziness, especially when the great outdoors are getting a bit chilly and I want the days to still be the lazy days of summer.
The low part was that I truly missed my Monday Morning Meeting in Frederick to which I am quickly becoming accustomed and enamored. The abundance of synergy and goodwill that is growing there, almost to the point of calling it a vibration of love, is the main draw.
Aligned with this is that this wonderful ambiance is interwoven with the task of building a working community project through New Horizons Coffee House Conversations Project; destination -- a community actively engaged in being a touch beyond ordinary, in our local community of Frederick, Maryland.
The Coffee House Conversations Planning Project, while still new and very tiny, is, indeed, becoming a growing community entity within our greater civic locale, dedicating itself to building a more “exceptional community” throughout Frederick County with as many people as will join with us through dialogue and pro-active social and political engagement.
The road to individual and collective transformation has many elements, “the most important one is having a community.” Murat Yagan, New Horizons’ Beloved Community Development mentor, Murat Yagan (1915 – 2013), affirmed this message for New Horizons and myself, personally.
However, I had already come to know this in my earliest days, having been born into a strong community-life that I naturally was drawn to replicate in various forms as an adult. How sad it is to me that the experience of this most essential aspect of healthy, balanced living is all too often overlooked in this day of high speed everything.
My Beloved collaborator, Sue deVeer, a birthright Quaker. came to New Horizons in 2006 knowing the importance of community – and -with a great deal of skill and experience in building and sustaining it through Quaker Consensus Process.
Communities, particularly the “exceptional” kind, do require certain kinds of investments, all too frequently disregarded in today’s world, such as time, especially face time, an altruistic commitment to the wellbeing of others, determination to pursue the highest good, a defining aspect of a passion for excellence in human affairs -- and -- patience.
Here is how I have described the “exceptional community,” contrasting it to the "ordinary" in my manuscript in progress, “The Middle East Crisis In My Backyard.”
The following is excerpted from “The Middle East Crisis In My Backyard,” (a manuscript in progress).
Commonly held views of a “community” define it as “a social group of any size whose members reside in a specific locality, share government and are bound together by various interests, characteristics and values they hold in common.
A definition of community that is more exceptional, however, holds that a true community has several other distinct characteristics. These qualities carry the normally-held view of a community forward into an extraordinary form; New Horizons call this the exceptional community.
One characteristic of the exceptional community is that the members are particularly like-minded regarding the necessity for resolving conflicts in ways that represent social justice in a superlative fashion. A second is that they function synergistically. The presence of these two attributes*; like-mindedness and synergy, separates the exceptional community from all other communities.
To the extent that members not only share common values, interests and characteristics (i.e. like-mindedness) in a particular locality and under one government, but also consistently seek to function synergistically, they set themselves on a course of evolving. Evolving as a group can be the basis for producing an “exceptional community.”
The exceptional community is a thriving, healthy system that makes every possible attempt to maintain harmony and peace. In the exceptional community, violence could, someday, even become obsolete because the conditions that foster violence become unnecessary.
In today’s world the exceptional community is an important model for creating a “culture of prevention,” a significant deterrent to the proliferation of violence. (The Tunisian Dialogue Quartet is an example of this.)The Coffee House Conversations Planning Project Team is becoming an emerging “exceptional community.” Here is an invitation for your participation in it, even in short, periodic visits and in small ways.
There is room and work for everyone.
No effort is too small or insignificant to make a difference in this endeavor.
We need YOU! We need everyone!
For details and registration, contact:
New Horizons is a 501 C 3 non-profit educational organization
Cash contributions are welcomed to support this project!
*Regarding like-mindedness and synergy – I have come to realize that in communities of diversity, like-mindedness can be uncomplicated in building and sustaining an exceptional community if shared values regarding social justice and conflict resolution are agreed upon.