Posts tagged existentialism

Community Building

How does one build community? This is the question of the week I think…and I will try to explore this theme, hopefully with some response from others of like-mind!

I once lived in a community that was impoverished, gang ridden, drug stricken…raising my baby alone within that community. Many others in various precarious situations  had older children that strayed randomly from their homes to escape, to be children, to find alternatives from the destruction of their lives. I formed the basis of a group for these children (youth) and asked them what they wanted, needed; asked them about their dreams. They (the kids) ran their group, formed activities, and came to me for guidance when they perceived they needed it, but organized themselves and built something from nothing. They were unstoppable!

I had very little to do with the group in terms of directing; however, I coordinated, oversaw, and engaged in dialogue with the kids when they wanted (and they wanted dialogue frequently!)

The above  is one example of community. So, I learned from that experience that, in the name of community building, the ‘actual’ building of community has to come from the community itself. In this case, the children I worked with were that community. I could not “tell” them what they needed, or wanted, and then provide them with what I thought was necessary. That would have been paternalistic, I think.  I could only ask and have conversations with them that led to decision-making that was a process of consensus.  

“In Pedagogy of the Oppressed” Paulo Freire said: ” Scientific revolutionary humanism cannot, in the name of revolution, treat the oppressed as objects to be analyzed and (based on that analysis) presented with prescriptions for behaviour” (Freire, 2005, p. 133).

In other words, in relation to my experience with these kids, I approached them as subjects with self-determination, ‘knowers’ of their own experience, hopes and dreams. I could not prescribe to them what ‘should be’ for then they would not have engaged in any processes with me.

Are there other ways of building community? Other examples encouraged!


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To offer solutions or not?

“ix625” or “ix” noted via comment (in regards to my post about “passion” ) that I could try offering solutions. I appreciate this feedback because it helps me to determine what people reading my blogs want, or conversely, what people perceive my blogs to mean.

One of the reasons I ask the questions I do, is to encourage or stimulate dialogue – a forum for discourse about comment interests and themes specifically related to existentialist themes and/or social relations.

My reasoning here is that although I have training and education in relation to the above-noted matters I cannot conceive of myself as an expert in isolation from the commentary of others (Paulo Freire speaks of this paradox).

This is not to say that I won’t offer solutions in the near future!

Finally, I am grateful for any responses to my posts that relate to the subject matter…thanks to all who have commented so far!

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Finding passion/meaning in Life

How does one get moving again when one has lost momentum in life? When the ho-hum of the day/week/weekend turns into greyness? When the trivialities of every day life take over, and chaotic moments interfere with an ability to stay focused?

What happens when a person knows she/he is blocked creatively; yet, nothing moves that person enough to shift the mood or state of being?

Responses appreciated!!

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Work-Life Balance

“Beassertive” commented on her positive experience in incorporating more balance into her life via maintaining connections with family, friends, good nutrition, exercise, and perhaps, as I understand it, focusing more on the NOW than on the future.

Maintaining good social support networks (family, friends, formal supports) is essential, in my view, to having a balanced lifestyle. In addition, staying healthy physically (eating well, regular exercise, and enough sleep) is crucial to well-being. Just as important, is the need for women (and men) to identify what gives them meaning and purpose in life. Without this we are robotic beings clumsily moving through our days without vision and purpose.

How then, do we keep ourselves ahead by using the above strategies for well-being when the greatest challenge may be finding  the time?

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