Building a Community and Sharing Your Passions

“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it.” Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

And it’s not just me who sees and partakes in this beautiful flow of happenings. It’s everywhere, all around, in the people we know who are doing extraordinary things.

Monday morning marked a meeting of Team Awesome Ladies (my term), a group of women who met over the course of years through mutual employment at the local health food store in town or through mutual friends. We try to get together semi regularly to talk business, hold each other accountable for forward movement and bask in the good vibe flow.

Beautiful ladies doing beautiful work.

Beautiful ladies doing beautiful work.

Barbara runs Career Wellness Partners with fantastic spunk. Gina, whom I’ve mentioned before, has her hand in a number of awesome adventures presently, including a soon-to-be published novel and her company Wellness Transformations, which helps folks take control of their lives through spiritual works. Sharon is a veteran Yoga instructor goddess. She was the first person who helped me learn to think differently, and Mom and I have been in love with her practice since I was in middle school. Michelle, who couldn’t swing this meeting, has made runs a successful quantum biofeedback practice.

These ladies are forward-driven movers and shakers, and just being able to share accomplishments and bask in their presences is a blessing. Plus, they have impeccable taste in teas and reading materials.

I also took my first foray into one of my never acted upon but always dreamed of activities: climbing. My friend Stephen and I headed up to the North Summit Climbing Gym Tuesday night, where a pile of magnificently skilled humans instantly put us to shame. But that’s okay. Everyone was approachable, encouraging and helpful, and as I flailed around trying to boulder on the easiest paths, I felt the self-consciousness fall behind me. I was not as strong as I thought I’d be for this endeavor, but I can work on it.

And then it was back to Philly, but for a full day of farm(ish) work.

First I headed into the Northeast, somewhat uncharted territory for me, in search of Envirokure. This Philly start-up is a few years old but quickly picking up steam in the sustainable, organic fertilizer markets. We want to keep it in the city family, right?

envirokure envirokure office

Their products compete with fish emulsion and, for a smaller scale operation like mine, that means root and plant development at the transplant level. I’m interested to try this out, and looking forward to some comparison trials between the two since their nitrogen-phosphorous-potassium levels differ.

From there, I headed to the West, but more Southwest than I’d ever traveled before, to meet with friend and teacher Mechele at the leadership charter academy where she works. The school has been looking into beautifying an adjacent lot, and when I approached her about using it as a learning-ag space, the school jumped at the opportunity. After a brief introduction with the principal, Mechele and I headed out into the brisk morning to measure, sketch, brainstorm and talk logistics.

We’ve got to run some numbers and figure out some of these vertical gardening techniques, but we’re looking at raised beds with space for classes outdoors, living walls and palette projects. Stay tuned to watch this space’s transformation.

What do you see when you look at this space? Do you see blooming green beauty? We do.

What do you see when you look at this space? Do you see blooming green beauty? We do.

Next it was over to Mt. Airy to hang up more tear sheets and drop off more flyers at the Mt. Airy Read & Eat, our newest CSA pick-up location. My tear sheet was totally empty, and the owner later told me that had happened within a couple days. That’s some exciting news. I stopped into the new noodle shop next door for lunch and ended up giving a flyer to a new neighbor ordering takeout who overheard our conversation and was interested. That’s always a cool interaction.

And then it was on to the main event. A couple months back I received an e-mail from the program coordinators of the Explorer Café, a regular speak-and-discuss session at La Salle University. This time around they invited various alumni to come and speak about how they are still living the Lasallian mission in their current lives and vocations.

We are lawyers, farmers, nurses, businessmen, the politically active and vocationally passionate. Thanks to Hannah Datz for the photos!

We are lawyers, farmers, nurses, businessmen, the politically active and vocationally passionate. Thanks to Hannah Datz for the photos!

I wrote about this once before, about a year ago in a post entitled “Why My College Made It Okay For Me To Become A Farmer.” I won’t repeat all those sentiments here, but I can honestly say that I am regularly learning more and more how my life was impacted in a positive way by my college experience.

Microphones make me a little jittery, always have, and I probably could have contributed more than I did at the panel, but what I did say are things that I feel in every fiber of my being. First, that La Salle made me appreciate a passionate community, and that I try to build this around me wherever I go. I want the people I am near to be motivated and excited by what they are doing in the world, and fostering that was echoed through the other panelists loud and clear.

Meg is a nurse in the city and Sam is finishing up law school. They are wonderful people, if you haven't had the chance to know them (yet).

Meg is a nurse in the city and Sam is finishing up law school. They are wonderful people, if you haven’t had the chance to know them (yet).

Second was that La Salle made me brave. Without my experiences at that school, the taking ownership and leading and accountability and responsibility, I wouldn’t have been able take the risks I have taken and learned to roll with change and seek more fulfilling environments and talk to strangers.

The community aspect showed itself when we headed to the Student Union building. Dean of Students grinned, asked me how the farm was, and told me how happy it made him to see me back on campus. I caught up with old friends who are all doing and planning incredible things, clasped hands with some of my favorite professors and met a very cute baby.

It makes me sad that not everyone had such a lasting, meaningful network during their time in higher education. But you can build this sort of community wherever you are, and there’s something really reassuring in that.

These communities believe in me, and I believe in them. When we share this energy with each other, incredible work starts to happen. I found this in a Mural Arts program pamphlet, but it’s true in all life.

art can triumph

Art, food, love, life. What are you bringing to your communities?

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