Beyond gathering people together, or hosting a party or a meeting with family, friends, peers, colleagues … there is a moment when the group has the potential to tip into becoming a community. What are the magic ingredients being sprinkled in those moments when people feel connected more deeply than before ? The common cause? The common place? Is it the recognition in each other’s eyes that they are made of the same stuff, share the same dreams and are inspired to follow the same path?
In the choir on Monday night the sub-groups of tenors, sopranos, basses and altos bring their contribution to make a whole sound with the conductor overlaying his own joy to fuse it together. There is something about glue that turns random people into community. In my experience the glue is something other than the people, although it can indeed be manifest in flesh and blood. The adhesive quality of a sound, a mission, a place, a cause is powerful and transcends often the more familiar fixatives of colour, class and creed. Many of us know the power of coming together around trees being felled, human rights being violated or the colours of a favoured football team.
Being held together creates some kind of container in the stadium or in the park – and now in the virtual world containers like on line petitions, facebook and twitter bind communities together even when people may not have met one another. There is still glue here – the synaptic paths strengthened by digital ones. Holding these spaces for communities to deepen relies on the same techniques of support, encouragement and friendship and indeed some of these spaces become an experience of community in real life as well. Invariably though there are still glue people who are like zygotes who are cells in themselves or with a few friends who together hold all the potentiality of the DNA to made a new community or indeed even drive a movement. They join together and become the yoke that binds everyone together as they almost disappear into the new entity.
During this week of celebrating International Women’s Day I have been thinking about those women who on March 8 in 1917 rose up in their textile factory in Petrograd in what was then the Russian Empire and set the wheels in motion for the abdication of the Tsar (Nicholas II) and women were granted the right to vote – in 1975 the United Nations adopted the day March 8 as the International Day and so beyond socialist and communist countries, women’s rights as human rights took on a bigger canvas. The theme for 2017 is Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030.
My promise to tomorrow is to be zygotic, find glue people and support communities to go beyond their invisible borders to grow into their best selves, and along the way be 3nourished and empowered myself. I am intrigued that the word glue comes from the Latin gluten and being gluten free in this endeavour will not be an option if we want to stick together.