Happy Monday! Happy July! Happy 1/2 way through 2017! Summertime is here in full force and I'm loving it! For those of you in the USA, I hope you had a wonderful holiday last week!

The 4th of July is my favorite holiday.

Yep, that's right, I even love it more than Christmas.

And it's not all because of the fireworks, it's because of the feeling of community that exists on that day. I love the energy felt when the entire country comes together to celebrate. On the 4th of July, everyone goes outside of their homes, outside the comfort zone of their immediate family and the community comes together as one.

It's as if everyone is your friend and no boundaries exist whatsoever.

I love it. And I love fireworks. a lot. 

So in light of the 4th of July holiday we just enjoyed in the States, the Self-Care concept I want to share about today is that of:

Community

Family is great. I love my family so much and I am looking forward to moving back to my home state of Utah to be closer to them and their love and support. I have spent the past 3 1/2 years living away from home, first in Washington DC and then in Las Vegas, San Francisco, Italy, and back to Las Vegas. Because of this, I have learned the value of community and the power that comes from being loved and taken care of by people outside of your immediate family.

I have had the joy of experiencing the way others can become family, even though they are not blood-related. For this, I am so grateful.

One memory of community I have is when I first moved to Washington DC. We were experiencing record breaking snow and had snow day after snow day after snow day. Being from Utah, I was used to snow, but not that much snow, and the way the entire city shut down for a snowstorm was crazy to me! One such day we were getting so much snow that the gutters were filling up and we were at risk of flooding the cars if we didn't get to shoveling.

So out into the cold, we went. Not long into our endeavor of clearing the road, our shovel broke. Now, what were we to do? We went up the street to our neighbor and asked to borrow his shovel. He was an ornery old man who I had seen on occasion in his yard and had never heard a word. When we knocked on his door and asked for the shovel, he looked at us suspiciously and then, without saying a word, went and got it for us to borrow and we went back to our task. A few moments later, I looked up to see that old man coming down the street to help us. My feelings for him completely changed in an instant. He helped us until all the snow was moved away from our cars and out of the street. 

That simple act of kindness from that old man made me feel loved and secure in a place and a time when I was struggling and feeling scared, alone, and completely out of my comfort zone. And... every time I saw him outside from then on, I smiled and waved and he smiled back. 

How does community play into self-care? Because we can't do it alone! Maybe your immediate family isn't supportive? Maybe you don't live close to family? Maybe you find yourself alone and lonely? Reach out to your community!

You might be the lifesaver for someone else and not even know it.

There may be someone living right next door to you that needs you just as much as you need them. Take them a cake. Invite them over for dinner. Or just go knock on their door and say hi. You never know where these small acts of friendliness and kindness may lead. AND... if you are the one needing help... like a broken shovel or sick child, or a lonely spirit, don't be afraid to ask for help. Trust that people want to be there for you, it's the only way to live. 

Love your neighbor.

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