Three months ago, I had a rude awakening which led to a deep appreciation for the power of community.
My grandfather, who is like a father to me and walked me down the aisle at my wedding, slipped and fell, hit his head, developed a brain bleed, and wound up in the hospital and in a coma.
My entire world fell into turmoil and suddenly, I realized how important it is to have a strong community. I needed support, I needed advice and help, and most of all, I needed to know that I wasn’t alone.
What does community really mean?
Being a part of a community is a powerful experience that allows us to get through the darkest of times. In the best of times, our community is also what enlivens us, inspires us, and helps us to grow and persevere.
Our community can help us find meaning in our lives. On a very practical level, our community literally encompasses our corner of the world—it’s the people who we spend time with, work with, who we love and cherish, and who love and cherish us.
Whether we see them day in and day out or just once a year, the people who comprise our community shape our reality.
Embrace your growing community
Artists often don’t recognize the communities that they already have because they think that a community is supposed to “feel” like something tangible.
Can I call it a community if it’s not organized, if I’m not yet communicating in a consistent way with them?
It’s easy to get caught up in the semantics and then disengage because it just feels too out of reach and too uncertain.
Usually, the questions that most overwhelm artists as they consider launching a new initiative involve infrastructure, paperwork, communications, marketing, agreements, money, fundraising, partnerships, and so on.
So many details, so much complexity, so much STRESS! And yes, my best friend and business partner Jennifer Rosenfeld and I experienced ALL of these things over the last 10 years, especially as we were getting iCadenza and Cadenza Artists off the ground.
But when we cut to the core and look truthfully at how the iCadenza community came to be, it all started with a friendship and shared values between TWO individuals, which grew over time. At the end of the day, forming a community is really that simple.
Reflect on your growing community
When you think about your community, what do you see?
Do you see a place that you can turn for support and guidance?
Do you see your values being mirrored back at you and reflected in different shades of light? If not, then what’s missing?
For most people it is the idea of inclusion vs. exclusion.
All of us want to be liked and belong. However, when it comes to choosing and building a strong and supportive community, you are required to stand in your convictions.
This can be a scary thing because no matter who you are or how hard you try, standing in your truth means that some people will opt out. And when people opt out of our values, it can feel a whole lot like they are excluding us from their community, when in reality this is just a part of the process.
If, in these moments, we can choose to stand even more solidly in our value system, we will eventually find those people who value what we do, and we will start to define our own communities.
Communities are powerful, and I’m so very grateful for mine
I’m thankful to share that my grandfather is slowly recovering from his trauma. And as I continue on this journey through his recovery and the next chapters of my career and life, I take great pride and comfort in knowing that I’m not alone.
You are a powerful part of my experience and I consider myself so lucky for each and every one of you. This Thanksgiving and always, thank you for the role you play in my life, for the extraordinary support that so many of you provided in the days and weeks following my grandfather’s trauma, and for the energy that you bring to the iCadenza world.
I wish you a wonderful and joyous holiday, filled with communities that you have lovingly cultivated.