Friday, August 13, 2010

Keeping Up Community

Fear can be paralyzing, and we are, all of us, wittingly or not, so often afraid. If we are lucky, we reach out in those moments of fear to others, to family, to friends, to doctors and religious leaders, even to strangers, to help us, to guide us. No one can tell us what to do but, hopefully, we can find solace in a hand, in a pair of sympathetic eyes, in a hug, as we face what it is we have to figure.

I meet so many brave people each day who inspire me, who help take me out of my own spiral and remind me what it's truly about. The last few weeks, as I have been searching for ways to put shape to the many projects that have been simmering in my brain, to figure how to build a business that will bring together many brilliant minds toward the common goal of crucial community-building, I have encountered so many helpful humans.

Looking for office space in Red Hook, for example, brought me to Red Hook Realty's Rachel Shapiro and Ray Hall, the head of Security for Pier 41 Associates, the owner of much of Red Hook's waterfront property. The two exemplify the small-town community attitude of Red Hook.

"We work in harmony," Ray said, hugging Rachel and telling her, "You rock my're cool like Kool-Aid!"

Rachel knows the neighborhood and the people in it like the back of her hand, and Ray--with his brother Earl--runs a non-profit youth organization, Red Hook Rise, which uses basketball games as an incentive for teens to read. With a smile, in a sing-songy way that offered a window into his DJ voice, Ray repeated the organization's mantra: "We play in unity for a better community."

Brooklyn's community ideal was a topic that had come up days before when I met Georgie, a Brooklyn boy born and raised and "never leaving." Together we sung the praises of the borough from Coney Island to 12th St. Bar & Grill where he sometimes works. His infectious grin and great giving attitude reminded me of why I was drawn here from Arizona. It was the kind of attitude that the characters in Saturday Night Fever had, that had stuck with me as authentic and true and very, very appealing.

Could it be John Travolta's walk, the earnest cleft in his chin, that brought me here? 
It is mine to figure why I am where I am, to ask the right questions and pay attention well enough to find my proper path. But I cannot always do it alone. 

Parco provides me, often, with people who can help. Like yesterday, when Reiki Master/Energy Healer Linda Gnat-Mullin sat down beside me and, after a bit, looked up and chimed in with her incredibly insightful theories of people's "hidden patterns," the lies we tell ourselves to disassociate with the dangerous deeper truths. But it is important, this delving, crucial even if we want "to be who we came to be on this planet," she said.

I gave Linda a gold star, thanked her for her help. It does, indeed, take a village, one where people learn to share knowledge and information and, sometimes, solace.

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