Monday, October 25, 2010

Help Build Community One Gold Star At a Time!

I got an e-mail from a woman last week who reached out to tell me about where I might find puffy glittery gold stars similar to the kind I had written a while back were being discontinued. She had gone looking for them herself and found them, and me.

"Today was the sort of day where I needed a gold star, as did about everyone in my office," Elizabeth Livermore wrote from her perch as an office assistant in Washington, D.C.

I was filled with joy upon receiving her e-mail. I have been waiting for a while to have help doling out stars, help recognizing people and rewarding them in this great but seemingly insignificant way, a way I see as increasingly crucial as lack of faith in ourselves and the world around us grows in spades and with it our anxieties.

Elizabeth has herself ordered a slew of gold star stickers "to dole out to people here in the D.C. area, where far too often people are driven by money and politics," she wrote. "Just wait til I catch a man in a business suit giving up a seat on the Metro and ending up with a gold star sticker to wear to work!"

I sent Elizabeth a virtual gold star and asked if I could share her story, if she wanted to share her experiences of giving out gold stars--including to those unwitting businessmen--when she gets them. She agreed to both and I can't wait to feature her commentary on giving out stars in the nation's capitol.

It is not necessarily easy to get up the gumption to give, to leave oneself open to the judgment or mockery of others. But I think Elizabeth and anyone else who takes the time out to reward someone for their efforts with a gold star will be surprised at the amazing response, the enthusiasm and graciousness with which the star (and the person offering it) is met.

At Jaya Yoga this month, the theme is Sangha, a Sanskrit word for community. Today, in class, our fearless instructor Judy spoke of the strength we need to find in ourselves in order to be open to the various communities we weave in and out of, from our offices to our schools to our religious organizations to the neighborhood cafes we frequent. "You need to have strong backs to have soft fronts," she advised.

I work so hard to find that strength in myself to remain open and love to hear stories of others' efforts. The aim, of course, is to build community, one glittery gold star at a time.

If you'd like to receive an e-mail version of my blog or find out how to give out gold stars in your community, e-mail me at

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