This weekend was national day here in Norway. It’s a bit like the 4th of July in the USA with communal celebrations, parades and fireworks. National day in Norway is a huge event, especially this year as we’re celebrating the 200th anniversary since the writing of our constitution.
In most of the country we had fantastic weather, against the backdrop of the blue sea and mountains. Postcard perfect. If you are ever thinking of visiting Norway, surely the national day on 17th May has to be a good time for it.
Wandering through in the city yesterday, I was struck by the feeling of community and general goodwill towards others. It was a cheery festival spirit in the air, and all kinds of Norwegians were celebrating together.
So I was reflecting on community and what it means. Community has to do with a sense of belonging. It’s both where you are welcome, and where you feel you belong. And it got me thinking about what other kinds of communities we have.
Community comes to represent a home, a place of safety and a place where you’re appreciated and needed. Community is the space where people come together, where we go from being one to becoming many. It’s this fellowship, this thing that is bigger than each of us alone, that is community.
As I was meditating on this, it came to me that the best visual presentation I’ve ever seen of the concept Community, is in the film Avatar. Remember the scenes where the people link with their surroundings and come together in Eywa, their deity? Living in a city as I do, it’s so noticeable that the plants and animals around us are as much a part of the community as we people. We all inhabit the same spaces, when the weather is good we rest on the grass and relax in the sun. When it’s rainy we all run for cover under the trees. The flowers in people’s window boxes and the park are little blessings, interacting with people walking past. Do you see what I mean?
Looking at the world in this way means being ever more mindful. It can lead to a more fulfilled life, a more relaxed outlook and a greater appreciation for what we’ve got. Recognising our community, and our role in it, is a great way to practice spirituality and kindness, and to receive it back. Developing our communities is one of the most spiritual practices we can actively engage in. Here’s a simple three steps to how:
1. Look at the people you pass in the street.
See them for the brothers and sisters that they are. Smile at them.
2. Notice the people you see regularly.
Start saying good morning to them as you walk past them. When you run into them at the corner shop, ask how their day was. Make time for a brief chat.
3. Be positive, give compliments.
Make someone’s day. It’ll make yours too. Open your eyes to the people who are doing this for you too. Accept. Reciprocate.
And there, you’re on your way! Remember, rules apply at work, online and in families too… Best of luck!
Vild Prestegard is an anthropologist, holistic therapist, Reiki master and public speaker based in Norway. She is a regular blogger for Cycle Harmony. You’re welcome to contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions and comments.