“You have to do it by yourself. You can not do it alone.”~ Thich Nhat Hanh
Dear Springhouse community,
A while back, my husband was offering a teaching moment to one of our kids who is fiercely independent and strong willed, both of which he comes by honestly. My husband stood up and asked us to come around the coffee table. He put two fingers under the table and tried to lift it. Of course he couldn’t, and it fell quickly to the floor. He then asked the two of us to join him. We joined him and each put two fingers under the table. All three of us lifted the table sturdily off of the ground. Six fingers, not two, did the job.
It’s important that we know the difference between what we are capable of on our own and what we can’t do alone. When we recognize the limits of our capacity and join hands with those around us in service to a shared vision, we step into a power greater than ourselves that frankly can move mountains. Community is our greatest currency when it is interdependent – where each member strengthens themselves to strengthen the whole. Community is even more powerful and effective in responding to a world in need when it is rooted in place over time and respects and takes care of the very life force that animates it.
Springhouse has a mighty vision – regenerative culture where ALL people are connected to the vitality within and around them. This vision requires heavy lifting. It cannot be lifted by one person, but it starts with each person. We need each other if we are to live into the vision where all people are awake to this gift of life. We need each other if we are to more courageously respond to the needs of our communities.
To sustain this kind of community, we must have cultural ways that connect us to ourselves and to each other. Creating and practicing these ways must be at the heart of education. At Springhouse, singing and dancing are obvious examples of this kind of practice. We also practice other ways of “lifting” the vision together, like how we structure leadership – sharing power between us with clear roles in relationship to our shared mission.
We also practice interdependence as a community through our generative economic model. The reality is, Springhouse needs money to function (along with people, physical resources, and mindful attention or prayer). To sustain the whole, we must give what we can to the whole. Participation on the individual level and trust on the collective level allows Springhouse to thrive.
Learning how to be in community is one of the most radical acts we can take in a culture that focuses much more on the power of the individual. Privileging the individual over the community is stressful, exhausting, leads to delusion and oppression, and does not bring us alive. A vitality-centered education empowers the individual while also strengthening the person’s connection to the context, to the whole, to the community.
I often hear from others worldwide that “Springhouse is small, but it is mighty.” It is mighty because of you.
Your participation matters. It is what makes Springhouse thrive. My hope is that your participation in this community brings you alive, too.
In gratitude and trust,