In an effort to becoming more active within our city my family and a few friends started an open community game at the local park as an affinity group for Occupy Gainesville. This effort is to get to know the residents of Gainesville in the same way I got to know my neighbors as a kid, by playing with them and getting active. The park is in the geographical center of town and it’s one of the most diverse parks with families visiting regularly from each quadrant of the city. We bring what food and snacks we would need as a family purchased from local markets and locally grown produce plus what little more we can afford to spare to share. We show up to with an open invitation to play games. We’ve played kickball, Mother may I, red-light, green-light, Cards Against Humanity and charades just to name a few options. The goal is to spark the fires of conversation with games and share information on local issues and events which are available for pursuing in a notebook on the table while sparking the energy of the kinetic potential harnessed inside each of us.
We strive to remain active. Even those of us with busy lifestyles often find very little time for exercise and movement. We hustle about in our cars and we hurry and wait in chairs. We stiffen our muscles and we question and wonder if we can move anymore. The question arises, can I dodge? Can I make it if I sprint from here to there? We question now. It’s the energy of the body that we feel stagnating in our joints. Its the tightening of the muscles that make us feel tired and lethargic. Our bones creak as the structure grows instable from the complacency off the muscular tissue. Stay within your comfort zone but challenge yourself with subtle movements, my friend. Reconnect with your body and reconnect with those around you. Move, play, exercise should be fun and stimulating. Efficient and stimulating movement to enrich not just your body and the community around you while making jokes and sharing experience with the young people of tomorrow.
When we make the effort to shop locally and eat locally, we contribute to the economy as well as the ecology of our area. Should the item prove to be unavailable we branch out from there into regions, state, country and then outward from there. By shopping through local produce vendors we are aware not only of each other but our contributions to the local businesses and their employees. I try to use cash with local vendors as often as possible because I realize the percentage that is being taken by the banks cut as we swipe a card would come from the business and then to me and my fellow shoppers.
I do shop at Walmart on occasion. I may not agree with all of their practices but I have become just as used to finding the aisles of storage supplies, shampoos and electronics to be irresistible when stretching dollars. I assuage my conscience by shopping locally when I can and trying to bring a smile to the face of the employees I encounter by being personable and friendly. We have conversations with our regular faces and we’re inviting with the rest. By broadening the definition of friends to include those smiling encounters I find that I’m never alone in my bubble of solitude as I drive the streets of the city I live in. I’m responsible for my choices. I’ll pay attention.
I’m not a political person. I don’t follow the media nitpicking over the words spoken by representatives for people they no longer represent. I may not be able to do much about it other than casting my vote for the politician that seems to fit the best with my ideals. It would make sense that a politician would understand that as a representative for the people they should get to know the people they are representing and that the time getting to know the people should be just as important as greasing elbows and shaking the right hand. It saddens me to think of the amount of money that goes into flying a politician to a location so that they can be seen addressing the needs of the people by giving a speech, a photo opportunity and flying out by the day’s end. Why not have a nice potluck and spend some time experiencing the pulse of the people before you step onto the podium to represent them?
I’m hoping that we can take the time to look around so that we can understand the richness in the diversity of our people and places so that we can reconnect not just with each other but with ourselves. I’m hoping that if we can agree that we can get to know each other through a smile and a game that we won’t feel so isolated in a crowd. We may not always agree but if we cast aside the emotional argument and do our best to agree when we can, we can empower ourselves to recognize our own strengths and our contribution to enriching the world around us. Let’s reconnect mind, body, and community with the potential of child.