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community engagement personal engagement personal engagement

You Can’t MAKE Engagement

Heartspace works in perfect order.

Throughout my life, I’ve held a variety of positions where I was responsible for engaging others. Maybe the first time was when I was a kid and my parents told me to take my little sisters outside to play. Later it was when I was a boy scout senior patrol leader and was in charge of running our meetings, helping others learn knots and ax handling and camping. The most remarkable job in my early career engaging others was as an AmeriCorps member in Lincoln, Nebraska, working with new Kurdish and Iraqi immigrant families to engage them in their new society. So it went, job in and out, volunteering, and just living life. 

Recently, I discovered something powerful about Heartspace, which is the space where each of us engages within ourselves and among all of us where we engage with others. Heartspace doesn’t ever, ever require us to engage others! We actually don’t have to even become engaged within ourselves! That’s because Heartspace already holds our engagements in exactly the perfect order, right now. There’s literally nothing more we have to do. The word perfect doesn’t mean all shiny, happy, and friendly either. Instead, it means “having all the required or desirable elements, qualities, or characteristics; as good as it is possible to be.” Whether or not we see the perfection of our engagement in the moment we’re experiencing it doesn’t matter; it is what it is. Our position is merely to continue to experience it from where we stand—not from where we think we, or anyone else, is supposed to stand.
That means that all these programs designed to engage students, recruit volunteers, make communities more connected, and deepen family connections don’t have to be doing what they’re doing. It also means that you are perfectly engaged right now. I learned this through my own life. Scanning the world around me and searching deep within me has shown me that all things operate in perfect order right now. That means that the parts that seem great and the parts that are mucky are working in the exact way they’re supposed to. If I want to change them, I can and should, not because I have to, but because I want to.
If you want to engage others, if you feel compelled to connect deeper within yourself, if you’re certain that you must help neighbors, then by all means go do those things. That desire, compulsion, or certainty is powerful, and is a good and right motivator for your engagement in Heartspace. However, don’t suspect for a moment that you’re engaging in anything because you have to, because honestly, you’re not.
Written by Adam Fletcher, this article was originally posted to http://commonaction.blogspot.com. Learn more at adamfletcher.net!

By Adam F.C. Fletcher

I'm a speaker, writer, trainer, researcher and advocate who researches, writes and shares about education, youth, and history.

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