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personal engagement personal engagement

Supermarket Engagement

Throwaway connections rule a lot of peoples’ experiences of engagement. Whether thinking about their families, friends, jobs, communities, volunteering, or social relationships, these folks don’t invest the time, energy, or resources necessary to establish genuine engagement. Instead, in their convenience-based approach, they look for the connections that fit the moment best without consideration for longevity.


The essence of engagement is sustainability, which is the ability to last. Engagement can happen in an instant, if the connection made has the ability to last. Connections can be picked up and dropped off at will, they can just last a flicker and then be gone- but that isn’t engagement.

Western society conditions us to treat engagements in our life like items in supermarkets, things that we can just pick up and experiences we can just have, and then throw them away when we’re done. However, we’re all capable of having relationships that are bigger than that.

Saul Alinsky once wrote, “Life is an adventure of passion, risk, danger, laughter, beauty, love; a burning curiosity to go with the action to see what it is all about, to go search for a pattern of meaning, to burn one’s bridges because you’re never going to go back anyway, and to live to the end.” If your adventure is one of fleeting, momentary connections then live it that way, but don’t pretend you’re engaged in Heartspace. If your life is a lasting connection to the adventure of life itself, and not to the parts therein, then live it that way, and live from Heartspace. But whatever you do, do not pretend you’re engaged in something in a grander way than you actually are, if only because you’ll block out genuine engagement when it does happen.

Engagement is capable of bringing us to unknown dimensions, places within ourselves, with others, and throughout our world that are above and beyond our own minds, instead inhabiting Heartspace. We cannot go there through supermarket engagement through. Instead, we have to invest ourselves in sustaining the connections that matter most to us. Knowing Heartspace, we nurture and build, transform and revolutionize our approaches to life in order to embrace the experiences, ideas, knowledge, people, and places that speak deepest to us. Those sustained connections form the basis of genuine engagement. That’s why we’re alive.

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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