Choose Your Village
I have recently had the pleasure of listening to one of our Ontario Court Judges and was encouraged by her use of the term “village,” especially since the conversation was happening in the world of law. She noted that one should have a village to turn to in times of hardship, joy and peace. I have historically used the term “community” and have come to feel that perhaps that term is very clinical and creates some disconnect. I have also used the term “family” and found that many people find the use of that term too personal and resist it. When I have used the word “family” to describe a friend from time to time, I was met by that same person with body language or dismissal of the gesture as if to display the “inaccuracy” of the word. The truth is, my definition of family is very broad. As a yogini, everyone I encounter is deeply connected to me and I mean it when I call them “family.” However, I like the word “village.” It takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to solve big problems. When we are part of a supportive village our self-worth can skyrocket to heights that we never could have imagined possible. For many of us we live in a world that can sometimes feel isolating and lonely, a world that is rejecting and disconnected. When we are part of a supportive village, isolation and feelings of loneliness is difficult, rejection and disconnection is non-existent. We get to choose to be a part of a village. Our village can be fluid and organic in the moment and over time. Over the years I have come to learn that in fact, we are the sum total of the people we spend the most time with, so it is important that we choose our village well. To do that one must first decide who they want to become, choose the people who fits with that mindset and create the village that supports them. So, choose people you can learn from, people whom you can share without ever having to shield yourself, your thoughts your ideas. Choose people who will listen objectively and tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear. Choose people who will challenge you to be better than you were yesterday, choose people who are kind, compassionate and have no issue with loving-kindness. Overall, choose people who tirelessly strive to make the world a better place.
- Joanna Shaw