I have a daily practice of calling to my conscience the feelings of appreciation, gratitude, compassion, and service. This practice creates for me a positive outlook on life and sets the tone for a good day. Without a doubt, every workday I have spent with ECM easily brings the energy of these words into reality. This is what brings me back year after year. The best of who the volunteers and residents are is demonstrated on these days.
Typically, I walk around and chat with residents and volunteers looking for a story, but this day I pitched in since our crew was small. As I did so, I began to appreciate the individual personalities and how each person brought their unique qualities to the tasks. Some easily took on a leader role, directing others with respect and grace, while others listened with care for direction. Cooperation is necessary to complete our goals, but I also believe fun is a special ingredient that makes the work seem effortless. Extreme Teams member Zhen replied to the request for music and filled the alley in the Swansea neighborhood with funky-beats and easy to sing lyrics. Now, we were having fun!
With the music playing, people singing, and some of us dancing, like myself, I saw the domino effect of smiles and felt the positive energy of our volunteers. I stood there for a moment and took in the beautiful blue skies, the gentle wind, the blooming trees and the many shades of green that would be the backdrop for many months ahead. I was in full gratitude for this amazing state and city we live in, but mostly for the beautiful souls that show up on these Work Days. It doesn’t take much, a turn of the head and one can see that there is so much to be grateful for: a community to belong to, a neighborhood to care for, and warm house to live in.
As I took my turn at the ECM command center I had the opportunity to observe the neighbors driving, walking, or biking through. It was clear some were doing just fine, while others seemed to be struggling. Having reflected on my own life, I’ve come to realize that the action from compassion is service. Throughout our lives we toggle between the two; we are either being cared for by another or providing a helping hand or a loving presence. It is compassion that develops acceptance, keeps our hearts warm, and our world peaceful.
It is now spring, which brings to mind new beginnings. With this intention, we have the opportunity to start anew with a project, a relationship, or perhaps a new way of thinking and living. So, side-by-side we find common goals to bind us together and create an air of cooperation, community, and change, which is what Extreme Community Makeover stands for.
~Lisa Baude, Communications Team