What is it about these get-togethers?

I have just returned from a weekend
community retreat to a beautiful
kibbutz. It was an interesting,
enriching and very enjoyable experience.

The kids could run wild, we had time
to rest, do some yoga and even read a
book; we ate well and were in good
company. Even the weather was perfect!
There were some wonderful highlights
that really made me think about the how
much we learn from the most ordinary
events and often in the most unexpected
of places.

My son who is about to turn six next
week decided to join the talent
competition, the youngest child to take
part. Usually he?s shy but he decided
that he really wanted to tell a story.
The apple, it seems, does not fall far
from the tree! He was so excited to
take part that he kept leaning over to
me to ask when it would be his turn.

When finally his turn arrived he was got all shy and didn?t want to go to the
stage. He insisted that we stood up
together and with some prompting he
started to tell his story. It was a
story I had told him a hundred times, a
story he loves. When he got to the bit
about the monsters, he described them
with great energy and enthusiasm and his audience was delighted! The judges said that firstly he was very sweet but that they also loved his story!

Just this would have been enough for
Kai, and then they announced that he had won the competition. He couldn?t believe it. He jumped up to his feet and took center stage and to see his face, the expression of utter disbelief
and absolute joy!

The power of acknowledgement is amazing!
Just to know that someone else can see
you (especially if it?s the older kids)
can make all the difference. I thought
to myself how easy it is to make someone feel special, just listen to them and acknowledge that what they do is really great! How often do we forget to tell someone that we like who they are and
what they do. How often are we too
busy to actually tell them how great
they are!

The kibbutz that hosted us is struggling
to revive its own community. They have
a complicated history and face an
enormous challenge to simply survive as
a community where they are. When we
talked about what it takes to build a
community; we talked of a few elements.

Firstly, we mentioned a shared
environment, the physical space that the community occupies. Then someone suggested that it must involve shared values and a shared aim or ideal.
Finally, it was proposed that the most
important element that is needed to
create a successful community is ?Heart

Heart wisdom is the ability to nurture,
give, be gracious and have gratitude;
heart wisdom is the spirit of a
community that holds together in
difficult times and celebrates together
in times of joy. Heart wisdom is the
warmth of home and the open door that
allows you come and go freely. Heart
wisdom is truly the spirit not just of
community but of fulfillment and joy.

As the weekend drew to a close we held
the traditional closing ceremony; with a candle, a glass of wine, some spices and a beautiful song. The candle signifies the light which is the spirit of the Sabbath. It is also the light that exists inside each and every one of us, a light that we hold in our hearts and
connects us to each other.

Kai got to hold the candle, he was given the honor,no not because of his success in the talent show, but because it is
his birthday this week. Once again we saw
the brightness of the candle reflected
in the openness and joy in his little
face and he was given such a special

We stood in a large circle, each person
aware of the spark of the warmth and
closeness that they were holding inside
of them, the very thing that we had
created in our community for this
weekend. We sang together, said the
blessings together and parted ways with
a smile on our faces and the warmth in
our hearts.

And so my heart wise wish for you this
week is that you reach out and find your own community; that in some special way you reconnect; that you nurture your community of family, friends and loved ones.

And be aware of that special
spark of warmth, closeness and support
that is right there for you. You just
need to reach out and touch it.

Have a wonderful week!

Best wishes and best stories



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