We Need to Leave our Comfort Zones
( Before we get started I'd like to put a brief disclaimer that I will be talking about some cheesy quotes and clichés. You have been warned. )
"I'd like to see more people do _______" is one of the most common phrases in our comment section. This itself is not a problem as we should always be striving for more. Many times it's just a way for someone to put forth an idea and nothing more. But there is often a real sentiment behind it that the poster genuinely wishes the community would be more active in a way befitting to them. There was a quote that came to mind when thinking about this problem within the community.
"You must be the change you wish to see in the world." - Mahatma Gandhi
Too often we are content with sitting there saying "I wish..." and "Wouldn't it be cool if..." and there is a time and place for that. You're not realistically going to go out and make yourself win the lottery just because you want it to happen. However we have the power to be the change we want to see within the Heathen community. It's easy to say things need to change but it's another thing to step up and be the one who makes it happen.
It's scary. There's a lot going on out there and most of us have an inherent fear of failure. Especially when that failure may be witnessed by our peers. There's a million inspirational quotes out there. "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take.", "You'll never know if you don't try", and my personal favorite "Shoot for the moon and if you miss you'll land among the stars." I like that last one because landing among the stars only conjures images of a burning, freezing, suffocating death in the heartless vacuum of space.
You can listen to these quotes if you'd like. I'm not going to go Shia LeBouf on you and start pacing back and forth in front of a green screen screaming sound bites like "Do it!" and "Don't let your dreams be dreams!" But behind all of them is one simple truth. What's the worst that can happen if you try?
Well don't take that too literally. You could try and butterfly effect a comet crashing in to the earth and killing us all, but I digress.
There are small things we can all do. Part of what TAC tries to facilitate is the networking of like-minded individuals. Through an online community you can meet heathens you might never have met otherwise. Social media is a wonderful and useful tool for socialization and it's impact shouldn't be underestimated. However social media interaction can only go so far. We have to be willing to make that step in to the real world. This brings me to the next cheesy cliché quote.
"If wishes were horses, beggars would ride." - William Camden
Personal journeys can be very long and strange, taking many interesting or terrifying turns. But, bring on yet another cliché quote, "The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." and cheesy or not it's true. It may seem impossible but if you are reading this right now you have the capability to step up and be someone who helps bring the community together.
It can be hard and you may need to get creative but before any of that you have to take that step and be willing to try. From community members to Admins, Ambassadors, and Board members, we all have taken a step so why not take two or three more? We're all in this together and should be willing to help each other.
If you'd like to meet other locals then skim through comment sections. Look at introduction posts. Don't be afraid to reach out and say hello. No friendship begins in silence. Even if it's only a pitch-in at a public park, you can act to bring the community together.
If you can't find locals online then reach out to your local Ambassador. If there isn't an ambassador in your immediate area then volunteer to become an Ambassador to help connect other Heathens in the area.
If you'd like to see more positive publicity for Heathens then find a local shelter to volunteer at, organize a food drive, gather donations for a charity, help the little old lady across the street, and get the little kid's cat out of a tree.
All of this doesn't only apply to TAC. Become a member of the larger Heathen community and reach out to pagans of other paths to learn and exchange knowledge. Never be afraid to meet new people and learn different ways of thinking. With pages like Witchvox, Meetup, Reddit (Region specific subreddits.), and of course Facebook there has never been a better time to branch out and meet more Heathens.
Of course not everyone has the time and resources to make real-life events happen. If that's the case you can always act as another connection in the network to introduce people and spread the word on local events.
We are all a part of a larger global community. We should all be willing to participate and do our part, no matter how small it may be, to improve the community we share.