This is how I met Josie and more.
When I first moved to the Blue Mountains I got inspired to look into the Quakers. A certain spiritual curiosity and searching was my initial spark. Their peace work interested me. They seemed to have quite a community going. Indeed I discovered their work was interesting and the people associated with it. It was a deliberately quiet space. People seemed to be who they were. There was no need to be super competent or outgoing.
Over a cup of coffee one day after meeting I met Jasmyn who was getting her garden going. I said I wanted to get a garden going but was unsure. She said ‘you have to contact Josie. She has helped me so much with my garden.’ I left it a bit….one day I rang Josie. Sure enough Josie ran a business where she gardened alongside people. She didn’t just come and do the work and leave. Together we created a vision and then she was there beside me helping it come to life!
Josie knows lots of people. I invited her to my birthday and other things too. Recently she invited us to Katie’s house. Katie runs another business buying local produce direct and then making group meals, like a pop-up restaurant in her own home. The room was full of wonderful people, eating wonderful food including another Canadian Australian couple like us. I solidified my desire to keep my garden going. I’ve tried to think of people I know who would be interested and invite them along too.
This story is not at all extraordinary. But it is illustrative of the natural ways that we make new connections. It starts from mutual interest and it branches from there. It can happen in person or in cyber-space. I have many online connections I am yet to meet. Many of us are perhaps lucky enough not to even really think about it – it just happens.
These are the kinds of pathways and connections that make a difference in everyone’s lives. The means can differ, but I believe everyone wants to connect. They might not articulate it consciously or verbally, but people articulate it through their health, their body, their actions, their energy. The way connection happens is individual and there is not some check-list of success to aspire to.
Self-directed funding, self-directed supports like the National Disability Insurance Scheme afford us the opportunity to invest in the things that matter, rather than building more of the same. We can absolutely use resources to create opportunities and pathways with people, develop fertile ground, and undertake nuanced, supportive work alongside people in finding and building their tribe.