Bloom where you’re planted

We live on almost 10 acres of gorgeous land. We let more than nine of those acres grow wild, ceding control to Mother Nature.

This poor little guy pictured  lost the soil lottery. When he finally pushed up thorough the Earth, he found himself in our driveway. Not to be daunted, he persevered.

He could have given up. He could have pulled his plant hair and gnashed his plant teeth, screaming at the unfairness of it all. Instead, he decided to bloom where he was planted.

Last week, I was blessed to be a part of the Public innovators Lab, a workshop offered by the non-profit Harwood Institute for Public Innovation and underwritten by The Greater Clark Foundation.

More than 90 residents of Clark County came together to learn how to build a stronger, more vibrant community. This group included men, women, Caucasians, African-Americans, Baby Boomers, Gen-Xers, Millennials, small business owners, people who work for non-profits, ministers, teachers, health care providers, politicians, fireman, artists, gardeners, city planners, musicians, real estate agents, Democrats, Republicans and one barista.

We spent three days clarifying our community values and envisioning a future aligned with those values.

We know there are hurdles to a stronger community. A large part of the workshop focused on truly seeing where our community is at this time, as opposed to where we want it to be.

I am an Olympic-level optimist and have a tendency to see situations as sunnier than they might actually be. In listening to the stories of those around me, I have come to understand our community issues on a deeper level.

Winchester has its share of poverty, homelessness, drug abuse and crime. We have issues with race and gender equality. A political divide exists. There is a sense that the “good old boys” network is the only group with a voice. A pervading sense of hopelessness that things will ever improve is evident.

These problems are real, and tackling real problems is hard. But hard isn’t the same thing as impossible.

We have a lot of resilient folks around here, people who, like that badass little plant, can see past the problems to also see possibility and opportunity.

To bloom where you are planted means taking advantage of what you have right now. It means cultivating a mentality that appreciates the present, strives to improve our conditions and accepts changes and setbacks as they arise. It means donning an imaginary cape and becoming the hero this community needs.

What I saw this past week was taxpayers who love their home and are willing to set aside their personal agendas to further the conditions for positive change.

I was awed by the outpouring of civic pride I witnessed, humbled by the willingness of so many citizens eager to roll up their sleeves, turn outward and make intentional choices towards progressive transformation — Clark Countians who want to live intentionally and not simply out of habit; Neighbors and friends empowered and excited to empower others.

It will ultimately take every citizen’s involvement to make Winchester a better and stronger place — a place we don’t long to leave, but rather a place where we can bloom. 

As Maya Angelou reminds us, “If you don’t like something, change it. And if you can’t change it, change your attitude about it.” It starts here, now, and with all of us.

Erin Smith is the owner of the OM place in Winchester, the author of “Sensible Wellness for Women” and the online host of a yoga and mindfulness channel for Eppic Films. She wants everyone to make friends with meditation, eat real food, move their bodies and hit the pillow a little earlier. When she’s not standing on her head, she enjoys being a wife, mother, dancer, reader, flower sniffer, guitar player and wine drinker. Send her a shout out at erin@theOMplace.net or play along at www.theOMplaceChannel.com

About Whitney Leggett

Whitney Leggett is managing editor of The Winchester Sun and Winchester Living magazine. To contact her, email whitney.leggett@winchestersun.com or call 859-759-0049.

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