by Johanna O'Connor
There is something magical about chanting "om" in a crowded classroom; the rich tenor of dozens of voices modulating to meet at a certain frequency. There is a tangible power when the voices become one; at least for me, the vibrations of the group center me. Finding my people -- my community -- centers me.
But finding a community is not always easy. Once we are out of school, finding our people gets harder. For me, service has been a way to create that community.
My parents introduced the importance of community service when I was a child. I’d tag along as my parents volunteered at the local homeless shelter or we’d sponsor a family at Christmas. They explained our responsibility to give back to others, which in turn would make us appreciate what we had even more. They also explained that it is okay to get something back from volunteering -- that warm feeling of being part of a group.
As I entered high school, the ulterior motive of college applications led to an uptick in volunteering. Although the desire to bolster my resume got me through the door, I quickly realized I found my people. People that understood the power and responsibility of community. People that realized that giving back also gave you a pretty great feeling. People that realized that volunteering could be fun.
Since then, each time I moved to a new city (three times in the last 10 years), I looked for my people. When I dragged my feet, I felt something missing. I found them at community service organizations and one-off volunteering opportunities. I even found my husband through a massive community service group while in college. But increasingly I also found my people on the mat.
That’s what I find so exciting about Community Matters. I joined All That Matters nearly three years ago as a way to meet people after moving to Providence from New York. I’ve found my people and a unique sense of community with ATM via weekly classes, the 40-day program and weekend workshops. And with the introduction of Community Matters, I’m so excited to see that sense of community grow and deepen.
Community Matters will bring that sensation of becoming one off of the mat. By uniting our yogi community and directing our energy out into our Rhode Island community, there will be a tangible power.
Visit the Community Matters website to learn more about the program.