I live in a small and old neighbourhood just outside one of the many cities in Australia. Having lived there for over 10 years I have noticed families come and go, with employment issues and downsizing of family units. What has been interesting to note in the last few months has been the selling and buying of a number of houses near me, and in recent weeks the home next door and one across the road.
The same real estate agent was organised to sell both homes and dropped past my front yard one day while I was gardening, asking if I could give her a short summary of the neighbourhood, as she was setting up a profile for potential clients moving into the area.
At first I was surprised to hear this question coming from a real estate agent as I had this instant crazy belief that all ‘real estate agents were out to make money’ and were not interested in supporting anyone to get the best location and price for a new home. It was interesting to note how I could feel my body move in protection and my head move straight into setting up a facts profile of what to share about my neighbours:
- Old married couple across the road
- Gay couple in the house adjacent
- Mother and disabled daughter next door
- Single gay woman with overseas students homestay two houses down
- Young couple with a newborn on the corner block.
Even though this was a factual account, there was nothing that had dropped into my head that was truly sharing what a great community I live in.
I knew at that moment that what had played out was the instant load of ideals and beliefs that are constantly on standby waiting for us to take or leave about the world and how we see each other.
It made me realise the ways in which we project towards each other and assume another to be without stopping to feel what is the intent of each person’s words, including our own.
Do we speak to heal or harm?
Many times, the judgement that comes with ideals and beliefs often clouds both people from sharing what is on offer to appreciate about the exchange and see what can be offered to everyone in the long run.
I knew that none of these thoughts were true as the movements in my body said it all and stopped me from sharing the realness we share as a community together.
The ideals and beliefs were blinding me from hearing that this real estate agent was genuine in asking about the place – and what better way than to ask those who live here? What I did choose to give in return was a snapshot of the diverse backgrounds of each and every home, and what each person brings:
- The old married couple who bring in my garbage bins from the kerb each week and always stop for a chat, come rain or shine.
- The deeply loving gay couple who regularly open up their home for us all to enjoy their built-in pool, all year round.
- The mother and disabled daughter who offer support with recycling projects in the neighbourhood and gladly offer to mind pets when families go away on holidays.
- The single gay woman who has a heart of gold and offers her home to many students and people new to the country with affordable accommodation close to the city.
- The tender and loving father of the newborn child next door who often asks for gardening advice and is a whiz at supporting with ‘handyman jobs’ around the house.
- His wife, a beautiful woman who constantly reflects the importance of staying steady and honouring herself as she spends time nurturing her newborn.
This is my neighbourhood. A place where there is no perfection but a community of people who are all playing their part to support one another, and in doing so have broken down the beliefs and ideals I have held about people in general and how a community should be. This group of men, women and children who live in my street bring such a sense of community and family that it has deepened my understanding of the importance of being part of a community and what we can all offer each other when we make life about supporting one another, deepening our relationships and opening our hearts.