We've been reflecting quite a bit as we endeavor to develop this communications platform centered on our Synchronicity Network Newsletter. Our mission, as currently understood, is this:
"The mission of Synchronicity Planning & Communications is to serve and celebrate folks who care for art, science and the common good, improving the quantity and quality of community engagement on Long Island via a networking and communications platform centered on the Synchronicity Network and its Flagship Newsletter."
Digging deeper, we ask ourselves WHY? For her part, Katie has offered the following:
One day, I realized that the only way to be 100% sure there's at least one person really trying to be good -- best I can humbly figure how -- is to do so myself. Not to knock circumstantial evidence, we just can't “see” intent. We can only come close to knowing our own. I also realized – noting how strangers impact my own day, how people influence people who influence people who influence me, and how we can see how some influence the course of generations and more -- that everything we do and possibly even think has impact far beyond what we might suspect. Everything matters. So, I decided that if I loved anything – and I love much -- the moral thing to do was to commit myself to endeavor as best I could to serve the greater good.
I soon found that as long as I'm giving it my best -- which best included, I found, seeking out others who inform and inspire me -- it not only reinforces my faith that others are, too, but also seems to attract good people. I don't know whether it's something about "The Universe" minding our intentions or the more mundane magic that happens when we simply know what we are looking for and set out to find it....but I can testify that I have had more than one answered prayer tap me on the shoulder and invite me in.
I found that proceeding this way also seems to bring out the best in others, even in those who clearly aren't trying elsewhere. Not enough, perhaps - one must learn to artfully walk the line between being good and being a fool’s tool -- but the impact seems significant and makes the endeavor all the more worthwhile.
I also realized that no matter how hard I try I cannot avoid mistakes, weakness, and frustration. One can keep improving, but perfection is not a human trait I've noted. As I persist as honestly and earnestly as I can, however, I find that the tough love of experience does breed patience, compassion and, curiously, hope. It also reinforces the value of humility, withholding judgment and endeavoring instead to discern where others may be coming from, and the value of positively reinforcing those who seem to be endeavoring to become something better.
Especially when I factor in my deep gratitude for those who help me find the light when I feel lost or unworthy; Especially when I realize that folks who may not align with my preconceived notion of "good" may have a lot to teach me. Especially when I marvel at the exquisite beauty that is, and how much good has been done -- against all odds it seems, sometimes; Especially when I think of how breeding such faith and effort and improving the success rate in only a few more could have exponential ramifications..
The opposite is sadly true, too. Maybe even more so. Nastiness and apathy sure are contagious. Seeing that makes me feel all the more compelled to try and be a countering force for good. I may make errors, but to fail to try seems to annihilate my right to hope at best, an act of evil at worst.
So here I am – For the sake of all worth living for, all the good that might be, and in deep gratitude to those who have granted me so much: I endeavor. No matter what else happens, there’s comfort in knowing for sure at least one person is, especially when it brings one close to others who support that faith. At the very least, it seems much better than the alternative,
It gives purpose, meaning and hope.
Trudy may offer her own ideas at some point, but for now that sounds close enough for her. As such, the Synchronicity Networking and Communications Platform offers Love & Truth in Equal Measure, driven by the realization that we have to be what we want to see in the world, and faith that if we endeavor in this vein, people – and maybe even more -- will join us. We offer compassion, forgiveness, humility, and thoughtfulness, and the reflection that this seems to be a fairly fulfilling way to leads one's life. We don't claim to know much of anything and promise even less, but we're more than happy to offer our best and invite you to do the same.
A Humble Proposal: Open Your Heart & Mind, Get Involved Locally, Be a Trustworthy Force for Collaborative Solutions.
By Eric Alexander. This editorial first appeared in the Long Island Business News, a great newspaper, a broader resource, and a recognizer of bright lights that Long Island is fortunate to have, Its title there was "Alexander: Warding off Polarization with Community Engagement." We are grateful that Eric has agreed to let us share his message here, too.
Each day in our news cycle we are fed a menu of conflict and polarization. One poll showed that 75 percent believe our nation is headed into a civil war with no end in sight. Trust of all things big, government, business, media, is at an all-time low. As we brace for the 2020 presidential elections these divides are poised to continue.
While that sounds bleak we don’t have to be part of it. We have a choice to communicate and collaborate with our neighbors.
On Long Island, despite the hand wringing and negativity that is publicized about our region incessantly, we actually know how to work together on the local level.
Main Streets are managed by local mayors, town officials, chamber and civic leaders where folks come together regularly on a range of plans and decisions. Public interest groups lobby together in Albany and Washington to get our fair share of resources. Most importantly Long Islanders of all cultures and backgrounds celebrate together at events in our downtowns that have tripled over the last decade.
This work of collaboration was the theme for the 1200 community, business and government leaders at this year’s LI Smart Growth Summit.
Downtown, transit oriented and affordable housing plans and projects have been approved in Westbury, Baldwin, Smithtown, North Bellport, Amityville, Riverhead, Island Park, Port Jeff Station and Bayshore among other places.
Infrastructure projects for water and sewers are being built along with billions in transit investments. An unprecedented $50 million for pedestrian improvements, legislation and funding to better protect water quality, affordable housing and downtown investment were also passed in Albany.
These accomplishments were all achieved by folks working together in a bipartisan fashion from the local level on up.
There is also an alternate universe of elitism, extremism and social media. Like an episode of Stranger Things, this upside down world exists where we sometimes forget our abilities to communicate, listen, reason, and collaborate on decisions facing our community. This upside down world is a threat to the things that real people want.
Some of them are basic quality of life needs involving local governance like public safety, security and good schools. Despite a good economy, folks are struggling with the cost of everything including housing and the need for higher paying jobs.
Residents want to see their downtowns redeveloped, safe, clean water and funding for sewers. Investments in transportation infrastructure like rail, bus service and walkable streets are desired. No one wants to tolerate discrimination in housing or really anything. Lastly folks want and have a voice in our local town and village governments who largely keeps these issues well managed.
We can choose to lower the volume from the elitists, extremists and strange behavior on social media and lock arms to collaborate and improve our communities.
For our region the results of the LI Smart Growth Summit and the work of the LI Lobby Coalition and LI Main Street Alliance help to develop a policy agenda in Albany and Washington.
For our local downtowns the neighbors themselves make those decisions.
If you live and work in a community, join a civic or a chamber and get engaged in its growth and preservation.
On a personal level here are a few things we can do to build up trust with each other:
1) Care about people and local communities and have your heart in what you do. Work also on lessening narcissism, greed, power, materialism essentially all the values that make people insufferable and miserable to be around.
2) Get your priorities in order first the mission, then your business/organization/government and lastly yourself. Too often we have these radically reversed.
3) Build trust through meaningful work that helps people. Limit exposure to social media and communicate directly with real people in real places.
4) Keep a positive attitude. There is a lot of bad news in a polarized society that, combined with endless sets of needs real folks have, can make you ineffective. Hug your kid, spouse/partner, mom, dad and friends along the way.
5) Put yourself in other people’s shoes and stay humble. We are blessed to serve and support each other.
Eric Alexander is Director of Vision Long Island and the LI Main Street Alliance. We are honored to count Vision Long Island as a sponsor of the Synchronicity Network Newsletter.