Last week I shared about collective energy. I got to look at that again this week in the genre of the community that we live in. I was picking up supplies for the mala making workshop next weekend on Queen West where our studio used to be. I stopped in at Gandhi Roti for lunch and there was no line. At first I thought I got lucky and just timed my visit perfectly. They were always so busy.
Then in a conversation with the owner, he said that it is the change of times. Between the giant box stores and a trend of food delivery they can not compete. Although the end user pays the delivery, the businesses also pay to be part of the roster. He will not compromise the value he put into his food to cut corners or have to raise the prices enough to make delivery work.
Gandhi used to run a regular campaign to feed the poor. This is a kind of business that makes you feel connected to and proud of your community. On any regular day you’d enter and feel like a part of this busy nucleus, the cherished customer, the sweaty smiley faces over the hot grills, the pride in the faces that hand you your order.
I’m using Gandhi as an example of the independent business, the ma and pa shop or creative endeavours that bring colour and value to our lives. You know them. We need to support these people and places that bring inner warmth and value. The places that make you feel grateful for the present moment.
These small endeavours that give us a simple sense of quality of life and connection to community are disappearing. Cities and towns all over the globe are filled with empty stores that can’t keep their dream alive because we are shopping online and having things delivered to our door from the other side of the world. As sweet as the convenience to shop the world and have it appear on your doorstep with little effort, we have to also nurture our community.
Everywhere people seem to be more isolated and more under pressure. The urban norm is to be looking down into a device and rarely looking forward and engaging. The essence of community is strained and disappearing. Who supports us? Who has our back? Who really cares? The corporations with the giant box stores that have priced everybody out of business? Somehow I don’t think so.
Lets enjoy acknowledging and supporting one another and the little businesses around us. This is the essence of community that leaves a sense of joy and good will. And I promise that it won’t just be the ones we support that will benefit.