Thanks Giving Thoughts

Today is Thanksgiving Day in Canada, a day for reflection and a day for celebration for all the gifts we have received.

In today’s times of worry, fear and in some places – anger, it is good for the soul to take a moment and look at the other side of the coin.

Personally, I am grateful for the opportunity I have had to make a difference in our world through the Happy Community Project. At last count, we have been able to affect the lives of 30,000 people and probably more for there is always a multiplier effect. I am grateful for the hundreds of individuals who have stepped forward and contributed to the wellbeing and resiliency of their communities. I am grateful for the dozens of peoples who have provided the background support that has made this possible. And I am grateful for the people who are stepping forward today to help us get even better at making … Read the rest

Covid, Community and Education

Covid has disrupted most things in our lives including how we look at education. Most people will agree that an important part of education is sharing the personal relationships with peers, no matter what level of education we are experiencing. This is true from day care through public school to university and into adult education. We learn as much or more from our peers as we do from the instructor at the front, and in the process, develop strong supportive personal bonds with peers.

This of course has been disrupted as we struggle to find the balance between physical distancing and social interaction.

Perhaps this provides us with the opportunity to find new ways of thinking about education. There is an old saying that it takes a community to raise a child. In modern times, we have mostly forgotten about this as we have delegated so many responsibilities to government and private organizations and we have isolated ourselves from the … Read the rest

A Tale of Two Communities

Once upon a time there were two communities; Happyville and Sadville.  The two towns were exactly alike except for one big difference. They both had the same number of people, the same kinds of houses  and were next to each other on the same road. They both had mayors that were genuinely concerned for the welfare of their communities. But for some reason Happyville seemed to be a dynamic and thriving place to live while Sadville, well it was sad.

In Happyville, the parks and playgrounds were always busy while in Sadville, people seemed to stay in their homes. Although they both had parks beautiful flowers and playgrounds, in Sadville the parks felt dreary. The good folks of Sadville looked at Happyville just down the road with envy where it seemed like there were always new businesses opening up. They just couldn’t understand why they seemed to be so lucky over in Happyville.

The good folks of Sadville  talked about … Read the rest

Skin in the Game

I have been reading the book Skin in the Game written by Nassim Taleb, the author of the Black Swan. This researcher and thought leader talks about how systems blow up and self destruct when the systems are managed by people with no skin in the game. A recent example is the 2008 collapse of the banking system which was only salvaged by us tax payers while the managers made and retained huge profits. We paid the consequences while those managers with no skin in the game reaped the benefits.

This idea of ‘skin in the game’ got me thinking. When it comes to the wellbeing of our communities and our earth, we all have skin in the game. If our earth is unable to sustain us, the consequences to each of us are tremendous. Similarly, if our communities lose their capacity for their basic purpose of providing social connections, belonging and mutual support, we all loose – … Read the rest

The Wisdom of my Granddaughter

My Granddaughter, Abby, is visiting from Toronto. After spending 2 weeks in quarantine, we went out for an icecream.

Here is what she told me.

While in quarantine, neighbours would stop and talk to her from the sidewalk while she stayed on the front porch. While we were out for ice cream, we sat down at a picnic table where a big burly man was having his lunch. He picked up a conversation starting off with the weather and moving into the Covid crisis in the USA.

Afterwards Abby shared these thoughts. “Do strangers always talk with each other here, it rarely happens in Toronto.” I asked her whether she thought this was good and she replied “I like it that people talk with me – it feels good.”

There is lots of speculation as to how the world will be when we come out of Covid 19 Pandemic. No one really knows how it will be, but the general … Read the rest

Meet Our Team

While we have been working our way through Covid 19, we have also been building a great team. Meet our team: Together we are committed to fulfilling our dream and vision:

Our Big Dream:

What would our world be like if every person on earth had the connectedness, belonging and caring support from the people who live nearby, the support that includes the full diversity of their community?

That is our Big Dream.

Our Vision:

We and our children experience a better future where a global network of people transform the social connectedness of our world one neighborhood at a time. And it is happening now.  Read the rest

Let the Love In

Covid 19 in many ways has brought us closer together and brought out a new awareness of what could be. I have been wondering how we can perpetuate this into our future?

Our language matters, the metaphors we use to capture our ideas of the world has a huge impact on our behavior and affects our lives immensely. Take the phrase ‘social distancing’. The intentions are good, to minimize contact with the Covid 19 virus, but the effect is terrible. 50% of Canadians have reported a decrease in mental wellbeing because of social distancing. Walking through the grocery store is an experience in awkwardness with the other people in the store. Domestic and substance abuse has increased. Social distancing is not the answer.

We need the exact opposite of social distancing in times of crisis. We need social connecting. It’s what makes us feel OK, safe and belonging. we need to let the love in.

And yet we do need … Read the rest

An Opportunity for Better

Where is COVID 19 Taking Us? 

There is lots of speculation as to how the world will be when we come out of the COVID-19 Pandemic. No one really knows how it will be, but the general consensus is it won’t be the same. 

We have been learning lots of lessons because of the pandemic, the chief one being how vulnerable we are when we lose the social support of our community. We are relearning that community is central to our very existence and our sense of humanity. 

For decades now, our world has been on a grand social experiment. In this experiment, we have been told that all that matters is wealth as measured by GDP and we are responsible for our own personal and independent happiness. That if we increase our wealth, we will have greater independence, wellbeing and happiness. We now know that our wellbeing and happiness is interdependent on our relationship to community and our Read the rest

Reach Out Today

We are stronger together – don’t let Covid separate us – call someone today

This is a sad day in Nova Scotia, we are grieving. People need to hear from you. Reach out and share comfort with family, a friend, someone who you have been meaning to call or someone who is alone.… Read the rest

May your day be filled with many smiles

We used to say “Are you busy?” Now we say “Are you well?” I think this is going in a good direction.

We used to say “cheers” as way of saying “Farewell or goodbye”. Now we say “Be safe”

I hope when this pandemic has passed, we will take these greetings one step further.
I hope we say : ”Are you happy?” when we greet people
And I hope we say : “May you have many smiles” when we mean, goodbye.

Many smiles to all of you
Barry… Read the rest