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Stop Watering the Weeds: The Antidote to Bad News and Disconnect

Did you plant anything this year?  Hopeful that you’ll end up with flowers or vegetables, maybe a tree?

While you’ve gone to all of that planning and effort other things pop up.  Some of these things are easy to pick out and remove, I usually go for those ones first.  Others, like the quack grass (ack – the quack grass!!!) have deep roots and are non-stop trying to take over.

This happens in our community too.

Did you know that our brains are primed for it?  Our brains, for survival reasons, respond infinitely faster to bad news or to danger than they do to good news.  I want to know about a bear really quickly and I don’t want to have to ponder or process what to do about it – my fight or flight needs to be automatic.  The issue with our brain is that it responds just as well to imagined problems as it does to real problems.  It can be easily convinced that things are not good.    Marketers and news people know this.  In order to sell things to you they capitalize on how we are made.  Like a weed this bad news can take root.  Bad news is readily available, it’s easy to consume – it’s the junk food of information and our brains are set to seek it.

Too much bad news, like too much junk food or too many weeds, is not good for us.  After we have seen them (on the news or social media, or that inner critic in our heads) we can water them, feed them by sharing them with each other. “Did you hear that…” “Oh, well this is even worse….”  or on the inside by recalling every bad story or thing that has happened to us. After a while of this we start to shut down.  You can only fight or flight so much and you start to disconnect, emotionally or even physically.  If this hasn’t happened to you then surely you’ve seen it?  People start to be less compassionate, “I don’t care” because they feel like they’ve cared to much, or they just start avoiding interaction because it’s all become ‘too much’.  When we stop connecting – when we uproot – we stop thriving and so does our community.

Are we doomed to this?

Now that I’ve got your attention with this bad news let me offer you an antidote.  Just knowing this is a start.  Knowing that your brain is being intentionally manipulated and controlled allows you to take back control, we can easily over ride the system. Focus is a big part of this.  Many motivational speakers will tell you that what you focus on grows.  We know this about gardens too, you tend to what you want and pull what you don’t want.

So what do we want?

This is a question for you personally, and if we all do the personal work – we will all be the better for it.  The stronger and healthier you are – the stronger and healthier our community is. A couple of weeds to watch out for – “I don’t belong’, “There’s nothing I can do” and “I don’t matter”, these ones are hardy and if we water them they can take a lot of our resources.

On the community level what we want to focus on are great neighbors, on people who are tackling the weeds (food insecurity, poverty, housing and transportation issues, loneliness, crime) together and watering the flowers – connection, beautiful spaces and activities, great workplaces, etc.  We want to provide people, places and activities with everything they need to thrive.  I may have the soil and you may have the water – put us together and we can really grow something! What we know is that we can see the weeds easier from our point of view – letting it be solved by a government or a company alone is not necessarily going to get at the root.  It takes much longer and more money to have someone else solve this for us (and the money that governments have is our money anyway).

The Our High River focus for 2018/19 is highlighting and linking.  Do you have someone or something you’d like to highlight, a great neighbor or a story that makes your heart sing?  Do you have an idea or the time to devote to someone’s idea that will make High River even more alive, more vibrant?

We know that all of the pieces are here, we have so much! Our job now is to link it all together.  This is OUR town, I really like how our counterpart in Olds said it “it’s about a healthy ecosystem, not an ego-system”.  Join us in highlighting the great things about High River in our Social Media, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Use hashtags #OurHighRiver and High River or tag Our High River in your posts.  Send us a blog post – we would LOVE guest bloggers.  Join the Our High River App to sign up to volunteer, or start a collective to work on the weeds!  We are #bettertogether, High River is rooted in people.

Bottom Line (because we all like lists)

  1. Tend to you first – your blossom matters!
  2. When you see a weed and you have the ability to pick it – pick it!  If you need help- reach out (that’s what Our High River is here for!)
  3. Work together to tackle the bigger weeds.
  4. Give everyone room to bloom, the more varied our garden the more vibrant it will be. Please join us in HIGHLIGHTING AND LINKING.
  5. Enjoy the harvest!

featured image from https://www.highrivergardens.org/

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