WE KNEAD JOY!
WE KNEAD A HEART!
Despite what we see, hear, feel, and perceive from the person next to us, we can never actually see what truly lies in the other’s heart. This is the cause for much misunderstanding and conflict, problems at the workplace and at home, as well as in our communities, cities, countries, and the world. Thus, the root from which we should start eradicating is mistrust and miscommunication.
How? By materializing the feelings and thoughts of our hearts.
What would be the best medium? Poems or paintings, dance or music, clay or wax? All of them provide good visual representation, but one medium can also provide the crucially impacting aroma and taste representation of emotion: hot bread!
When we knead dough in our community activities, we knead our heart as if dough in order to bring it to the perfect consistency that is ready to be baked, broken, and shared with others. Not too sticky but not too dry, not too soft but not too hard, the dough should be the perfect consistency – just like the heart which is open and ready to love: and, ultimately we all know, to love is to give and to live.
The key to the amazing expansion and success of the Bread Houses Network is due to the ultimate simplicity of our vision: it is a means for personal transformation and community building where you do not need anything else but flour, water, and hands! And as is the case with most great ideas, the whole network came about from simple changes to a familiar local practice and symbol – like bread – and turned into a catalyzer for cooperation and problem solving to ultimately build a sense of community in highly-mixed, inter-ethnic neighborhoods around the world.
More aspects of bread to be explored in your local environment and tradition:
- Bread is universally present and loved around the world (even rice and corn-based cultures have rice and corn breads), consumed by people of all economic statuses, ages, genders, ethnicities, religions, educational backgrounds, etc: Therefore, bread is a universal experience and a universal language to unite and educate.
- Bread can be made by anyone, from child to grandparent, and is at the same time an entertaining cooking activity.
- When people share food, they are very much likely to establish peace and cooperation.
- Creating, not passively consuming, bread and art inspires the confidence that there are creative solutions to any problem, and that problems are not as grave as imagined.
- Tactile and taste experiences (bread-making stimulates all five senses!) develop particular parts of the brain, as studied by psychologists, which makes one perceive the world differently and ask deeper, critical questions: “Where does food come from and why? How do I treat my body, and what other food – intellectual and spiritual – do I need for a meaningful life?”
FACTORS IN SUSTAINED COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT
More tips for continuity in community programs and local voluntary engagement
- Shifting the time-bound project thinking: make the “Project” to “Program” Shift
- Shifting the money-based project limitations: Assess your local assets, not problems, as a proven “asset-based development approach” in positive psychology
- Shifting the place-less (home-less) project activities: Strive to connect action to place (ex: regular activities at a community cultural center), creating meaning and belonging to a place through locally-rooted programs
- Shifting the “outcome-based” emphasis in project thinking to a sensitivity to the process of how social relations evolve toward shared goals and internal transformations, thus a kind of non-monetary “income-based” emphasis