The Power of Community

image1.jpeg

Hi friends,

Just a few days ago, the Avalon surfing community lost one of its finest, Bob. Bob was an absolute legend and a lover of life! He was affirmative to anything positive that was happening within other peoples lives and he lived true to his own core values, which were the ocean, his family and the community.

Since his passing I have found myself going up to Avalon headland as usual and spending as much time there as possible. I have really noticed this pull that brings us all together. I feel the lift and support of the community. In the past week we have shed so many tears and felt a deep sense of loss, but we have also shared stories, waves, plenty of laughs, and a huge feeling of belonging.

IMG_8473.JPG
IMG_8472.JPG

This time has been one of sadness, but it has also been incredibly heart opening. There is nothing that binds a friendship more than a deeply shared experience, and although our community is grieving, we know that we are all here for each other and the healing that happens through these tears and beautiful hugs is profound.

This has got me thinking about how important it is that we have each other backs in life. In the exciting and awesome times, as well as the crappy times. It is so special to have a group of people, small or large, that you can lean on and share these life experiences with. It is through community that we can learn from each other, inspire each other and grow together.

BOB+-+Home+Frame+2.jpg

I feel that society has a huge need to divide, to focus inward on "what can I gain here", "why do they have more than me?" We strive to be the best and if you're anything less than that, you're not enough. How about simply being "our very best"? I was even reading a few online posts regarding our mate Bob and although it may have been well intended, the urge was to label, to paint a picture that was not a reality. It was driven by our need to divide, "poor homeless Bob". Anyone who truly sat in his presence knew that he didn't feel poor. He chose to live a life prioritising spending his time living, being in the ocean, and sharing time with his friends and family. He knew how important community is and he was the gatekeeper of a very special one.

39900342_10156690504714250_1989728979526877184_n.jpg

The point I am trying to make is that we are all in this dance together. We have a very limited time here, so while we are hanging around being busy in life, let us make the extra effort to do the best we can, because from that comes abundance. There is room for us all to succeed and for everyone to experience joy. So reach out to your community. The isolation that some of us experience is a story that doesn't hold truth. If we show up as ourselves and offer authenticity then we are never alone. There is always a person around to love and be loved by.

We can start by simply being there for someone. Be a beacon of light for someone who needs it. When you ask a person how they are, be ready and open for them to not be okay. Listen to your friends and make sure you tell them that you love them. It is through our actions that we demonstrate this love but it always feel good to hear it.

Written by Nic Laidlaw

Edited by Sammy Callender

Images by Spencer Frost & Guy Williment 

Film by Spencer Frost

Have a story to tell? One Eighty is all about humanising mental health, opening up the conversation and creating a community of story tellers. If you have a story that could help someone else, we'd love to hear from you. Let's get talking and ditch the stigma!

Email: sam@oneeighty.org.au expressing your interest.


Any information on this blog is not a substitute for professional advice. It is written from personal experience and research only. If you are in crisis, go to your nearest emergency room, call lifeline on 13 11 14 or dial 000.

Leanne Westlake