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Creating Cowichan connections
Debbie Smith had a moment of epiphany while visiting Myanmar four years ago, one that Cowichan residents are benefitting from.
“I was staying in a small farming village. I watched the people work together, eat together, go back to work, then at night they got together again. Old people helped young, and young helped the old. I thought these people live in poverty but they are not poor. They are rich in spirit.”
It was this connection and dependence on each other that resonated with Smith. She saw the same thing while visiting Peru: she couldn’t speak the language but felt like she belonged in the village she was visiting. She believed this was something North Americans were searching for and decided to do something about it.
Smith asked herself how we can create some of that calm and peace in our own culture.
“In developing countries people get together and enjoy each other’s company. We’re so busy and we don’t take the time to slow down and connect. I wanted to create a place where people can connect with other people. Where can you go to meet new people?”
To facilitate connections in her community, Smith has created the Cowichan Connectors group for people of all ages, no special skills necessary. The purpose of the group is to gather people for a shared activity. So far the group has had a cooking class, a scavenger hunt. Upcoming events include learning how to knit and bowling.
“When we meet new people, we look for what is great about the person. You can come and feel valued just for who you are. You don’t have to be do or have anything; you just have to be who you are. It’s all about having fun. There are no expectations. I’m the gutter ball queen of bowling but I’ll bowl because, heck, I can laugh at myself.”
Smith hopes the group gives people an opportunity to take time for themselves, something she believes is important for a healthy body, mind and spirit.
“People are looking for three things: to be loved, to feel worthy, and to feel valued. We think we have to be busy every minute of the day to feel value. You get so many people becoming stressed from taking on so many roles. I look at them and see the health costs of living on adrenaline. At some point you need to stop and take some time for yourself.”
Smith encourages people to join the group so they can benefit from some down time and rejuvenate for their daily routine.
“When you connect slow down, there’s a peace that comes within you. When you get that calmness, you’ve got the energy and focus to do the extra things you have to do.”
Go to meetup.com/The-Cowichan-Connectors to join the group and learn about past and upcoming events.