The Good Neighbor Policy

The Good Neighbor Policy

Humans need other humans – it’s not written in stone, but I just know this.

I don’t think there’s a formula prescribing the same amount of human contact for each person, but I think little to none is not healthy. I know this in theory, and I know this first hand.

I didn’t always think this way, there was a time in my life when I believed I could live with or without it; kinda like, don’t let the door hit you on the way out! Considering I was raised in a community where interaction and social events occurred on a regular basis, this is hard to believe.

A group of us would organize potlucks where we would go to one house for salads, another for the main course, and yet another for dessert and playing games. It was so much fun, and brought families together.

I began appreciating more about these potlucks as time went on, like the fact we were actually invited into the homes of other people. When I see No Trespassing signs, or Private Property … Beware of Dog, etc., my heart sinks. Times have changed, and people have become increasingly more afraid of human contact.

As I said, later in life I became one of many who “cherish” their privacy, and had atrophied the essential skills necessary to build and maintain neighborly relationships. Sure, over the years I had gotten to know my neighbors, but it had more to do with my speed dating style of acquainting myself with people. I disclose fast, ask deep questions, and find where I relate, all in a 2.2 speed fashion.

Come knock on my door, uninvited, when I’m in the middle of something important, and I would be mumbling under my breath, all the way to answering the door, how rude you are.

The danger of this way of being in community, as apposed to how I grew up, is that it becomes all too easy to live under the radar, and not have personal issues noticed until it’s too late. Crying out for help becomes excruciatingly difficult when true connection with others has not been made.

One of the silver linings to plummeting into the depths of an emotional abyss, granted you survive, is the opportunity to make yourself anew from the blank psychic canvas you’re left with after such a plummet.

As you might have concluded, I had such a plummet; it happened about nine years ago. At some level I had been aware that my disconnect from community was an indication of a psychic demise; little did I know my reconnect would facilitate its ascent.

While I may have returned to an open-door policy, and practice good neighbor principles, I find it necessary to continue checking to see if I have placed energetic private property, or do not trespass signs up.

Being connected with neighbors is emotionally and spiritually edifying, the paradox is that we need some semblance of balance in order to initiate or be in relation to others to begin with, so I maintain emotional and spiritual practices to keep myself fit – as an obligation to my neighbors, and a gift to myself.

Today, I knock on the doors of my neighbors, and I answer the door when they call. I don’t always know of what use I can be, but I always make myself available. Next on my agenda is the planning of a neighborhood potluck.


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