Edmonton Tourist: Common Ground

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I have talked before about not-for-profit business. The first one that comes to mind is  Judy Blume’s book store Books & Books. I love the idea of providing goods and services for the community rather than to line the pockets of billionaires…but that’s not what this is about and I don’t want to get into capitalism with you. I heard about a coffee shop in Sherwood Park (east of Edmonton and about a 7-minute drive from my house) that was community-based AND a nonprofit!

Community is a big topic and is something I live daily at work, at home and in my city. I went to Common Ground’s web page to find out more about it because I wasn’t interested in supporting something that was contrary to my values. Values are a big thing for me and I am choosing to spend my money differently. This line stood out for me:

“In getting to know the community through a research project and many conversations, it became clear that what Sherwood Park is really looking for is community and connectedness.”

Aren’t we all? There is a trend happening that is taking place in people’s communities. Less social media and more face to face connections. People use social to connect with people far away who have common interests or for various other reasons but this is creating a disconnect. Humans are social beings and need face to face connections. At least I do. The premise of this coffee shop is connections. There is a community space for meetings or gatherings. It is run by volunteers. There is a kindness board to share a coffee for those who need one and there is a wall of games to help make lasting connections.

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The irony of this visit isn’t lost on me. I reconnected with a friend from my teaching days (it feels like a lifetime ago). She is a regular blog reader and reached out suggesting coffee. I loved that idea and while it took time to get a free spot in my busy summer, we finally settled on a date that worked for both of us. It was wonderful to reconnect, talk about our shared history but also discover new reasons to connect in the future.

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The tables are large, suitable for meeting new people or meeting up with large groups. The treats are delicious and the tea was good (oddly I didn’t have coffee). There are open mic night and music in the evenings. The windows let all the light in and help to create an inviting atmosphere. I only wish this place was walking distance from my home. It’s almost enough for me to consider moving back to Sherwood Park…Almost.

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I hope this place has a long and healthy effect on its community. You will probably see me sitting there visiting with people on occasion – come by and say hi if you do! Support local and support nonprofit! It goes a long way to strengthing healthy communities.

Common Ground: Community. Coffee. Cafe.

150, 161 Festival Way
Sherwood Park, AB

Monday: 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Tuesday-Thursday: 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Friday: 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Saturday: 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Sunday: 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Stat Holidays: Closed

Once it boils down, we are all the same

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I woke up this morning to a barrage of email that kept me quite busy for the better part of an hour. One of those notes was from a long lost cousin of mine who lives south of me. A while back, I wrote about my Grand Uncle and his mother, my beloved Great Grandmother. Since that post, I have been fortunate enough to connect, or reconnect with countless family members from ‘that side’ of the family. Through many conversations and mini reunions, I have learned – or rather reaffirmed – We are all more similar than different.

My distant cousin wrote this:

I am finding myself astounded from many of your posts on your blog.  So many things you have written about, sound so similar to my interests and experiences.

She wrote many other things that compared our lives, but that is her personal journey, mine is written here. Yes we are similar, so you can surmise what she is like. Another distant cousin on Canada’s East Coast also seems very familiar to me. We had never met, but our interests and life experiences have that same raw familiarity of people who have been through war together. Our wars were separate, yet so familiar and a destruction of trust. Both of these women are people I want to spend time with, get to know what they are like in person and not just in print. I can see myself enjoying them as sisters or the very least friends.

When I first began my Edmonton Tourist Journey in 2010, it was because I was unhappy and felt alone. I set out to change things in my life and have new experiences. This quest has introduced to countless people, all who are so incredibly different than myself, yet we all have one thing in common. We are the same. I am not sure if it is where I am in my life that keeps attracting these people to me, or if it is because there is a global inner drive that requires people to keep searching for ‘it’, but I do know we are more the same than different. Maybe I am wrong and you aren’t the same as me, here is my list of 4 things I think we have in common:

  1. We all want to be loved by someone – kissed, hugged or hair ruffled by someone who cares about you. You want to feel that connected energy. If you aren’t feeling it, perhaps you are not recognizing it. It doesn’t always come in the form of a ‘soulmate’ or great romantic love, it could be from your pup Sparky or your grandma. Still, we all need that feeling of belonging to someone.
  2. We all want to feel good and by good I mean healthy  No want wants to walk around feeling like they are tired or sick all the time. The difference between those who want to feel it and those who do feel it is some of us have figured out the secret. It’s not a big secret, it is more of a knowing. Eat less, move more. Simple formula. Eat real food, not chemical filled. You are  natural, healthy and organic. That means your fuel of choice should be the same. Harder than it sounds, but yet so simple. Move your body. We are biped beings. Walk more, sit less. The more you do it, the better you will feel.
  3. We want the best for the people we love. It doesn’t matter if you are a parent, sibling or child. If you love someone, you want the best for them. When you hear happy news, don’t be jealous or envious, smile and bask in their happiness. It becomes contagious.
  4. We all want to understand. The biggest human nature driving force is ‘WHY’. ‘WHY’ is the reason we get up and experience or try things. ‘WHY’ is the reason we strive for more. Learn the answer to WHY to satisfy you curiosity. Read, experience, and listen to learn the answer to WHY. Try all 3 or the learning method that works for you.

Are we the same? I think so.