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The inspiring motivation of community engagement

I'm filled to the brim with inspiration this afternoon after a delightful chat over coffee with my friend Cain at a cool little coffee shop in downtown San Jose called Social Policy (part of the Bellano "family of coffee lovers"). (If you live in SJ, you may have seen Cain cranking down the street on his red cargo bike hauling huge boxes of awesome stuff for Cowgirl Bike Courier!) We discussed an upcoming bike/art event he is planning, a bike-to-farms ride that I'm planning, San Jose bicycle news and issues, Viva Calle SJ promotion, and more. Last evening, I also connected with friends at my house to plan our bike-to-farms ride. We had a potluck feast of homemade, vegetarian yumminess, and then we identified next steps for turning our vision into a reality. And the night before last, I attended a bike coalition meeting where I saw plans for putting bidirectional contraflow lanes around the SJSU campus and heard the good news that the Willow Glen Road Diet has overall met its intended goals and will hopefully remain permanent. It's been a fun few days of seeing awesome people and working toward exciting projects in the San Jose community.

This morning, Cain remarked about how great it is to find other people in the community who care and are doing cool work, and I could not agree more. I don't know about you, but it can be easy for me to get stuck in a routine of working, eating, sleeping, and watching Netflix when I'm not connected with the inspiring work going on around me. Meeting people doing that work and finding meaningful ways to get involved is one of my favorite activities, and I've found that once I find the motivation to follow through with one project, I end up connecting with many other projects until eventually I'm doing meaningful work in my community on a regular basis. This happened in Santa Cruz for me after getting involved with the bicycle community there, and I can feel it starting to happen here in San Jose. Finally!

I find it motivating and exciting to be connecting with people like Cain in San Jose who are creating spaces for people to connect, have fun, ride bikes, celebrate creativity, and support tangible change for the betterment of the community.

After our coffee meeting, I asked Cain if there were any good parks nearby for reading. He pointed me in the direction of William Street Park, and on the way I biked around the San Jose State campus since I hadn't ever done that before and I'm considering applying to graduate school there. My parents also both attended SJSU (my dad for undergrad and his Masters degree, and my mom for her Masters degree) and my mom even worked there. It's silly to me that I'd never wandered around the campus before! The campus was very cool and William Street Park was delightful. I am grateful to now know about this little gem of greenery near downtown San Jose. Thanks, Cain!

 The quality of my phone camera is less than ideal, but this is one of the beautiful trees in William Street Park in San Jose.

As I sat at the park under the shade of a tree, I wrote a little bit. Here's a somewhat edited version of something I jotted down in my notebook:

When you follow a thread in your life, it often reveals a larger woven cloth connected to other people, history, and subjects. It is the concept that Muir referred to when he said, "When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe." What parts of the fabric of life are you picking out and tugging on, attuned to and engaged with? What are those threads connected to, and which threads have you avoided, thinking they weren't part of your cloth? Keep tugging and picking out new things to find where they lead, and don't worry about unraveling the cloth. The more we tug and pick and find the connections we didn't know existed before, we help to weave a stronger and more connected fabric of life.

Certainly I'll share more about all of the exciting projects I mentioned above once more details are ironed out and ready to share. If you're interested in getting involved with this kind of inspiring and fun work in San Jose, send me an email:

Thanks for reading!
Green Gal


  1. Thank you for this inspirational post about the value and importance of being involved in one's community. When I was fresh out of college from San Jose State, I was mostly working on building my career and enjoying evenings and weekends running long distances with my group of runner friends. It wasn't until I moved to Pleasanton that I started to get involved with community activities. I started by being a founding member of a new Rotary club, and from there I got involved in many groups and initiatives, sometimes too many! I love the fact that you are finding parks and places around SJSU, places I probably would recognize from my years in college. Thanks again for posting!

  2. Thanks for sharing your journal excerpt! I enjoy reading your posts, especially ones like these - it sounds like you are involved in some really cool stuff in SJ! :)


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