What Do Zen, Cooking, and Neighborliness Have To Do With Each Other?

By
Real Estate Agent with Howard Hanna Cleveland City Office

Have you ever read a book that stays under your skin and makes you think about it as well as ideas that seem to spawn in your mind because of it?

Are you tired of negativity in your city and among your neighbors? Do you feel like you live in a community without the actual community cohesiveness that would be nice?

Have you ever wondered to yourself, 'there are so many issues that need to be tackled in my neighborhood and I would love to help but I don't know where to start.' I know I have. And now I've read a book that is both under my skin and causing my mind to go off in what could be some good directions.  What is the book? Instructions from The Cook, written by Cleveland's own George Nemeth (BFD) (@georgenemeth) and Jack Ricchiuto (@DesigningLife.com). You can read about or order Instructions from The Cook here.

Have you ever had an idea about something you'd like to do for a neighbor, for your neighborhood, or something you'd like implemented into City life? Or maybe you have an idea for neighborhood kids or a business venture. It all seems overwhelming but Jack and George wrote this book to show how it doesn't have to be. And as a matter of fact, they say two important things:

- good things, ideas with longevity, usually start out small not large.

- "people will authentically support what they help create" (page 55 of the book).

- there are lots of good ideas, not just one

- meeting to talk about ideas with people of all sorts of mindsets is usually much more productive than just meeting with people who think like me (this ties into the 'lots of good ideas' truth above).

When Jack and George wrote about 'slow and small' being better than 'fast and big', it took me back to how we learn (my education training kicking in). We learn at our best, our most comprehensive, when we start with a solid foundation of information and then expand our knowledge on that topic/subject as we go along. It helps us not live with pre-conceived ideas, but to be open to possibilities...and yeah it helps us retain the information in a way that leads to the ability to be creative with the knowledge.

I keep thinking about this book ....they point out (and it's so true) "....negativity doesn't necessarily breed progress...."It can bring people together to solve a neighborhood issue, but then when it's resolved, usually people go back home and wait for the next problem. In order to affect something positive Instructions From The Cook recommends building trust amongst ourselves, having no pre-conceived goals set in stone, but let the community build on ideas. Get to know our neighbors.

It reminded me of the famous Jane Jacobs book The Death And Life of Great American Cities, written in the early 60s and yet it rings very timely now. One theme that ran through the book was how things kept getting built by city planners without much thought to how the residents would really use the building or space, and certainly without much input from them.  Does this sound familiar? LOL  Ah, the Clevelander's lament. And it keeps getting me back to the point that those of us in the community are the ones who can affect postive change, not our governments and our cdc's.  How do they know what we want if we don't tell them???

The book gives examples of how people have done just what J and G recommend. They show why it works. And darn if it hasn't gotten me thinking. I find myself back in communication with my own CDC, I find myself talking to other people in the neighborhood. I find myself discussing ideas with a few friends (and yes, at this point they are 'like-minded' friends but I'm hoping it becomes more diverse).

Thought I've had, because of the book: Pick an establishment I'd like to support in my community, and start going there once a month at a regular time. Let people in my 'hood know when I'm going. And anyone else I meet, or anyone else they meet, can come too. It supports the neighborhood and allows us to start getting to know each other and see what kind of ideas might sprout.

Second thought I've had because of the book: If someone on my street needs their lawn mowed I could do that for them all summer. Maybe in turn, they could provide me with something I need in return. Maybe I could tutor someone's young middle or high school student in return for that student cleaning out my gutters and doing other jobs that are just a bit too much for me. You get the idea.

I've had quite a few more thoughts, but am more interested in what other people might want to do. And I'm also dying to get together with George Nemeth and talk about the book over some good coffee! What say you, George? And does anyone else want to come?  Peace Out - 3C

(I debated where to post this: my outside blog or Active Rain.  Shaking things up a bit by posting it here to see what others in the Active Rain community think about it, get the book some exposure around the country, and also then link it to my outside blog.) 

talk with me on Twitter at @clevecarole

 

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  1. Derek and Mariana Wagner 09/10/2008 01:51 PM
Location:
Ohio Cuyahoga County Cleveland
Tags:
community
instructions from the cook

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Ambassador
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Carole - First, LOVE the new pic. Love it!! But this article is excellent too, and I have put the book on my TO ORDER list. This rang so true with me, both in the local community but also in my So Cal CRS organization. Thanks for the incentive. Hey, don't be so scarce, unless business is SOOOO good you can;t keep up.

Jeff

Sep 10, 2008 01:12 PM #1
Rainer
111,655
Carole Cohen
Howard Hanna Cleveland City Office - Cleveland, OH
Realtor, ePRO

Thanks Jeff (and a hattip to Leanne Paynter who photoshopped it for me LOL)

I'm so excited that you are going to get the book. And seriously, would love to hear how you can incorporate it into your CRS organization!

Scattered, that's how I have been.  Spread a bit thin but it's my own fault and I am correcting it I hope lol. 

Sep 10, 2008 01:17 PM #2
Rainmaker
431,777
Derek and Mariana Wagner
The Artisan Group- Keller Williams Premier Realty - Colorado Springs, CO
The Artisan Group - Colorado Springs REALTORSĀ®

Carole - This is community building at its finest. Now I just need to find JUST ONE dining establishment to become a regular to ....

Sep 10, 2008 01:49 PM #3
Rainer
111,655
Carole Cohen
Howard Hanna Cleveland City Office - Cleveland, OH
Realtor, ePRO

something tells me you have a mess of choices Mariana! As for me, I'm thinking I'm going to pick The Canary Restaurant and so far I can't find a link! lol

Sep 10, 2008 01:54 PM #4
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Chris Shouse
Lyoness USA - Las Vegas, NV
Realtor - Las Vegas

Wonderful post Carole it got me thinking since I live in a senior community taking care of my mom what could I do? Offer to take someone to the Dr.?  Just be there if a widow/widower needed to talk?  Be a contact for someone who needs help even if it is the middle of the night.  I have already been thinking about organizing a street party for the 55 houses in our sub-association it would be good to bring these neighbors together and get to know each other.

Sep 10, 2008 02:03 PM #5
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Carole Cohen
Howard Hanna Cleveland City Office - Cleveland, OH
Realtor, ePRO

Chris that sounds like a collection of good ideas. You might want to get the book. I have to say I had an idea or two but not the same creative pull until I read it.  Seriously!  Thanks for sharing your good ideas! The street party sounds wonderful.

Sep 10, 2008 02:19 PM #6
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George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert

Carol seems like there are somethings that we just can't improve on and supporting our neighborhood business, and the good old fashion bartering system are two of them :)

Hey when did you get the new wheels?  I thought that it was only men that were suppose to have middle life crises like that ........... LOL

Sep 10, 2008 02:46 PM #7
Rainer
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Carole Cohen
Howard Hanna Cleveland City Office - Cleveland, OH
Realtor, ePRO

LOL George you rock. So if it's only my fantasy car and not what I am driving does it mean i'm only in half a mid-life crisis? :-)

I'm really loving the bartering idea. It was one of those V8 moments for me lol

Sep 10, 2008 02:53 PM #8
Rainmaker
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Retired Notworking
Tallahassee, FL

Carole, I want to get a copy of the book and read it because it speaks to what I've been feeling for a while, and stronger the last few months. It's exciting to see that so many others are feeling the same.  As your blog says, "In order to affect something positive Instructions From The Cook recommends building trust amongst ourselves, having no pre-conceived goals set in stone, but let the community build on ideas. Get to know our neighbors."

I like your thoughts on how to implement. I've feelt a desire to be an integral part of the community, to get to know others, find out what's needed and contribute whatever I can. Thank you for the thoughtful post and putting it on AR instead of your outside blog.

Sep 10, 2008 04:07 PM #9
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Sherry Peckhoon Sim
Sims & Company - Cayucos, CA
Broker/Owner, Covering the Beautiful Central Coast

Hi Carole, would you like to be in our club?  It's a brand new club - we could use your great ideas.   Thanks for sharing about the book.

Sep 10, 2008 04:23 PM #10
Rainer
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Carole Cohen
Howard Hanna Cleveland City Office - Cleveland, OH
Realtor, ePRO

Colleen, I have to recommend your last post and the Thoughts Become Things site. It's very powerful and it seems we are of like minds and I'm looking forward to exploring that as well. Thank you and let me (and us!) know through your posting what you wind up doing in your community!

Sherry I see you are a Rotarian! Talk about good service to the community! Yes I think if your club ordered this book you could get even more creative ideas to put forth. It takes me back to my days as a KIWANIAN in Rockville Maryland. Service clubs are powerful entities. Thanks for stopping by.

Sep 10, 2008 04:55 PM #11
Rainmaker
1,764,781
John Novak
Keller Williams Realty The Marketplace - Las Vegas, NV
Henderson, Las Vegas and Summerlin Real Estate

If there was ever a post that deserved to be re-blogged, this is it. I'm going to take a little time to think about this so I can give it a proper introduction. Thanks for sharing some great Cleveland insights with us, Carole!

Sep 10, 2008 04:59 PM #12
Rainer
111,655
Carole Cohen
Howard Hanna Cleveland City Office - Cleveland, OH
Realtor, ePRO

Hi John and thanks, and I look forward to hearing what kind of ideas you introduce in your reblog. Something tells me it's pretty amazing what can happen when a bunch of people put their heads together.

And i have to thank everyone for not teasing me (although it's surprising LOL) that I had my usual grasp (HA) of math at work. In the post I said there were two thoughts from the book and then posted four. LOL  I refuse to correct it because transparency should include my math abilities :-)

Sep 10, 2008 05:03 PM #13
Anonymous
George Nemeth

Always happy to have coffee and talk!

Sep 10, 2008 09:59 PM #14
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George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert

Carole, half mid-life crisis, I like that.  Maybe I will start referring to mine as that.

And maybe you can find a cheap house or something to barter for that car ........... LOL

Sep 11, 2008 02:43 AM #15
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