Celebrating Community

Michelle Stimpson & Bill Stimpson_Caribbean Cruise

“…People all over the world, join hands, start a love train, love train…” If you recognize this 70’s song by the O’Jay’s, and if you’re like me, you can’t help but get out of your chair and start dancing! And if you don’t know this one, you may want to add it to your library. I love that song! And from now on whenever I hear it, it will bring a “pause” to my life as I recall a very powerful and goosebump-inducing night last year.

Bill and I were on a cruise celebrating my 40th birthday. It was glorious! As we sailed the Caribbean, one of the nights on the ship was designated as “70’s Night.” That one had my name written all over it, and it was also the backdrop for some pretty cool personal experiences for me.

The party

In the interior of our ship was a large promenade area that looked up seven levels and was probably the length of two football fields. This was the grand setting for the evening’s kick-off party as no less than a thousand passengers filled the space.

Most of us didn’t know each other and many of us spoke different languages. But when that O’Jay’s song blasted through the speakers, and the music pumped through and filled every single corner of that massive interior of the ship, time stood still. There were beach balls smacked up in the air and bouncing off walls wherever you looked, everyone was smiling, some were videotaping, cruisers around me were high-fiving, and all of us were dancing. Talk about following your joy!

It was in that moment that I realized the power of celebrating “community.” I didn’t know anyone else there, and it didn’t matter. But I felt so loved and supported in that moment as we all shared in the beauty of celebrating life…together.

We were “in the same boat,” so to speak. And we needed each other throughout the week, as many of us were thousands of miles away from homeaway from life as we knew itsailing in vast open seas and visiting foreign lands.

We’re all in this journey of life together.

What a wonderful world

Another scenario that embraced this idea perfectly was when Bill and I hit the ship’s disco after dinner that same night. We walked in and the flashing disco lights halted and the more peaceful and soft slow-dance lights illuminated. Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World” began.

We sat down and noticed an elderly couple, somewhere in their 80’s, emerge from their seats in the dark corner. They danced the most graceful dance together, obviously well-rehearsed over many, many years. As I tearfully watched them and wondered what type of lifetime stories they shared together, they effortlessly floated across the dance floor, never taking their eyes off one another, never letting their smiles dissolve. Yes, we do need each other. “What a wonderful world…”

Witnessing this made me reflect on turning 40 even more and on some of the many thoughtful gifts I received. One was given in my honor: a gift of food to feed a child in Haiti for two months. Two full months! I was speechless as I was instantly reminded of how essential it is that we support one other. It could even mean life or death to someone.

Community is to be celebrated.

A client and special friend gave me a card that birthday with a particularly poignant quote on the front. I’ve seen it many times before, but this time as I hit a milestone decade, it struck me more powerfully than ever before. The anonymous quote read: “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the number of moments that take our breath away.” 

A perfect end to a magical night

That night in the disco, as Bill and I began to grow tired from our day of excitement, one more magical piece unfolded that tied everything together.

We were relaxing in an oversized, high-backed red velvet booth with our heads resting on the back, admiring the dancers. The classic “Your Song” by Elton John was playing, and the tune filled the disco to the top. The silver ball was spinning from the 2nd deck of the club, and Bill and I turned our heads to each other. And almost as if it were choreographed, we both belted out the lyrics to each other and sang along with Elton:

“I hope you don’t mind, I hope you don’t mind, while I put down in words…how wonderful life is while you’re in the world…”

I could barely get the words out without being choked up.

–And so, who is it that you need in your life?

–When was the last time that you told them?

–How can you celebrate the power of community with them?

It’s way too easy in our fast-paced world to get trapped in a silo, trying to handle everything on our own. But remember that we live on this earth together. We are here for each other.

Who will you reach out to today?



Note: Here are a few other great stories about the importance of community and how we can help each other out:

You, Too, Can Make Someone’s Day
Ever Wonder Why You’re Here?
How To Help Others Follow Their Joy

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7 Responses to “Celebrating Community”

  • Maryse says:

    Love, love, love. From that place comes such joy: I will reach out to my family and to my readers on the blog. Thanks for these uplifting words. Life is good! And congratulations on your birthday!

  • Lisa Saline says:

    Michelle, you are a master story teller. I get a tear in my eye every time I read your blog posts. I feel as if I’ve know you forever and feel so blessed to be part of your life today. The impact you and Bill have on others just by sharing your life is tremendous! The word “train” has a whole new meaning now. Thanks Michelle

  • Char says:

    What a beautiful story that fills our hearts and souls with the power of love! As I have said before, keep on writing and sharing your adventures and wisdom of how love fills our world with joy! Thank you!
    P.S. I love this picture of you and Bill!!

  • Sharon says:

    awesome blog, Michelle! A few things stood out and gave me chills and tears……..”time stood still” on your cruise..I could see and feel that with you…….I absolutely LOVE those moments when “time stands still”…I call them “memory minutes”………..you never know when they are going to come but when they do, they rock your world and those are the memories that you can relive over and over when you are 90 years old………….awesome….secondly, the 80 year old couple….sooo touching. I would have balled. I am a sucker for that!! I was in a friends wedding years ago that was married in Southern California….overlooking the ocean in a gazebo in Pismo Beach…as she walked down the “aisle side walk” with her Dad, she had Louis Armstrong’s song “wonderful world” playing….the most beautiful thing I have ever heard and seen…….still gives me chills… lastly, you and Bill singing spontaneously to each other….soooo cool my friend. I think the spontaneous things in life are the best! Some things we just could not plan…….they just happen…”life does happen when you are making other plans”. Who do I need in my life? I need you. xoxo Sharon

  • Steve Fox says:

    Hello from Arizona Michelle and Bill. Wow… I just read your amazing blog and was very moved in such a joyful way. Thank you kindly for sharing your joy with us. You are such a wonderful blogger with a natural ability to encourage and comfort us. Your writing skills are picture perfect.
    Thanks again and happy new year!
    With love and joy always,

  • Hi Michelle,
    What a great experience! I agree, a sense of community is an important component for joy! I went on a cruise to Mexico with a friend and the day we were in Mexico we went zip-lining. We were with a group of people we had never met before. By the end of the outing we were all “friends” and throughout the entire experience we were supportive of each other and part of a team. That was even more spectacular to experience than the zip-lining!
    Happy new year! Great post!! xo, Jodi

  • I heart you guys. You all uplift me! Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

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Michelle Stimpson: Editor/Writer

Michelle Stimpson Hi and thanks for visiting - so glad you're here! This blog is especially for cool people who want to experience joy and live a life of purpose. Welcome!

Here you'll find great stories that will inspire you and remind you that life is good, and there's an abundance of joy all around us. Simply put: When you follow the things in life that make you come alive and bring you joy...the magic begins to unfold.

Start by checking out the "Best Of" page and be sure to consider subscribing above. Thank you and cheers to joy!

Michelle Joy Stimpson
Executive Editor & Writer
Life Coach, LifeShine

Bill Stimpson: Partner-In-Crime

Bill Stimpson Hi! Not only will you see me “show up” in many of Michelle’s stories and posts here, but I also serve as Michelle’s editor, helping her clarify intentions and make her posts shine.

One of the great joys in my life is being involved with this blog! It’s a constant reminder for me to focus on the things that bring me joy. It also feels great to be sharing so many of these joys with you - in hopes that you, too, will find ways to focus on your own joyful experiences.

Here's to an abundance of joy in your life!

Bill Stimpson
Hubby & Associate Editor

The Parent Company

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