Forum: Weaving our community efforts creates our social fabric

We have many opportunities to contribute to our community, efforts we can see and take pride in.

Kathy Solberg

Kathy Solberg

By Kathy Solberg / Herald Forum

We need a bridge between our narrative about what is happening in our individual worlds and what we witness daily in our collective lives.

How do we restore sanity? How do we work together to build the future we want to live in amidst so many systems that no longer serve us well and are in a state of collapse? How do we come together in the way that we need to in order to move forward creating what we want to be a part of and what we want our children and grandchildren to know?

My personal answer to those questions is weaving. Community weaving. Physical weaving. My tiny, tiny talent has always been connectedness. Bringing people together. My business today is called CommonUnity, and the tagline is “creating unity for the common good.” I am all about how we work together and how we create the future we want when the present feels unknown and sometimes chaotic.

In May of this year, I wrote about how the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services came out with the Surgeon General’s 2023 report entitled “Our Epidemic of Loneliness and Isolation.” Dr. Vivek H. Murthy named loneliness as a public health concern and said, “We are called to build a movement to mend the social fabric of our nation. It will take all of us — individuals and families, schools and workplaces, health care and public health systems, technology companies, governments, faith organizations, and communities — working together to destigmatize loneliness and change our cultural and policy response to it. It will require reimagining the structures, policies and programs that shape a community to best support the development of healthy relationships.”

Please take a minute and realize that the term “all of us” includes you. That each of those systems mentioned impact all of us and the quality of our day to day lives. And it is all about working together.

Murthy talks about the “social fabric.” I am a part of “WEAVE — the social fabric project” through the Aspen Institute. It is about community weaving and building trust. New York Times columnist David Brooks is the founder of this project and his recent book “How to Know A Person — The Art of Seeing Others Deeply and Being Deeply Seen” is the work I am doing with companies to create cultures of mattering and belonging. It is beyond difficult to see beyond the overwhelming need to invest in this work, and it is key to mending systems, teams, workplaces and communities.

So, how does physical weaving fit in? I am working to create public art through bringing individuals together to create a single woven piece. It can be one team, one workplace, one neighborhood. A tapestry of individual threads that represent the strength of the whole. If you are 6 or 60, you can look at the entire tapestry and see where your piece is.

We often don’t see how we fit or what our value is in the big picture. It is the root of apathy; why we don’t vote, volunteer, or participate in local government or community groups. It is difficult to engage when you don’t feel a part of. When you don’t see that your opinion, thoughts, energy or vote matters.

Our country is fractured, divided and in a crisis of disconnection, overwhelm and loneliness. Mental health issues, the drug crisis, and our work to fix education and health systems alone are monumental and have an urgent call. I am blessed to work with Margaret Wheatley and be the chairman of the board for the Berkana Institute. One foundational truth at Berkana is “Whatever the problem, community is the answer.” I believe that with every fiber of my being.

I sit here marveling that it is December. I witness one more year end. I also see the horizon of 2024. In many ways, it represents a narrative that we get to create. Our cities and county are making great strides to impact what our social fabric can be. They do not want to do this in isolation nor is that how our country was formed.

There is one more “Building Bridges – A Discussion on Political Polarization” with Nate Nehring and Jared Mead on Dec. 4 at WSU Everett. CommonUnity is always open for generative conversations on how we can strengthen our social fabric and take a look at our systems from a human systems perspective to create where we want to go.

I once again invite you to share what you want your community to be and let me know what support looks like. It is not naive to believe that we can create the world we want to live in. It is incremental work and truly what I believe matters for each of us. Community is the answer.

Kathy Solberg leads a consulting business, CommonUnity. Learn more at

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