Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Reverb10: December 7: Community

Following a link from Gretchen Rubin at the Happiness Project, I found the Reverb10 site, which encourages us to spend each day of December looking back at 2010 and thinking about what we want in our lives in 2011, through daily prompts. Since I'm nine days late, I'm not going to write about all of them, but I think I'll write now about one that sings to me. 

December 7 – Community.
Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011?

Community is a hard one for me, because I think, at my core, I'm a loner. I crave connection at the same time that it seems difficult for me to maintain connection. In 2010, I was active in several communities, but seemingly only on the outskirts of most. In one case, I was one of the founding members of a community that has not seemed to notice that I've gone away from it. In another case, I've spent two years being active in a community that, again, generally doesn't seem to notice my absence, but for one person who has reached out. Then there was my family, probably my biggest source of emotional and all other forms of support, the community that has stood by me the longest - and I hope vice versa. My friends - my chosen family - have, as always, been a wonder of connection, support, laughter, and wisdom. I am very lucky to have them in my life. My work community is also a gem - I work with some of the most amazing, creative, fun, loving people I've ever had the pleasure of meeting. 

I did have a revelation about community not long ago, though. It struck me that community is not a group of people that exist already, and with whom we begin participating. Community is all the people around us, the ones from all the orbits of our life. We each make our own community, from everyone we know, not from existing identified groups. Facebook illustrates this nicely. I sometimes wish I had a chart that illustrates my Facebook community, including how they're all connected to one another. Several times I've gotten back into contact with old friends because they know a current friend whom I didn't know they knew, or noticed that current friends know each other without me knowing. Every time, I had the sense that my community was connecting to itself, one strand at a time, like a web. It's a lovely feeling, like puzzle pieces are being put into place. One thing I've always loved is to help people find others people among my community who can help them. It's one of the things that makes me the happiest. I feel like a spider, creating an infinitely precious web, one silken thread at a time.

For 2011, I'd like to continue to grow my community and also to be more proactive in building and nurturing my community.  I think in 2010 I somehow expected community to care for me, but without putting as much of myself into it as I could have. In 2011 I'd like to be more proactive in caring for my community, expanding and linking the people therein, and discovering new aspects of community. I'd like to be more conscious of who I let into my life, and to pursue positive, healthy relationships with people, rather than just letting relationships crash over me like waves in the ocean. In 2010, my community was largely about partying, drinking, and play. There's nothing wrong with that per se, but I'd like community in 2011 to be more about connection, communication, exploration, and a deepening of our understanding of life. And then parties, too ;-)

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