Finding “Community”…

knittingdrawingIt’s been a few months now that I’ve been on my own, since my daughter and I parted ways and she was married. At that point I knew it was important for me to find “community” with others, build new friendships and engage in the world at large more fully. I took stock of my interests and developed what I called a “4-pronged” approach to having regular contact with others; the 4 “prongs” for me are: spiritual, creative, musical and literary.

I started on the first prong last April, and it was a stuttering start at first. I began looking for spiritual community but found the first places I looked to not be my cup of tea. It was uncomfortable, they weren’t very friendly, just not a good fit for me. I had to define what a spiritual community I could live with would look like. I needed a “thinking” place where people were more important than policies, helping others was more important than being “right,” where no one would be marginalized or excluded, and where mercy and kindness were the order of the day. I was lucky enough to find that on my third try, and although my work schedule interfered at first, I’ve been able to settle into my spiritual community and I am enjoying the friendships forming there.

With the first prong well under way, I sought community on the second prong, creative. For me at this point, that meant fiber work. As luck would have it, an excellent yarn shop relocated nearby just recently, and now I can knit and crochet with a group of people every week. Even when we are not necessarily speaking for long intervals, just working together companionably, there is a peacefulness and cohesiveness that is soothing and is fulfilling the requirements of my second prong quite well.

I was hoping to start on the third prong, musical, yesterday, but an event at the first prong conflicted with that, so that took precedence. But I have a place to play music and sing (as able) with others and will build that up over time. I’m also looking into playing with smaller groups, so I’m keeping my ear to the ground for opportunities to do that.

The fourth prong, literary, is my writing. Writing itself is generally a solitary pursuit, but there are times when it’s good to come together with others to touch base, receive some constructive help and encouragement, and write in community with others. My work schedule makes it difficult to write with the group I’d like to be a part of, plus there’s the expense. But I’m working out those details and expect to pursue this fourth prong soon.

I do have to look at being balanced, however, which is always my weak area. I tend to overinvolve myself and then burn out from skimping on other areas of my life which need attention. I discovered I have no day of the week now just for downtime, and I know I need that. So I’m trying to work that in as well. But I’m enjoying this new life; it’s nice to participate in and be a part of a “community.”

8 thoughts on “Finding “Community”…

  1. Well, this is now my favorite of your blogs, Patricia! I, too, only want a ‘spiritual’ community that does not marginalize or exclude anyone and where mercy and kindness are highlighted. It is so satisfying to feel ‘in community’ with you on this! I think it is great, too, that you found companionable chat/silence with others who practice fiber craft. I remember going to the studio when in art school and the silence of cocreating, not just our art project, but cocreating a sublime atmosphere of congruence with each other. I do not play anything but the radio, as they say, but think that part of your life is so neat. And, of course, writing… I recently found and worked on a half dozen unfinished poems… they are still unfinished, but something about writing connects us with community in an invisible way. imho, lol. Thanks again for your blogs… I should comment on more of them!

    • I have had a longing for spiritual community for a long time, but some less-than-stellar experiences in the past. I’d been away for several years, but the desire for being in community with others drew me back to try to find somewhere I would fit, so I’m glad it’s working out. I envy you re poetry; I’m a terrible poet (other than some limericks when I was a teen) and haven’t the vaguest idea how to write a good poem. If you ever want to share them, I’d be interested in reading them! And thank you for commenting! 🙂

      • I am glad you found a ‘good fit’ spiritual community, Patricia! And I will message you via fb some of my poetry… thank you for your interest!

  2. I’m curious to know what church met your needs (I’m thinking UU but I could be wrong)- I totally understand if you don’t want to share that though. I don’t really go to church right now but part of me is longing for that sort of connection. This is interesting reading for me. I’ve met my need for community through homeschooling mostly, but this hasn’t worked out so well for me in a new place and I’m realizing that I’m going to have to broaden my approach eventually.

    • Hello Miriam; there were two churches within walking distance of my new home that I hoped would be suitable, but unfortunately they weren’t progressive enough for me (and one wasn’t friendly). I like the UUs but I find them a little too humanist. Somewhat dejected, I started looking at progressivechristianity.org and reading their “8 points” of what it meant to be a “Progressive Christian” and thought, “Gee, I wish I could find one of those around here.” Looking at the list, I found one just a short bus ride away, so I now attend a Reconciling United Methodist Church, which is inclusive of all people. It is also progressive theologically. When I walked in, I knew I was in the right place for me. Thank you for commenting! 🙂

    • Thank you! Yes, I felt especially because I telecommute from home and knew no one in my new neighborhood, and because it can be more difficult finding new friends as one gets older, that I really needed to make an actual plan. It certainly has helped!

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