Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Solitude and Community

...we need solitude and community simultaneously: what we learn in one mode can check and balance what we learn in the other. Together, they make us whole, like breathing in and breathing out. ....Solitude does not necessarily mean living apart from others; rather, it means never living apart from one's self. .... Community does not necessarily mean living face-to-face with others; rather it means never losing the awareness that we are connected to each other.
~ Parker J. Palmer

In the midst of all the shifts and sea-changes of the past weeks, I find myself pulling into my shell as well as seeking the comfort of simply being with others. Many around me expressed feeling the same tidal pulls. The full supermoon has only added to the depths and breadths of the shift.

There's the sense of being alone in a crowd. Like wandering through an unknown city, with hundreds of people rushing past, the feeling can be soft, almost unnoticed. Or harsh and overwhelming. What I've been feeling is simply drawing energy from the presence of others. This keeps me aligned, deep in my soul, centered. When it begins to swing to the harsh side, I make my way to a quiet corner, a place apart from others, though I continue to be aware of them.

I thought 'unplugging' from social media would help. Instead, I felt a sense of losing contact with my community. What I wanted, needed, was connection with others. Light touch connection. A friend texting with information about a personal issue we had previously discussed. Another messaging that she's doing okay after being ill. Someone posting he'd just received a job offer. A phone conversation about dreams. These are the people in my community, the ones who keep me awake and grounded.

Another thought darting through my head was to find gatherings of like-minded, like-hearted people. My basic introverted nature reeled at that one. Being with a few people with whom I have a connection is one thing; being in a crowd of mostly unknowns is another animal completely. Yet this path works better for some people. They need the energy of groups, the opportunity to 'get lost' in a common cause.

Whatever pattern you need in order to stay grounded, centered, deeply yourself and deeply connected, follow it. Trust the intuition that drives you forward.

How do you feel when in solitude? in community? What connects you most deeply to yourself? to your community? How would you describe your community? Are there more than one? How are they similar? different? How does solitude feed you? How does community feed you?

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