Friday, July 27, 2012

Finding My Way Through the Dark

As I said in my last post, my autumn is not going to be what I planned or expected.  In fact, in this past twelve years, since the community that I helped found in the nineteen-nineties fell apart, very little has gone according to plan.  I've had two direct attempts at building community and neither has turned out to be at all what I wanted.

Yet I can't give up.  There's something in me that won't let go of being part of a community effort.  I often find myself in the position of being unable to move forward and unwilling to move back.

When that happens, I just stay where I am and keep exploring until a new possibility arises.  For example, this winter I realized that the house I was living in was not going to be what I was looking for and that no one here was ready or even really interested in trying to build the type of community I'm after.  Further, having been looking for others who want to do this around here for twelve years made it seem unlikely I was going to find anyone by continuing on this way.  When I told my former community mates that I was going to just join an established egalitarian community, one said that she was 'sad but relieved' and another said he was 'shocked but not surprised'.  The upshot was that they've thought for a while that I wasn't going to get what I wanted this way, but because I'm so stubborn they feared I would keep trying anyway.

I do realize my own part in all this.  I have some real strengths in terms of community building (for example, this house did come together well and will be continuing on--though it's not clear what kind of household it's going to become).  I also have some real weaknesses (it has become obvious that my desire for community can let me see what I want for a while rather than what's really happening--and I don't seem to be a good judge of character). 

Through the spring, I rode with the changes.  I wanted to become part of Twin Oaks or Acorn, but found they both had long waiting lists.  I tried to join a community in the midwest, but they didn't want me.  Now my fall is going to consist of the Communities Conference followed by visits to Acorn and Twin Oaks in the hopes that something will emerge out of that.

A metaphor that feels right to me is that I'm exploring dark tunnels and reaching dead ends.  Unwilling to turn back, I keep exploring the cul de sac that I find myself in until I notice a hidden opening that I missed in the darkness. I go through it (since there aren't any other choices) and find myself in another tunnel that leads to another dead end--but with another hidden opening that I will find after more patience and exploring.

It's not my favorite way to travel.  I'd rather have my future all planned and mapped out, I'd rather be living in and building community than be endlessly looking for it, but that's not what life is handing me.  I need to deal with what's truly possible rather than just living in plans and fantasies.  And I remain hopeful that I will get to live in community yet.

Quote of the Day:  "In many initiation stories the search ... is described as the hero's crossing the great water, climbing the impossible mountain, confronting dragons,...  In each of these images we risk the life we have known to discover something new.
"Perhaps they are so daunting because the unknown territory of initiation will open before us only to the extent that we turn our whole being courageously toward it.  In willingly facing the unknown, we offer trust in  a greater purpose to life.  And then we must venture wherever the road leads us, in spite of the dark, in spite of the quivering of our heart." - Jack Kornfield