Outside, Looking In
I grew up in a truly nuclear family. Both my parents were only children, and three of my grandparents were gone before I was born. My father was VERY shy (I’m pretty convinced he would be diagnosed on the Autistic spectrum if he were born in these times), so we didn’t socialize very much.
I was lonely.
The Waltons and the Partridge Family became my ersatz family (I once had a heartbrakingly beautiful dream that Susan Dey was my sister). I watched those shows with a sense of longing, a feeling of being outside, looking through a window. Then, I couldn’t even imagine a path that would lead to community.
A New Hope . . .
That first changed for me near the end of my high school junior year, when I started riding the school bus for the first time. There, I was adopted by a wonderful group of misfits and odd ones out. I had Family, a community of friends. That summer, for the first time, I was going to parties. I had my first dance ever, to the song Hotel California. Such a lovely place . . .
That first dance led to my first date, first kiss, first girlfriend.
It was a magical time.
A Winding Path to Community
College was a huge step back. I lived with my parents, went to a commuter college, an hour bus ride each way. I kept in touch with some of my high school “family,” but didn’t yet have the skills or courage to make new friends.
After more years than I care to say, I somehow found the courage to transfer to a university 90 miles from home. For the first time, I lived away from home. I moved into the dorms . . .
. . . and discovered my everlasting love of community.
It was truly Dickensian – the boy, starving for connection dropped into the raucous, studious, tumultuous, loving, conflict-filled halls with a hundred other young 20-somethings crammed together, in everyone else’s business.
Glorious. I had never felt so alive, so fulfilled.
There’s more to this journey, but that’s for another time. My path to community has been the most important journey in my life. And you? What have been your themes, your path?
Community in Art
Today’s featured image is called “Women’s Fire Circle.” Created with Flame’s Sculpted Paper technique, this piece shows women sitting in community around their sacred fire, creating what Flame calls a HuMandala.
These women, of different ages and origins, sit together in peace, warmed by the fire that they have created together.
“Salute to the Sun,” again brings together a community of the Divine Feminine, this time around the Yoga Sun Salutation series. The pastel rainbow of colors represent the colors of the chakras as well as the diversity of womenkind.
Back to Flame’s beloved trees! These dryads, dressed in their finest fall colors, celebrate in the cooling air. “Autumn Dance” sees this community preparing for their long winter’s slumber.