The Call to Community

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Many of us experience a deep longing for community; we seek places and spaces where we feel belonging, acceptance, and celebration for who we are. If you’re anything like me, you’ve searched online and in real life for those seemingly hidden places where like-minded people live.
I’ve been seeking a long time, and it has always eluded me.
I did what anyone on their spiritual path would do, find the answers inward.
What Community Was

When I pressed into my ideas of community, the first image in my mind was the Central Perk Cafe from the 90’s sitcom, F.R.I.E.N.D.S. My first feelings were warmth, gathering, and comfort around familiar people with laughter and drama. Everyone acted in the same way, never changing, and some part of me found deep comfort in that.

I stopped seeking some years ago – partly because I just gave up and partly because I figured the timing wasn’t right. I didn’t know it at the time, but in the years I was searching, some part of my unconscious was looking for how I felt when I watched that show so many decades ago. It’s no surprise that I never found it.
The Age of Aquarius – where we find ourselves in the now moments – carries a powerful energy of coming together; the gathering. In this Spirit, I thought I’d revisit my ideas and beliefs around community.
When I sat with it, I realized some wildly uncomfortable truths:
 – I am a delightfully happy hermit
 – People and their drama exhaust me
 – I want people to like me, to see me, and want to be my friend
 – Mostly, I just wanted to be left alone
– I hate conflict and will turn myself upside down to avoid it
 – Stirring the pot is fun for me
These mixtures of truths seem contradictory.
I also realized that I had felt this way for a long time.
I saw my child-self bend and twist to show up in ways others could see, love, and appreciate. As I grew older, the passive rebellion to this same energy got expressed in many ways. In these years, judgment and contriving situations took a front seat in my relationships and circles.
Social Gatherings, where I could never be me, became a birthing ground for quiet resentment. All my mixtures and conflicts within came out to play with other people, expending a lot of my energy in unintentional and unconscious ways.
Underneath my desire for community lay all that and more.
Getting Uncomfortable
The need to belong sits in our Root Chakra. It is essential to our survival, just like food, water and shelter are. When our Root is blocked, it is often by fear.
Facing our fears is terrifying; making changes to our beliefs, habits, and patterns though less frightening, is very uncomfortable, especially when we step out and interact with friends, family, neighbours, and co-workers.
We all inherit beliefs and ideas in addition to the ones we create when we are impressionable. It is messy work to realize them and see what motivates our search and desires.
It doesn’t feel like it at the time, but we are on the path of becoming creators of our life experience.
My big realization around the ideas of community, relationships, friendships, and general gatherings was that I blamed other people for how tired I felt, how I couldn’t belong, and not feeling seen.
I repeated this to myself as reasons for not going out; I’d present all the evidence of my case to anyone listening.

The energy of blame is interesting because it seems irrefutable from the perspective of the one-who-is-blaming.

But what about being the one-who-is-blamed?
I realized this bitterly when a cool new friend I made canceled on me last minute because ‘being social was exhausting to him.’ He wasn’t talking about me at that moment, but he too found ‘others’ exhausting like me.
This time, I was the ‘other.’
I loathed this feeling. It was one of those montage moments, where several thoughts and images came up in the same second, leading to a series of uncomfortable revelations:
 – I had weak and unclear boundaries
 – I gave mixed messages
 – My’ yeses and nos’ didn’t always mean ‘yes and no.’
 – My choices were around what I thought other people wanted.
 – I was deeply resentful, held many judgments, and had difficulty trusting myself or anyone else.
 – I wanted to belong, to love, to be, but I didn’t know how to anymore.
Having spent so much time as a hermit while on my healing journey, I forgot how to interact with people, experience another for who they were, and discern and enjoy good company.
I had a lot of terrible social experiences in communities over the years while I was pondering this. I had a lot of great experiences too. Both were learnings.
I learned to know how I’m feeling and express it, and if I wasn’t sure – to say that. It sounds like the easiest thing because most 2-year olds have this ability, but for me, it took years.
Coming home to myself and sitting and sorting the experiences I had was where most of my work was. When things felt good and when they didn’t – it was like I was coming home after a school-outing and writing a report on how it went.
Sometimes, our nerdy side can help us out in surprising ways!
This way of integrating helped me move from complaining about how other people / their drama exhausted me to a place where I redefined boundaries and got comfortable in expressing my evolving truths. I learned to show up, speak in alignment with how I felt moment-to-moment, and celebrate when others do the same! I reclaimed my ‘yeses and nos,’ so when others expressed them, I received it.
Through all this intentional growing, I also had surprising teachings – like how community can meet you at your growth edge and encourage the person’s evolution. I no longer craved the repeated familiarity of people like I had once done. I could genuinely honour when people changed – even if they chose things I disagreed with. This shift was like a salve to the parts of myself entrenched in the judgments of others (and myself).
It is one of the most precious gifts that Others can give. The mirror they hold up can show you the fullness of You in a way we simply cannot by ourselves, no matter how evolved we are! It can be maddening, resent-making, and frustrating. It can also be humble, patience-creating, and transformative.
Back to Community
We often hear about the search for like-minded communities. These are important and needed.
Through my experiences and pondering, I realized that I hold a lot of expectations when I enter new communities which serves no one.
However, when I entered like-minded communities for a very specific reason – like the crypto education and social tokens virtual community –  the experience was very different. I wasn’t there to be liked or make friends. This difference was because I knew why I was there – to learn, have discourse, and share.
This is essential discernment because we sometimes confuse it within the Self.
Certainly, if an organic friendship came out of it, that would be lovely, but it was not the goal.
Having goals, agendas, or checklists when I showed up in relationships and communities was something I did unconsciously, and it certainly limited my joy. It is liberating to be in a place of grounded willingness to experience an evening or an online event simply because we want to see what could come of it.

Part of this liberation comes from redefining strength and power within the Self. We are taught power dynamics in relationships, so judgments and expectations and the need to ‘get something out of this’ makes sense here. When I had weaker boundaries and was more in a place of people-pleasing, I would mute myself, give my power away and then be resentful and bitter for doing so; alternatively, I would overcompensate and not let anyone else get another word in.

We only engage in power-play when we believe we are limited in it. The game is on when you have power, and I want it, so I have to take it from you, generally in an argument or even during a silent treatment.

But this isn’t the world we play in now. At least, it doesn’t have to be. A connection formed from the heart that continually honours the human journey has an entirely different set of flavours.

Here, we connect to our unlimited potential. To our ever-pulsing power source, as such, the need or desire to take someone’s power seems completely unnecessary. So the engagement with the other becomes open, possible, and allowing.
We get to see ourselves and others as who they and we truly are, so it matters less what diverging opinions are held. Certainly, a disagreement may occur, but it no longer leaves a trail of anger, heartbreak, or disharmony.
This continues to be a massive learning area for me, as it is a whole new level of Love 0f Self and Other that calls me to meet. It is undoubtedly unhooking me from old beliefs and ideas of community, why we gather, and what we talk about. There is also a greater level of trust in the natural resonance of the world, bringing together whoever needs assembling at certain times at certain places – online or in physical reality.
The call here isn’t to join a community.
The call, as is with most calls, is within:
Are we living in the communities we wish to join, create, and leave behind?
If so, we welcome it in gratitude and press to evolve it further.
If not, we welcome it in gratitude and press to evolve it further.

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