Friday, November 26, 2010

What I want: a community that shares my values

In my town, there is a simple living group that meets once a month. At each meeting, a speaker presents about a topic of interest, and there is discussion time when they go around the circle and each person talks about how they are doing on trying to live simply. I recently joined this group and have attended their two most recent meetings. I'm excited about being part of this group. It made me realize that what I've always wanted is to be a part of a community that shares my values, to be working toward something in community with others who are working toward the same thing. I loved my job when I first started it because that's what it was. When that changed is when I became unhappy at my job. I think more important to me than what task I'm doing is whether I'm doing it for a purpose I believe in, and in support of a community I believe in.

For the long-term, I can continue to seek a job in a community that shares my values. In the meantime, within my workplace I can seek out people who share my values, and try to work with them to build a community that expresses those values. (That is, to work toward our shared purpose of serving students and treating all with respect, as opposed to the institutional culture that the purpose of faculty is to bring in wealth and prestige, and that staff and students are useful when they contribute to that goal, but otherwise, when they call for teaching or advising, they are an unwanted distraction.)

I think it would be useful to develop that habit of seeking out likeminded people and building community with them, regardless of the prevailing climate.

But I also can't forget the goal of finding a better place. I have a tendency to think that I should make it, regardless of circumstances. I try to do everything I'm supposed to do even when I'm sick. Then I get healthy, and it's amazing how much easier it becomes to do things. I don't have to spend my life fighting uphill battles. Tying in with yesterday's post about working with nature, I don't have to try to garden in the desert. I need to seek out fertile soil for my endeavors, and I need to choose aspirations which match the soil I've got.

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