Friday, July 6, 2012

My communities, past and present

In the good old days, I used to like to do outdoorsy things.  I also liked to organize groups of people to do outdoorsy things, and maybe expose people to activities they had not tried before.  I chose friends who would go with me for hiking, rollerblading, and skiing.

Then my body failed.  I was too tired to do such things.  And I felt betrayed that my friends left me behind.

I thought I turned away from all that, that I turned to more spiritual pursuits and chose my friends accordingly.

Apparently, I haven't changed so much.  Today I found myself organizing groups of people to do outdoorsy things.  In a way, it's reassuring that I'm still the same person I always was.

Another community that I was involved in in the good old days was the folk music and dance community.  During the so-called good old days, I tried to be involved, but felt like I was kind of on the margins and couldn't really find my place.  However, over time, my involvement has developed.  It may have been in part that this is where I turned when I moved away from the more outdoorsy stuff.  So far I've mostly been involved in supporting professional performances -- concerts, festivals, and radio.  However, my ideals are really with supporting participatory music and dance, and I am trying to shift my involvements more in that direction.

I'm also involved in another community.  Though I just wrote a blog post about how it doesn't work to just build community for the sake of building community, that's pretty much what my other community is about, and for me it works.

Six years ago, I felt betrayed by my body and by my friends.  It seemed that the people who tried to help me did more harm than good.  I retreated into solitude.  Since then, I've been trying to make tentative steps back out into the world.  In the past six months especially, these two communities have embraced me -- the folk music and dance community, and the community that is trying to build community.  I feel myself opening up.  I feel myself starting to believe that humans I like are not just a few occasional exceptions, but are something that generally exist in the world.

Still, I must be careful.  My body is not really up to it.  Always there are lots more things that I'd love to do than I actually have the energy for.  I pray that I can continue to grow my involvement in these two communities while at the same time giving myself enough time for rest and reflection.

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