I feel pushed into finally writing here. Pushed and pulled on all sides. I definitely don’t have time, there are definitely other things that feel justified in demanding a higher place on the list for my attention. And yet equally strong, I feel an emerging sense of knowing I can’t go on this way any longer. Once felt, it can’t be forgotten or pushed down again, even if I wanted to. Like new life, pushing through earth to reach the air and warmth, it has a certain vitality and sense of being unstoppable.
And meanwhile, gently or even tentatively at first, there’s the pull. Small glints of light, so often ignored or explained away, becoming undeniably stronger until it’s impossible not to see them as one thing, as a whole. A warm and radiant inner source of liveliness, playfulness, hopes, wishes, dreams, desires, visions, possibilities, experiments, belief, trust, love, connection, celebration, ritual, songs and dancing that calls me forward despite myself. Well, that’s how I experience it, and it feels delicately new and yet deeply familiar all at the same time.
Ok, so now what? Here I am writing. What for? What are the possibilities I’m sensing in it?
I think it’s the chance to experiment with stepping out into the world as the wholeness of me, including the shy parts that often want to hide, and the frightened parts that want to know they are safe, and the tender parts that can sense a need to be protected. It feels vulnerable, and has certainly been enough to stop me up until now. And yet I’m realising that in taking the step it also includes the joyfully social parts of me that love being with others, and the in-my-element-on-a-stage parts that definitely like to be seen, and the brave parts that want to make something happen in the way that is my unique human gift alongside all of yours, and much more that has been waiting in the shadows until now.
So, what does this newly-emerging whole me want to do, now that it has some room to move and breathe? The strongest desire I can feel rising in myself in a way that can no longer be ignored is the desire to be in community. In some ways, it could look like this need is already very well met by family, neighbours, colleagues, friends, social networks, practice-based groups and more. What does this really mean for me in its fullness?
I think it’s the chance to have the primary focus and locus of my activities and life rooted in place. A place that I share with other people, and plants, and animals. Community in the widest sense. And that there’s a way of being together in place that sees, allows, and invites the differences between us, while at the same time senses and nurtures the binding threads of common intention and principles for how we’d like to be that are shared between us all.
And importantly, it would feel good. We’d have a laugh. A bit of craic. There would likely be challenges too and yet we would weather them together, take them as a chance to grow.
If I try to describe it as a symbol or picture, I see a circle of small wooden houses in a large green field or clearing that sits amongst wild nature and rolling hills. Each house has its own uniqueness, its own style and special touches and care and ingenuity in the way that it has been made. And at the same time, all the individual houses also feel like part of a bigger something, that they belong together, that there is something that joins them even though it’s hard to put a finger on what that might be.
And, what else? What would this actually mean at a practical level? How do I see it?
The people and animals living in the houses have often had a hand in the building and shaping of the houses themselves. At times they use traditional ways and equally as often they break with tradition too. Women and older children can be seen leading on the designing, and planning, and sawing, and hammering, and lifting, and many other gestures that it takes to build a physical space. Men might take on the responsibility of cooking up a storm in the kitchen, night after night. Younger children and animals make a huge contribution to the whole process by just bringing so much joy and love to all involved.
In the middle of the circle of houses there is space for gathering. It has a feeling of open-ness, with lots of ways in which nature can take its diverse shapes and the people and animals can find nooks and crannies and open places to clamber over, play amongst, sit on and rest in together. There is a place to sit in a circle, and build a fire, and toast marshmallows and sing and dance into the small hours.
There is a gathering house which has space for everyone. It is clean, and warm, with white-washed walls inside and golden wood floors, a space of possibility that can change from dance studio to community festival hall to working space at the drop of a hat. There is a lot of beauty and nature and care and connection and playfulness that dances amongst the walls, windows and hearts of those around.
In this way of being, we each have our independent space and we also have the chance to connect with others again and again in a way that also builds something collectively for the future, as it is planted on solid ground and we all have a shared part in it.
For myself, I would love the chance to be in a close relationship with nature, and to make things with my hands, and to build something together both physically and relationally, and to spend time playing with and learning from children and animals. And older humans too ?
What I could bring is my calling to hold and activate space as a mistress of ceremonies, my love of the power of song and dance as I feel it flowing through me, my natural inclination to come up with creative collective actions for us all to engage in, young and old alike, that connect to and evoke what is most meaningful us in the world, why we are here, and what we would simply find joy and even healing in expressing together.
If this vision of mine connects in any way to one of yours, let me know. If you know someone who is thinking along similar lines, put us in touch. If this sparks any reflections of your own, please share them. I’ve never done this before, so I’m kind of feeling my way here. But it feels good.
Every response, action, connection is another step in the journey. It weaves the threads together to make visible the greater whole that I know is there, and finally want to take my place in making a reality. And that – I’ve finally realised – only works by doing it together ?
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