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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Community Confession, I felt like quitting yesterday.

COMMUNITY - Sharing, participation, and fellowship. [Community week starts here. Click here for this week's Bliss Initiatives.]

Yesterday I was having the hardest time writing my post. I was really confronted by this whole discussion of community.  To begin with, I really miss some great communities I have been a part of in my life. In my Kathy Sprinkle Story I mention "the fabled land of Easterly Street" which was a formative community I participated in as a child, which has grown to mythic proportions in the memories of the former residents. What exactly was it about that place and time that has so many of us wanting a revival?

In that same post I mentioned Hastings on Hudson where I was moved to create a "town warming" party and subsequently spent six of my favorite years discovering, discussing, ruminating the mysteries of the universe with my posse of friends. My friend Tamara and I would dabble in the metaphysical and would create parties and revelry in our collective musings and then magically with pure intention manifest them around us. We would take classes, write poetry, sip cocktails, watch sunsets, decorate our homes and find warmth and wonder in each others company. I have rarely enjoyed friendship so much.

And then there is my friend John and his camp, which for me has become synonymous with John's love and hospitality.  No matter how long I stay away,  I and all the friends I meet there, are always welcomed back with open arms. We laugh, we talk about silly and serious topics, eat wonderful food (thanks to John's incredible expertise) and play lots and lots of board and card games. John and I have started playing scrabble on line together which helps fulfill some yearning but doesn't come close to the marathon in person gaming sessions. When I imagine being very old, it is always in a rocking chair on his porch in the Adirondacks.

Several work communities, like American Teleconferencing which I wrote about in my corporate whimsy post, and Landmark Education gave me purpose as well as camaraderie. It is particularly interesting how well a common purpose can unite people from all sorts of backgrounds. I haven't really had much "purpose"lately. Except of course to raise Jessie and care for our family, which is my first priority no matter what else I add to my plate.

Which brings me to the fact that my plate currently has room and I have been hopeful that this blog becomes and encourages a new community in which to play. I have clearly been doing so for some ego driven reasons and enjoy sharing my sometimes quirky ideas with more then the few moms and family members with which I spend most of my time. What has been missing for me is more personal interaction. I think over time it is quite possible for an online community to feel personal. Case in point is my WTE Alumni group. We met online in the What to Expect when you are Expecting over 35 chat room well over two years ago. These wonderful women, most of whom I have never even spoken with have become very good friends. I hunt for their facebook updates, worry about their children's health issues, seek their advice, revel in their successes and laugh at their foibles.  My days would be wanting without them.

So yesterday here I sat, melancholy that I don't have as much of my old favorite communities and feeling like my attempt to foster one over here was going unappreciated or unnoticed and I found it really difficult to put my fingers on the keyboard. How could I write about community when I wasn't even able to make this one work?! And if I am going to consider more active play in my new neighborhood then maybe I should ditch the unproductive ones and so on and voila' it seemed like a good idea to quit the blog. HA! What a crock! I guess my wily tourist self was looking for an out.  I may have felt like quitting but in my heart of hearts this just is not an option. I am in a year long experiment filled with highs and lows and I just hit one of the lows.

Excellent. Now that this is settled it is time to get back to work!

Next Post: A bit of Community Study

My 13 bliss virtues: joy, order, creativity, passion, whimsy, serenity, inquiry, community, romance, gratitude, moxie, humility, surprise
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Ben Franklin's 13 Virtues

  • 1. TEMPERANCE - Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
  • 2. SILENCE - Speak not what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
  • 3. ORDER - Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
  • 4. RESOLUTION - Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
  • 5. FRUGALITY - Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e. waste nothing.
  • 6. INDUSTRY - Lose no time; be always employ'd in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
  • 7. SINCERITY - Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and if you speak, speak accordingly.
  • 8. JUSTICE - Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
  • 9. MODERATION - Avoid extreams; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
  • 10. CLEANLINESS - Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths or habitation.
  • 11. TRANQUILITY - Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
  • 12. CHASTITY - Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or to the injury of your own or another's peace or reputation.
  • 13. HUMILITY - Imitate Jesus and Socrates.


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