Community. Somewhere, there are people to whom we can speak with passion without having the words catch in out throats. Somewhere a circle of hands will open to receive us, eyes will light up as we enter, voices will celebrate with us whenever we come into our own power. Community means strength that joins our strength to do the work that needs to be done. Arms to hold us when we falter. A circle of healing. A circle of friends. Someplace we can be free.
Writing and reading decrease our sense of isolation. They deepen and widen and expand our sense of life: they feed the soul. When writers make us shake our heads with the exactness of their prose and their truths, and even make us laugh about ourselves or life, our buoyancy is restored. We are given a shot at dancing with, or at least clapping along with, the absurdity of life, instead of being squashed by it over and over again. It’s like singing on a boat during a terrible storm at sea. You can’t stop the raging storm, but singing can change the hearts and spirits of the people who are together on that ship.
~Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life
Tomorrow I head a couple of hours east to spend Thanksgiving with my family. We will eat too much, and though there have been sad and somber transitions in our family in the past year, we are sure to laugh a lot, and we will be glad to have this time with each other.
It has been an emotional year for me, with lots of changes, lots of soul-searching, lots of digging deep to find faith in the face of scary stuff, and then going back to dig even deeper when more was needed. Yet in the midst of all this, there has been a sweetness, a warmth. I have made new friendships and renewed and deepened old ones, and I have extended my roots into and felt myself surrounded and nurtured by my community, both “real” and virtual. I have felt embraced, even in my most difficult moments, knowing on some level that I am somehow being held by this web of people near and far.
Thank you, dear readers, for being a part of my web. You have honored me by choosing to “follow” me as I make my way, sometimes haltingly, through this maze that is my life. I am glad for your companionship, and I am grateful for your time and attention, your insights and your encouragement. I look forward to sharing the next part of the journey with you. Namaste.
Photo credit unknown
There is a tribe in Africa where the birth of a child is not counted from when they’ve been born, nor from when they are conceived, but from the day that the child was a thought in the mother’s mind.
And when a woman decides she will have a child, she goes off and sits under a tree by herself, and she listens until she can hear the song of the child that wants to come. And after she’s heard the song, she comes back to the man who will be the child’s father, and teaches it to him. And then, when they make love and physically conceive the child, some of that time they sing the song of the child, as a way to invite it.
And then when the mother is pregnant, she teaches that child’s song to the midwives and the old women of the village, so that when the child is born, the women and the people around her sing the child’s song to welcome it. Continue reading