This week's prompt: community
I have so many thoughts about community that I don't even know where to begin. I've mentioned before that I started this blog in an effort to try to build community and I'll be honest, I'm thrilled beyond belief by how much this space has grown since I started it. All of you help make this project (both artistic & community building) what it is, and for that I thank you all.
Gratitude expressed: check! Now on to some thoughts on community I've been mulling over for a while now.
It's interesting to me how we (society, pagans, artists, etc) use the internet as a means to create community. And the internet can be an amazing thing, helping us reach out to connect with others around us and find like minded friends. Given that many of us are walking a path that we may or may not be open about, or living in situations where it's hard to find people who share similar beliefs, we can often feel like the odd (wo)man out. The eccentric one with the different ideas about faith, identity, etc., which means that I think that the sense of longing for community is a common theme amongst most pagans because community is a little bit challenging for us at times. Hence the popularity of pagan sites on the web. Hence the fact that many bloggers often make comments about needing some time away from their online community because they've not been spending enough time with the people in front of them.
But I also think that given that many of us a little off the beaten path, we might be used to being the lone wolf and as such, find it challenging to build community with others. No, this is not say that we're all social lepers cause we're not. I'm sure all of you have amazing friend groups and all that. What I'm thinking about is the explosive nature of some many public groups/gathering. Public groups disintegrate so often in our “community” that it amazes me. It seems like we’re loners a bit, a little different (or a lot) so we’re used to existing on the sidelines, but because of this, we don’t always play well with others.
Ultimately I think the challenge lies in the fact that we long for community but we are vehement about safeguarging our individuality at the same time. This can be contradictory to community building and sometimes it strikes me that part of the reason we (all of us) now find it harder to have a sense of community is because we are not so comfortable with communal thinking, sacrifices, or traditions.