Thursday, January 2, 2014

online community life cycles & letting go to nurture spiritual self


I've spent most of my adult life longing for spiritual community. I've wandered from the public pagan community, to Reclaiming, to solo, to a coven. I've done online communities, Unitarian, and small tight knit communities.

I've participated in women only and mixed gender communities. I've participated in spiritual communities, artsy communities, cultural, academic and mama based communities.

In the end I've always found that it comes down to the same thing... communities live and die by the natures of the people within them and the members' willingness to work together to build something bigger than themselves. More often than not I've found that this is only able to be sustained so long before politics, egos and/or human nature gets in the way. A strong community will find a way to rebuild because its members value what it offers them collectively whilst weaker communities will inevitably tumble because the center cannot hold on a community without something worth fighting for.

Truth be told, I find this evolution of community to be quite fascinating. Each and every community that I have participated in, to some extent, has followed this pattern. Each and every one of them has brought something beautiful or necessary into my life.

As we ring in 2014, I am saying goodbye to a few communities in my life while welcoming in a few others, namely leaving a bunch of my online communities in favour of in real life communities. The process is sad but necessary. I am starting to feel like my online communities (facebook most significantly) are eating into my daily existence at the expense of real life. While I am nostalgic and thankful for the communities that have brought so much into my life, I am excited about dedicating the year ahead to following my own heart and listening to my own voice.

Too much time online has left me feeling a bit empty (even while also feeling fulfilled) because I spend more time reading the comments and lives of others instead of going out and living my own life. Instead of doing yoga, I'm facebook chatting. Instead of doing artistic endeavours, I'm in a forum getting caught up in others' dramas. All of which dampens my ability to be present in my own life, to hear my own spiritual guides and truths.

Since slowly weaning and then going cold turkey on some of my online communities I've been feeling like my inner voice is going strong and I'm happy to reconnect with her. Letting go of all the surfeit of voices has definitely been part of the process of me being able to hear her more clearly and me being able to reconnect with some of the creative practices that nourish my soul.

So I'm welcoming in 2014 with the goal of engaging in my own life and building in real life communities. It probably won't come as a surprise to you that I'm going to kill the Aradia's Cauldron facebook page (I hardly use it anyways) and my Faye Dewell page.

Ironically I suspect that this will also mean that I'm able to be here in this space more than I have been of late because I'll actually be creating a practice and art to reflect that practice. I won't lie. I'm pretty excited about that!


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