Like so many others: I have been thinking about the topic of BEING, being a human, what constitutes gratitude, gratitude verses happiness, what the nation is going through, what we as a people stand for, what I as a person want to stand for, what makes me proud and what brings emotions of happiness/sadness, elation or pain. Brain exhausting.
Like so many others: I am clear I have a lot to be grateful for. The glass is full-no matter if it is filled with air, water, emotions, or things, there IS something in there-the empty is if I let it be. I know all that. (I don’t always remember it, but I DO know it to be true.)
We are our thoughts, our actions in many ways define our beings. The world feels particularly chaotic these days, spinning at an uncontrolled speed. Those are two, what I would call, facts. I hope the collective ‘we’, and more personally I/myself, will always be searching, asking questions and concerned about the big picture. At times I am not clear of what I am searching for? Searching for the next human element of that day? Searching for answers? Searching even for the question at times! Searching for the next path. Searching for the next idea. Many of the questions never end, and I suppose that’s a good thing. Somedays it works out better than others. That’s just life.
As we enter the week of Thanksgiving here in N. America, I circle back around to the first sentence of this post. I sit here thinking about what it means to “be”- to be a human, a family member, a co-worker, a friend, a blog writer, a woman with unsolved questions (like us all I assume.) A woman with many things I hope to be able to do/accomplish in the upcoming year(s.) However, right now I am simply a person who just wants to get through the next month of “holidays” without too much frenzy, muss and fuss, and try to experience the joy and wonder that is supposed to be around the next six weeks or so. In truth-not my favorite time of year-but time marches on, and once again, here we go prancing, dancing, and dining into “The Holidays!”
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Polar vortex-and you could be under 7 feet of snow. Emotional Vortex-and you could be under the covers.
The plurals of vortex are vortices and vortexes, those words even sounds like powerful forces. Extreme….Turbulent…The absence of external forces….That’s what makes a vortex. “Once formed, vortices can move, stretch, twist, and interact in complex ways. A moving vortex carries with it some angular and linear momentum, energy, and mass…” –http:// en.wikipedia.org/? title=Vortex
As the N. American world revs up for the beginnings of this “Holiday Season”-it feels as if a very large vortex is forming. Advertisements continually, the weather folks love to tell us how cold it is somewhere, money can seem to fly out the door, expectations (many unrealistic and many self imposed) and everything begins to feels like it’s spinning at warp speed…and yet it is all in slow motion simultaneously. How can that be? As winter approaches we should be slowing down, going inward, as I have said repeatedly before, by now our “internal” work should be close to compleat for this year – not accelerating up!
So where does this spinning vortex come from? External forces are strong! So much goes “extreme” this time of year – overindulging, over abundance, over whelming, over the river and through the woods…just where is it you want to go?
As this Thanksgiving week begins, and so “The Holiday Season” – I wish all my readers a holiday season of peace, safe passages, joy, love, happiness and whatever else you hope for your own self as these days stream through to the end of this year. Remember to try to be content, happy would be great, and keep those vortices at bay as best you can. Breath deep and keep on trucking.
There are so many types of communities we are all part of. The possibilities are somewhat endless: Work is one type, a gym, a book club, an exercise class, a religious affiliation, even an appointment you may have where you see the same people time and time again, a social affiliation, a political group, a farmer co-op. etc…. These days “Community” seems to apply for pretty much any collection of individuals regularly gathered. Is that ‘honest’ to the true meaning of the word? In the broadest sense, I say YES. As our worlds become ever expanding, and yet also smaller simultaneously, (a whole other subject!) these smaller more personal communities are important. We need collections, we need to belong, we need comradeship, and sometimes we just need a group verses ourselves as mountain top individuals. According to Wikipedia – “The word “community” is derived from the Old French communité which is derived from the Latin communitas (com, “with/together” + munus, “gift”), a broad term for fellowship or organized society.”
Community evokes inclusive to all. The opposite, and so a traitor to community is exclusivity. What justifies keeping some one out? A bit problematic for the word, the collected group, the so called community. For instance, a yoga class is most likely not to want high noise, frenetic ‘energy’ folks romping and dancing all over the studio and class- so is that exclusion? No. Most likely no one objects to dancing, and most probably even loves it, but not in this setting. So where does exclusion fall? Part of what community is in todays world is a group of willing, at freewill, like minded people gathered for a common purpose, and for the well being of the group – the community. Easy in a yoga class, not so easy, or necessarily as peacefully, in a group such as a homeowner’s association!
The reason I am writing this post today is I am interested in what we call “a community” in today’s world. I use the world freely and often, and it feels good to be part of a like minded group. People need to feel a sense of belonging to something – a community. A family is a very small possible community. We are not islands, by nature most of us want to be part of something, perhaps even bigger than ourselves, or perhaps just a safe place to land and enjoy some like-minded people. There seem to be two elements to creating such a collection, a community, of people. One option is place– a shared location that focuses on a common element. For instance, every other Wednesday, 2 friends and I gather at a location, and spend a very pleasant couple hours – new people (to us) are there as well, and I now consider that a small and very nice “little community” of in this case, woman. I look forward to it, to seeing the same people to say hello to and chat a bit with. It is the location and activity that bring this group together. The second option is common interest– where the people here are gathered by a belief, an occupation, an orientation, an activity, an even an ethic origin. In thinking about all this I found an interesting article. It is called *THE DIFFERENT DRUM – Community Making Peace by M.Scott Peck, M.D.*http://www.enkindlecommunity.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/True-Meaning-of-community.pdf This article states-
” …A friend correctly defined community as a “group that has learned to transcend its individual differences.” But, this learning takes time, the time that can be bought only through commitment. ” Transcend ” does not mean “obliterate” or “demolish.” Lt literally means “to climb over. The achievement of community can be compared to the reaching of a mountaintop.
Perhaps the most necessary key to this transcendence is the appreciation of differences. In community, instead of being ignored, denied, hidden, or changed, human differences are celebrated as gifts.”
So, as this year of 2013 draws to a close- maybe we can celebrate the gifts… join in all the communities you want, partake to the fullest if you so desire… and enjoy all our difference. That sounds like a good way to end one year, and a fabulous way to begin a new year. Together with gifts– (back to French origin) – The gifts of the differences of us all- the wonders of belonging and sharing in a community. Here’s to New Year of acceptance and joy of our communities and gifts they bring us.
A few days ago I was at my ‘other job’ and I want to share what I think is a fabulous reminder of holidays and meaning. The morning started out as usual with a good morning and ‘how are you’ conversation with my first lesson of the day. The man said something to the likes of “I’m good we are getting ready to celebrate one of my 2 favorite holidays.” I have met this gentleman at work a few times, and I knew he was a ‘good guy’ but his answer was so great that it has prompted this blog post. I said “I too like Thanksgiving, it is actually one of my favorite holidays, no big pressures, the hype is low (all that stuff seems to go to that other very big winter holiday that the world seems to love so much and the retailers can’t get enough of.) This one is about family/friends, some good food, and hopefully a nice day.” Well my answer pales to his. He said, simply and elegantly …”Yes that’s all true, but my two favorite holidays in N. America are July 4th and Thanksgiving… because on July 4th we celebrate freedom here in the USA and on Thanksgiving, everyone hopefully has something to be thankful for.” I couldn’t agree more and thought it was a wonderful answer and reminder of the true reasons for many holidays. I add a tiny bit more , and they get to stop and think about it for a moment. So the obvious question of the day…. just what are you thankful for? No need to tell me or the world…just always a good question to think about. Happy Thanksgiving… and for those that celebrate it- Happy Hanukkah as well!