First of all let’s define the word community. According to Merriam Webster the term community means, “a unified body of individuals” Within this there are various subcategories of what a community can mean; a community of people living together, a community of people with similar interests, a group linked with a similar vision or outlook. Many people have found online communities through the means of Facebook an Twitter. Social media can have its downsides but there are some positives too. Community can mean many things to many people. You may be part of several communities with different interests, e.g I am part of a writing community, a spiritual community, a homeschooling community and an online offgrid community.
Why are we seeking community?
One thing lockdown showed many people is that we need human connection and interaction. Whilst many stayed at home, couldn’t see friends or relatives the importance of how much we need to feel connected to other human beings grew.
How do we find community?
This may sound simplistic and maybe not the answer you were looking for, but it starts within. When you know what you want from a community, what community looks like and really start to reflect on this answer for yourself it becomes easier to find like minded individuals of similar values, belief systems. You may love gardening for example and find a local group you can exchange seeds with or swap plants. Whilst many of us may dream of living in a community, often we seek externally for one. Is there one already established that I can join? Yes there is, but how do you know if it’s the right one for you? This is when you have to know yourself and be true to who you are.
Community begins within ourselves. Ask yourself what do I want from being part of a community? What can I offer to a community? When we know ourselves, we begin to have a knowing of what feels right and what doesn’t. If you find yourself in a space that isn’t aligned, allow yourself permission to walk away or change your mind. Sometimes our head will tell us one thing, and our heart the other. There are many established communities across the UK and some which are in the very beginning stages. My good friend Kate, who you can find me interviewing here, is setting up a community in South West Scotland. This is something I would love to do, but my heart says I need to be around York for now. When an opportunity presents itself, we have to ask is this the right path for me right now? does this feel aligned with my goals and dreams?
This evening I was invited to a Spring Equinox ceremony/ birthday party. I first met this group of people back in 2018. I kept getting told about this place I had to visit. When I first visited I was welcomed with open arms. This evening, I felt like I was home. The welcomes as warm as they were four years ago. Food to share, fires lit, music played. Conversations had, connections made with old friends and new. Releasing fears & hurts into the fire. Allowing myself to voice my truths, showing up authentically with love and so many hugs. This community of people hold space for me to be me, and for that I have immense gratitude. How did I find them? I listened. I listened to the signs that kept telling me to connect to the space. I drove myself over, not knowing anyone but with a willingness to learn, to connect and to grow. From that initial step relationships begin to be built, trust is formed, laughter had and tears to be shed. When we have an openness to others, it bonds us. don’t get me wrong, it’s not the easiest thing in the world. When I went to my first women’s circle back in 2015, I remember thinking how strange is was that strangers would share their deepest feelings with strangers. Now I think how strange is it not to share our feelings with others.
Community for me begins in our hearts. We have a passion for something and by following our hearts, community will come to you. You may seek externally for community but it starts within each one of us. When I get asked where can I find community? Listen to your intuition. Follow where you are guided and if you can’t find one, start your own. When I first went through a spiritual awakening and dark night of the soul, I set up an online community for other spiritual beings on Facebook, Consciousness Arising. A space to share thoughts an experiences, so no one felt crazy or alone when it was happening to them. When I have been through challenging situations I reach out to those who have been through similar and am instantly accepted into a community.
I set up Temple Woman as a community benefit society to empower other women to reconnect to their inner knowing. A group of us are currently working together to cocreate and collaborate on a variety of initiatives. If you want to become part of the communities I have create, amazing. If they on’t feel aligne no worries. I woul love to hear your thoughts on community & wish for all of us to fin what we are looking for.