What should young people do with their lives today? Many things, obviously. But the most daring thing is to create stable communities in which the terrible disease of loneliness can be cured. ~Kurt Vonnegut Jr., Palm Sunday: An Autobiographical Collage
Over the last few weeks I have written to you about individuation/self-actualization and three parts (Release, Revolution (The Goo), Reclamation) of this process as I see it.
In these emails you may get the impression that this is solitary work, work we do off on our own. But just as Inanna needed the help of the Ninshubar, we too need the support and help of community in our own individual processes of taking off our cultural and familial leashes.
We humans are social creatures. We always have been. Throughout evolution we have relied on our communities for support, for protection, for security, for the accumulation of resources and the meeting of our basic needs (such as food, water, shelter, a sense of safeness, and a sense of belonging).
In most cases, except those rare instances, when we wander off by ourselves into the wild, we die.
I deeply believe this is also true of this deep inner work of unearthing, unraveling, and unlearning; of release, revolution, and reclamation :: we need our community. Not to do the work for us, no, only we can do that. Rather to support us, to hold us, to mirror back to us, as we move through it all. To accept as as we are, while also encouraging us to dig deep and unravel and bring those hidden, those stuffed down, those forgotten or ignored parts of us into the light.
This community can look however we need it to look. Perhaps it it includes our therapist (I know mine does!), close, sister-like friends, family, intimate partners. Any and all of the people who “get it.”
Sometimes the communities we need to gather around us as we do this work, are doing their own work at the same time, in tandem, right along side us. So we can both witness and be witnessed, see and be seen, hear and be heard.
And sometimes, for whatever reasons, just the right person or people enter into our lives at just the right moment, and then for any and all of the reasons, they are only with us briefly.
Community can look like any of these things. It can be fluid. It can be solid. It can sway and be deeply rooted like a willow tree.
As I mentioned in the first essay of this series, one of our basic human needs is that of belonging. Without our sense of belonging (and safety, and having needs of food, water, shelter met), we cannot do this deeper inner work. We need to feel a part of something. We need to feel that we matter to our community in some way.
This need can, of course, go wonky on us. The whole reason cults work is based on this need for belonging. Those aren’t the kinds of communities I’m talking about.
It is important, that our communities, where we find our belonging, are ones that encourage our own growth, that encourage us to question the “authorities”, that invite us to do differently, and still be accepted and included.
It is in these kinds of communities, where we find something akin to unconditional (within some amount of reason) love and acceptance. These kinds of communities where we feel we are fine just as we are. These kinds of communities where we don’t have to do or be exactly like everyone else in order to belong.
Those are the kinds of communities that allow us the space to do this deep work of unraveling our cultural conditioning, of unearthing those generations old stories of how we are too much and not enough and unworthy and undeserving.
It is only in these consent-based, non-authoritarian communities where we can truly and deeply do this work. (I’ll be writing more on authoritarianism in my next essay/video series).
And it is with this love, this support, this loving encouragement for us to move outside our own comfort zones and boxes, that we can truly thrive.
I talk more about this in the 14 minute video below ::
This essay and video series is in part to share with you the topics we’ll be unearthing, unraveling, and unlearning in the six month circle Becoming Unleashed. We begin September 22. If you are interested, you can learn more and request an application here. xoxo
To read the other essays and view the other videos in this series, click the links below ::