9 September 2011
things I know :: community
We just aren't meant to live like we do, I reckon. Each of us in our own house with our own car, each child in their own room, with their own i-thingamy. Families are spread across country, Grandparents, aunties and uncles working or traveling or busy with life. Perhaps on polite "hello" terms with the neighbours, but nothing more, sometimes less. Each of us heading off to work to pay for our houses and cars and i-thingamies and outsourcing things like care of our gardens, houses, pets, children... Surely the focus is wrong. The stuff and the things don't matter as much as the people who live in and use them. What matters is the connection. Right? Well that's what I thought after I had my first baby, bought my first house and had to head off to work to pay for it all... And because I was a bit lonely. I'm actually quite introverted. Not much of a people person, but they needed me at work... and as much as I was needed at home, it felt nice to be needed by more people than just one tiny person. And it was overwhelming sometimes too, being home with her. But leaving her felt wrong too. So wrong. I wanted so much to be with her every day... There had to be a better way. It takes a village. A tribe. But how do you find it?
We moved to Tasmania, kissed family goodbye and set up home. We had to try and find some sort of support. Make some connections with people we didn't know. Where do you begin? Most of the friends I've come to know here, I've known online first. Finding an online community was wonderful, informative and nurturing, but still not helping me day to day, in a practical sense. I needed to make it a real life community. At first I found a couple of like minded families to meet up with. Then a homebirth community and a school community which later became a home school, earthy-birthy community. For a while we spent days in the park watching our children play. The owlets would always make it a goal to make one new friend each time. Nurturing those friendships was perhaps not as easy as making them. It takes time to get to really know people. To let them into your tribe...
These days, I meet monthly in my nest with a group of amazing women for a women's circle for time to ourselves, to connect with each other, build friendships, release and feel nurtured. For the world to just stop for a moment. I'm so grateful for it. For them. But some days are hard and the world doesn't stop and I'm finding I need much more support in my weeks, to help them flow. And what I've noticed is the more that you let people help you, the more you help them, the more you just spend time doing regular stuff, the closer you become.
So, after a couple of years of hibernation, waiting for Tiny Owlet, and an all-over the place winter of sickness in our nest, I'm making Spring a time for building even more community for myself and my family. For making a concerted effort to strengthen those friendships. So that on the toughest days we don't feel alone. Not just for our little family, but the amazing women, children, families we spend our time with. We all deserve community...
Brown Owls is how we're building some creative community to nurture our love of making and designing things... Then yesterday, some friends and I held our first MamaBake. Our children, aged between 9mths and 8yrs, all played while we cooked meals for our families. SO many meals! We filled the fridge and that's just my family's stash! We have food to nurture us through those tough days where we don't feel like cooking. And it's made with love. For our own families and each other. For one day we parented and cooked together and it felt like the beginning of a village. Hooray for that!
Next up is a regular group for our owlets to find their community. I'm looking forward to families growing together, learning together. Just having fun! What a beautiful example for the owlets to witness too. People working together... I've also got little seeds of other ideas; a gardening group among our families, perhaps some volunteer work at the local organic co-op, inviting the neighbour over for a cuppa... There's so much to do when you stop and think about it! So many friends to make. A whole village to build!
Do you have support? A village around you? Do you seek it?
Maybe you'd like to start up a Brown Owls or a MamaBake group too?
Read up on what some other wise peeps know about other things over here. And have a wonderful weekend! xx