There was a long time in my life where I didn’t belong. I thought there wasn’t a place for me. After way too much heart ache and inability to allow myself to be a part of community I finally recognized that through my inability to allow others to support me I was limiting my ability to be a part of something bigger than myself. It was an interesting dichotomy of not allowing myself to be supported and wanting desperately to be supported. After years of working on my self-worth and ability to be vulnerable I found myself surrounded by people that were willing to support me (emotionally/spiritually) as long as I was willing to let them: community.
Through my process I have found what it means to be supported by community and what it means to support community. These things are equal in my belief of community. I need to put in as much as I get out, support as much as I am supported and love as much as I am loved. Truth be told I will only get out as much as I put in.
In the communities I am in (this includes casual friendships, family, charities, spiritual/religious organizations or non-profit groups) I know that the more I give the more I receive and when I allow the web of community to catch me I am also building it up. I practice forgiveness and acceptance to keep the web strong. I allow other members to be whom and where they are. I have learned to not keep score of perceived harms, or anything other people may do that I don’t agree with. For me, it is useful to not take things personally and if there is a perceived judgement or harm I openly ask if that was the intention before assuming it was so that we can both gain clarity. With all of this I find the ability to let others be themselves and I can be myself.
There have been times in groups where I have seen individuals so concerned about what other people are doing they bring judgement and fear to the group and therefore break down the web. I think there are times when we all do that. I know this is easy to do and I have seen this break down communities. To me being in community means that I bring my full self to the group and come from a place of service and love and I receive the same in return. I accept the fullness of others and embrace what they bring to the table and I know that it is in their fullness and my fullness that the web is complete.