This weekend was a visioning event for my community, my family of choice, my tribe. During the time there I went through a lot of different feelings, felt adrift, alone, frustrated, warmed, light, encouraged, inspired, and did I mention frustrated.
It may seem that my mentioning of frustration twice is a negative, it is not, it is reflective of how when you have a group of 40 people who are committed to an entity, to something key to their being, there is a challenge in remembering how different you each are, how you spin in and out of seeing the similarities, and where you go bump in the night against each other's boundaries, fears, and hopes. Growing is not easy, it is hard, frustrating is a good word for that task, and that is largely what I feel like we did this weekend. There is enormous comfort in what we know, a feeling constrained by what there is, a trust that is needed to go beyond in one direction, and retreat in another because it's not quite time to shift.
Perhaps more vulnerably I noted, and spoke of, how I feel at the end of events of my tribe: bereft. I cannot wait for closing circles to end, the antsy, "is it over yet- think of a child desperately asking, "are we there yet?" and you are close to my about-to-jump-out-of-skin feeling as the leader of the circle speaks lovely words about us, our time together, hope for our next gathering. I was asked if I always felt this way. It was hard to think back to my early days, but after a moment of thought, yes, I always hated this part, the looming sense of loneliness, unmoored, naked skin exposed to icy winds. When I remember this, it's amazing I came back into the fold over a dozen years ago and cannot imagine ever deserting this family again. Every weekend event, every camp holds almost every emotion possible for me, and always closes with this mourning. A sense that I did not get everything I could from the experience, that I will never have that opportunity again, that any moment of our time together when I felt bolstered up will never return.
Writing this out, I wonder at what this really points to, and why I ever return. Is it for the fleeting moments of basking in the love that wafts by like a delightful warm autumn breeze surprising you with its caress, unexpected in mid-October with it's scent of summer? Do I hope that one day I will not need these people, so every ending is a hope to not return? Am I recreating something ancient from my childhood? That all seems possible, perhaps likely. Can I live with that truth, that I will never fully heal, that each time with my tribe is like my personal trip to Lourdes, a pilgrimage of faith that each time I leave a bit bit more whole.
This might be my best interpretation of why I plunge in over and over, recommit my time, my energy, and my heart to this group. It is my antidote to my hermit tendencies, it counteracts my drive to be so independent that I stop connections, it stretches my capacity to trust in others. My community is a mirror of my light and my shadow, and it does its best to reflect back to me all that I can still be, and all that community can be.