Monday, April 20, 2015

Quo Vadimus

The title for today's blog was borrowed from the final episode of Sports Night, that aired May 16, 2000—a terrific comedy/drama/sports show written by Aaron Sorkin that (tragically) lasted only two seasons, because Sorkin was unable to stay on top of both it and West Wing simultaneously. Sometimes you have to make choices when your plate overfloweth—of which more anon.

The title is Latin for "Where are we going?" This could mean as a species, as a culture, as a group trying to figure out where to eat, or for me personally—who thinks in terms of the community "we" (as opposed to the royal one).

A couple months ago the bottom fell out of my "we" when Ma'ikwe announced that she wanted out of our marriage. Now, cut loose from the foundation of my primary relationship, I am also trying to figure out where home is. Ma'ikwe has invited me to continue living at Dancing Rabbit, and that's a viable option with many pluses, not the least of which is that many people here have told me that they'd like me to stay.

Yet where's the bedrock? I've dedicated almost two-thirds of my life to community building and I believe in it, both personally and societally. While I can imagine a life alone (in a studio apartment where I'd have a large desk, filing cabinets, book shelves, a comfortable chair, a small kitchen, enough open floor space for yoga, and a good bed), it would lack flavor and stimulation.

My work can travel with me wherever I go (as long as I have a reliable internet signal I can compose reports, maintain correspondence, and bang out blogs just about anywhere), and often I travel for work (teaching, facilitating, and consulting). While it's thus helpful to be based reasonably near an Amtrak station, that doesn't eliminate much of the country (well, maybe South Dakota and Wyoming).

So what are the elements of home that are most precious? At root, community is about relationships and human connections. It is being there for each other in time of need; sharing the joys and sorrows of life; eating together; exchanging observations of the day; bouncing ideas off each other. There should be a lot of laughter.

I'm clear I want to keep my life rooted in community, where relationships will be my primary security and base of support. Thus, I want to make a choice where the relationships are strong; where I feel seen, respected for my work, and able to give to others in proportion to what I receive. It would be a bonus if I could discuss my work with community mates, though not essential. While Dancing Rabbit has the potential to be that place, I have compelling connections in a number of other places across the country, and I'm leaning toward exploring what's possible with dear friends I already have and trying to build community with them—rather than trying to build the relationships in the community in which I'm already located.

This means taking a break from my residency at Dancing Rabbit, to see what's out there. Because I came to the community (in November 2103) as Ma'ikwe's guest and was focused on our relationship and our home, I never got around to applying for residency and thus have no official standing in the community anyway. So it's a natural point to pause and consider reconfigurations. Though I have opportunities now that I wasn't looking for, they are opportunities nonetheless and it's up to me to make the most of them.

Two other factors here are:

a) My tenderness at sharing Moon Lodge with Ma'ikwe while we're both home (which has only been the case since Thursday—for the first 10 weeks after Ma'ikwe announced her decision to dissolve the marriage one or both of us has been on the road). This building is filled with memories of our being together, and those have come alive with Ma'ikwe's presence. Though she's doing nothing provocative, tears are never far from the surface. Exploring community options elsewhere would help me heal.

b) I feel reasonably confident that I can return to Dancing Rabbit and start my residency fresh if that seems like the best choice. (Sometimes absence makes the heart grow fonder, and the full value of assets of where you are does not emerge clearly until seen in the rear view mirror.)

While I'm going to sit with this idea of exploring elsewhere for another couple weeks, that's the way the wind is blowing right now. My good friends Maria Stawsky and Joe Cole live in Chapel Hill NC and have a third floor month-to-month rental unit in their house that becomes available the end of May. I think I'll try there first.

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