I've really felt the urge to be connecting with people lately. I always feel best when I'm with my close friends or family and really connecting. Everyone is present, sharing what's happening in their lives and listening intently. There is an easy, relaxing flow of back and forth.
I grew up with a community like that around me all of the time. As a young kid my mother and I* lived upstairs from her best friend, Sharon. Sharon had 5 kids of her own and it was a smorgasbord of fabulous kid fun growing up. My mom's other best friend lived across the street, and there were always parties, pot-lucks and gatherings. Us kids spent most of those gatherings doing serious spy-work, reporting back to command and conducting secret missions to swipe more cookies off the dessert table. We lived in a world that felt fully independent, completely our own for the making and endlessly fun.
It's this kind energy in a group that makes me feel most at peace and happy. Everyone is together and at ease. No one is overbearing or dominating the conversation. People flow in and out of conversations with each other. If there are kids**, they are running around with the collective group's eye on them, but no one parent hovering.
I've always been after this elusive community feeling. In my 20's I started "church shopping." This was not so much because I wanted to find God, but I because I felt like church offered a sense of community that can be so hard to find these days. In college, I loved coming home to the knit shop my mom, aunts and grandmother used to go to. All of the women would sit around the center table, knitting, talking and laughing. Even now, I go to regular yoga classes and yoga retreats to see the same smiling yogi faces and feel a part of a community.
I'm starting to toy with the idea that instead of looking for community and finding it in something else, that maybe I should start creating it myself. I'm not sure what that means or how to do it, but I'm thinking I'll make it my secret mission - perhaps I can enlist some serious young spies to help me out...
*My mother was a single mom, but don't worry, my dad is the bees knees and rocked the whole dad thing entirely. In fact, I have an abundance of amazing parents. More on that another time.
**For the most part, there aren't many kids at my friend gatherings right now, but I have a feeling that is going to change soon and fast!