Seeking and Fostering Community
Since coming home from Squam Art Workshops, I’ve been thinking alot about community. I think that’s what makes Squam so magical–the community of creative and caring souls, all in one place, wanting the best for each other and themselves, yearning to express themselves, longing to be seen, and holding each other closely. I also think that’s why I loved it so. I’ve been seeking a creative community for some time–a group of people to really see me, to really hear me, to help me dive into new artistic endeavors even though I’m scared and hear the imposter demons in my head.
I’ve only lived in this town for three years and it’s been challenging to find my place. Extroversion and putting myself out there to meet new people is my strong suit, so that hasn’t been the issue. And people here are really very friendly. Friendly hasn’t been the issue either. It’s something else, something that’s hard for me to name. Don’t get me wrong, I have various pockets of friends–my book club, my running group–but not a circle where we talk about “the big things,” where we help one another on our creative journeys and on carving out a balanced life. So, like any self-respecting extrovert, I sought out to create such a group. And this handful of women, are *fabulous.* I love them. And we have done a few creative-y things. But…it’s hard for us to get together. We’re all busy. Life gets in the way. We have other obligations and responsibilities. And then when we do get together, we want and need to catch up. It will have been too long since we’ve last seen each other, so we chat, have wine, connect. And that is fabulous, too. But I’m still wanting the creative bits, the big dreams part, the diving in.
I think that is what finally nudged me into the blogosphere. I was still craving creative connection, and I was reading all of these terrific blogs written by wonderfully imaginative individuals and I was starting to find some semblance of community. I began to connect dots between blogs–I could see that certain bloggers had relationships with other bloggers, that they had created community among themselves. I could sense the ways they were nurturing one another, leaving comments on each others’ blogs, tweeting and re-tweeting their friends’ updated posts. And although it wasn’t my primary motivation for starting Life Refocused, I do think my unconscious mind was working on my search for creative community. And, I’m beginning to find it and feel it.
Since stepping into the other side of blogging, from reader to writer and photographer (dare I name myself!), I now realize more fully the importance of the Comments section. As a reader, I often lurked on blogs, reading my favorites regularly, but very rarely commenting. At the time, I felt like the person writing the blog didn’t know me and would think I was weird or not clever enough in my comments. I didn’t have my own blog to link to, so it wouldn’t be the situation that I described above–you know, the whole inter-blog-love-thing. So I lurked. And every once in a while, I left a comment or two. But now…now, it all seems *so* different. As the writer of a blog, I want people to stop by and I really want them to comment, to say hi, to share if something resonated with them. I so value every person that clicks over to my blog, and I treasure each comment that people take the time to leave. It matters to me. Alot. (See previous post on validation issues.) I am realizing that those comments create community, regardless if the person is someone I know or is someone who has a blog. I’m simply grateful they came by and let me know they did. I’m thankful that people are seeing me, that they are encouraging me on my creative path, that they are sharing a part of themselves.
Because I’ve had this epiphany of late, I want to commit to de-lurking even more. I want to come out from the shadows of the blogs I read, and comment, supporting my fellow bloggers. I want to be intentional about fostering community. After all, it can’t be one-sided such that I’m only seeking creative connection. I want to encourage others on their artful journeys as well. And I hope that some of you will join me in sharing your thoughts and reactions, on my blog and others. Stop by and say, “hi.” You’re always welcome here.
Oh–and my circle of fabulous women here in town, we’re making it work. I have no doubt.
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