Monday, November 11, 2013

Core, Center and Community

Sometimes the themes in real life, like books, are only apparent in retrospect.

Last week's theme was packaged for me by my yoga instructor who summed it all up at my Sunday morning yoga class (my version of religion) by instructing us to find our center. Not just our center, but our core. For anyone who's done any kind of exercise in the last ten years, you know this is a reference to abdominal muscles, but she took it a step further and asked us to think about the core of our beliefs.

What centers us? From where, what or whom do we draw our strength?

As I moved through the yoga asanas, downward dog, upward dog, way too long in plank pose, it occurred to me the core of my being is centered in community.

This week my kids had two days off of school for parent-teacher conferences and so, grudgingly, I decided to take those two days off of writing. We visited museums. Had lunch out. I let them drink soda. It was marvelous.

It was community.

My friendships; the new ones I'm growing in Virginia, like tiny seedlings poking out of the ground, the ones I arrived here with that are fully grown with deep, deep roots and the virtual ones I've created on-line.

Again, community. The kind that makes me feel strong and connected to the world in a way that fills me with the passion required to lock myself away and write hundreds of thousands of words. And then rewrite them. And then rewrite them again. And again and again and again.

The concept of community was highlighted earlier in my week (I told you it was a theme) when I went to a Baptist church in downtown Washington, D.C. to hear Nadia Bolz-Weber speak about her brand of faith. Her words about people who stumble into her church and stay for the community struck a note with me.

I believe we're all in search of one brand of community or another.

Whether it's family, religion, yoga, friends or a mishmash created from all of the above, somewhere inside each of us is a strong desire to connect on a level that delves below the surface.

Which I suppose leads to the obvious question. Where is your center? What fills you up with passion and floats you through life?


Connie J Jasperson said...

Community is a central facet of my life, both as a person and as a writer. Giving back, serving the community, and going home filled with renewed inspiration and zest for life drive me. This is why I support young writers and new writers through my work as a Municipal Liaison for NaNoWriMo (national novel writing month)and why I support the local arts here in my small town!

Julie Flanders said...

My family more than anything, but also my friends and the wonderful people I've been lucky enough to connect with online. It's still surprising to me how much this community has come to mean to me.

Carol Kilgore said...

I never really thought of community, but I suppose it's likely the reason most of us write. The passion to connect to a larger community.

I like when your posts make me think :)

A Beer for the Shower said...

What Carol said. I started off life as a reclusive, homebody writer, and after things started to take off and we started reaching more people, the social aspect became a huge part of it. Connecting with not just readers but other writers is one of the most rewards experiences of writing.

Laura S. said...

Hello, Johanna. This is a wonderfully thought-provoking post. I'm not sure what my center is. Surely it's something I must figure out!

Happy reading and writing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines

Johanna Garth said...

Connie, I had no idea you were the local Nano liaison. How cool!

Julie, I'm always surprised by how much I miss my on-line community when I'm away or too busy to blog.

Carol, I was in think piece mode yesterday ;)

ABFTS, the social aspect of writing is remarkably rewarding!

Hi Laura, thanks and nice to meet you here.

Nicki Elson said...

Oh yes, yes, I totally agree that we all search to belong to some sort of a community. I had this epiphany when a friend joined an atheist group at his college. It struck me as funny because I wondered what they discussed at meetings - everything they don't believe in? But then I got it -- all humans yearn to connect with a larger community, even if that community is essentially based on nothing.

T. L. Cooper said...

I find community necessary to my core as well. I need interaction with people who have myriad backgrounds and offer stimulating conversation and thoughts.
Great post, Johanna!

Crystal Collier said...

Cheese! Okay, but seriously, I'm centered on my family. They are my heart and soul. =)

Anne Gallagher said...

I didn't realize how much "community" I didn't have until I got involved with the PTO at my daughter's school. It's brought me closer to what I really need in my life. Thanks for a great post!

~Sia McKye~ said...

My core is made up of several things but, yes, community comes into it as well.

It's not surprising, really, that people do reach out to a piece of community to belong to. We weren't meant to be solitary loners--which is not to say that style may work for some--but we were meant to be a part of others. What's community except an extended family? Some of those that matter to us, while not blood, we love as if they were. Friends who see or have values similar to us are important, imo.

Sia McKye Over Coffee

Dianne K. Salerni said...

I'm glad that you are building a sense of community in your new home. That would be hard for me. I'm an introvert, and especially if the move was going to be short term and not permanent, I'd want to stick to my house and my computer and the online friends I already have.

That would be the tendency anyway. It sounds like you are NOT doing that. Good for you!

Rachel Schieffelbein said...

Great post. Community is certainly important. I think family would be at my core. I'm from a large and tightly knit family. :)

Barbara Watson said...

My center is my faith.

Morgan said...

You seem like you have it soooo together, Johanna. I respect that so much. I want to be more like you. <3

Beylit said...

My people, which I suppose you could call my community. We normally refer to it as our clan, but they are the thing that is my core for sure.