When my relationship ended in April, I felt at loose ends. The routines, love and companionship I’d enjoyed over the previous year and a half, went away. I spent a dark night or two or six wondering what to do with myself, how much I could lean on my friends and if I could get away to visit family. I felt alone again. I know introverts traditionally embrace solitude, but personally, I need and want secure and steady relationships as much as I need and want time to myself. I love engaging intimately with treasured humans. My being soars when I get to volley back and forth between connecting and contemplation. Since the breakup, I’ve intentionally sought out and unexpectedly been invited to a few rich and meaningful communities.
I couldn’t sit and wait for others to come to me. Everyone is busy. Today we all have to be fairly assertive with our requests for someone’s time. Most of my life I hung back and waited for people to choose me, but in the last ten years I’ve stopped that. I know I have to lead my life.
Spiritual community, yay!
So I searched the amazing internet for spiritual communities that aligned with my beliefs. I’m a spiritual person with a mishmash of experience with organized religion. I chose a progressive church near me. The first service I attended was the week after Prince’s death. They played his music and mentioned him in the message for the week. I’ve been wholeheartedly welcomed there. I meet new people every week. They read poetry and quote writers and psychologists. We wear name tags. These are my people. I’ve been brought to tears several times during the services. I am so moved. I feel at home there.
Poetry reading, yes!
My dear writing friend, Jennifer, loves poetry. She wanted to find others who loved to read and share poems. She started a Meetup group. I admire Jennifer for having the chutzpah to create what she wanted. She went for it and found other poetry lovers. Last week I attended one of the meetings. There were ten of us in a performance art building in the city. We could read our own material or the work of others. This time I read others’ work including, Surviving by Maya Angelou which is perfectly poignant for me at this time, but I was so inspired by the originals shared by group members that I plan to bring my poem(s) next meeting. There were heartbreaking vulnerable poems and giggly irreverent poems. After each poem reading we sat in silence to savor the feelings evoked. The group was ultra respectful and only offered positive feedback. It is a safe place to be deeply moved by words. These are my people.
Neighborhood friends, count me in!
After volunteering at my son’s rowing regatta, where I admittedly felt a bit out-of-place with the other athletic and efficient parents, I went home to an empty house. I walked outside to put a letter in the mailbox and ran into my new neighbor. I invited her in for a cool drink. We sat at my kitchen table for two hours! She’s a lovely and young 60-something (one of the elders I mentioned). She’s led a fascinating life of love, travel and performing. She’s a wonderful storyteller and not afraid to drop an f-bomb here and there. She studies people and relationships. She is my people.
At the end of her visit she mentioned getting several of us neighborhood ladies together for lunch. I hope she makes it happen. It would be wonderful to have another circle of neighborhood friends who get together regularly. I have friends in the neighborhood but in the last few years it’s been harder and harder to coordinate schedules. I admit I’m part of the problem. When I have my children I don’t go out. When they are not with me, I either stay home and recharge or spend it with a date or other friends. No matter the excuses, I miss that camaraderie.
Don’t worry about me, I’m full
The nice thing about engaging in communities is that then partners or family do not have to fill all of our needs. They don’t have to be your everything. A partner doesn’t feel pressured to entertain me or listen to my every word, nor do I feel obligated to do the same for him. We can get filled up within our home and outside of it.
My message this week is to consider entering into a new community, even if you are extremely introverted. Like-minded people energize us. We have to do less reconciling between our outer worlds and our inner worlds when we spend time with others who enjoy similar activities and put us at ease.
What communities do you belong to? How do they benefit you? How did you find them?
If you’d like help finding communities to enhance your way of being, please contact me for guidance and coaching. I’d love to help you find places that feel like home.