Breathing In Community

Reflections often come to me after sitting through meetings or gatherings with intention to organize around community. Even outside of comfortable parameters, these types of meetings can stir up energy, though which particular flavor it will be is dependent on how well the communication transverses between individuals.

Currently my thought streams are taking dives into all the puddles of community I have jumped into, particularly within the last 5 or 6 years. My experience as a community organizer is relatively juvenile, though I’ve tried to expose myself to different settings over time. This exposure has been with hope to gain a better awareness of where my ideologies lay, which may or may not be an exact science in the end. At the same time, I’m just stepping back into heavier organizing as I’ve had to take some time to reflect on these experiences and my life in question.

And so, this evening, as I drove home, I realized a simple concept.

I need community- much like I need water, or air. It is something that I cannot exist without, and would not chose to either. Through any ups and downs, my gratitude for my community glows. I breathe in community, and I breathe out community.

To be an effective community organizer, one must try to replicate the lungs that fill our chests and give rise to our voices. We must be able to balance breathing in, expanding, filling, and taking, as we must be able to breathe out, contracting, emptying, and giving. Sometimes, these fluctuations are grand movements, and other times, they are minor shifts. But together, they give continuous vitality to our purpose. If we stop breathing, that purpose dies. We exist, but without meaning. 

This was an incredible revelation for me, as often guilt has encompassed my desire to step outside the realm of active organizing and into the realm of passive support. My energies at time ebb and flow so dramatically between attending as many meetings as possible, or the need for self care, reading, and solitude.

It occurs in this way that is partially why we have seen such standstills in our country, the uneven exchange of air being recycled through our beings. Or why we often seem to find a frenzy of information seeking after a dramatic blow to our system- that sharp intake that kicks us into gear and forces us to exhale. Or those marathons where we find that we need those frequent little inhales to allow us to push through.

The sooner we become aware of this need, and allow ourselves to connect to it, hopefully the more empowered our communities can become. In these times, it is definitely a necessity.