Siege Diaries 5/27/2020

One thing I continue to realize as the days pass is how important working on projects as part of a community or team is to me. Looking back over the last few weeks, the things that have united a spark of inspiration in me have been those pursuits that were part of larger projects. From filming dance videos or silly skits to doing a small illuminated letter as part of a challenge being pursued by a couple hundred people all over the world, to a painting class with strangers over Zoom, to making masks and PPE, to leading an online workshop, to my renewed enjoyment of Toastmasters, I continue to seek out community in isolation.

And that’s what I think I need to find more of. The creative spark is still there, but I am finding I need a community purpose beyond simply doing something for me and me alone. I need to share. I need to contribute to something greater than myself. I need to be seen, and get feedback, and thereby continue to grow and learn.

I’ve been mulling over the idea of starting some kind of weekly forum for people to share their passions, or to come together to simply talk about ideas. One of the things I am missing most is that opportunity to talk to people and expand my mind through listening to them tell about their own inspirations. But I know people are tired. I can hear it in, for instance, the meetings for the Women’s Initiatives group at work. There is a lot of silence. People are really struggling to find joy. And I worry about imposing my own desires on others.

Just living is taking a lot of effort these days. Fun, intellectual stimulation, or joy are harder to find; instead they must be conjured or summoned up rather artificially. There is ever the sense that what we do is a poor substitute for what was once our lives. We create things to wear to yet-unscheduled events; lost is the eagerness of a hard deadline. We practice group activities alone, isolated voices which strain to harmonize in silence. Here and there, we find doors that might lead us into new rooms, and even open them, but cannot yet step through. That is the true toil of isolation—we want the release we know, the one back to the world whose image still appears before us. We are not ready for the new world, and so we hesitate.

That new world is still scary, and risky, but it is where we will all eventually go. It will need to be accepted, reckoned with. Some things of the old world will not remain in the new. Some things will change. Some will return, but only with time.

I cannot know where I will be in a year’s time. That’s always been true, but in the past, we had plans. But we still can have plans. The challenge is to find a way to pursue the goals that can still be pursued. And the challenge is real. For me, that means continuing to seek out ways to contribute to a sense of community, and to find that feeling of togetherness even though physical presence still remains almost impossible right now.

To quote the WW2 maxim, I need to make do and mend—and in so doing, to strengthen and ultimately create.

One comment

  1. I full-on resonate with how you are amending the soil… in your process journeys with your Self Garden. Just from this post alone, I can imagine a workshop titled, “Amending Your Soil As You Amend the Soil.” Or, simply… “Amending the Soil.”

    Excellent post!


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