Finding Community

Last Sunday I took a long drive. In search of slightly cooler air and a change of scenery, I headed north in search of pine trees and water. There’s a historic and picturesque little town about three hours north of Tucson called Prescott. It’s always been kind of an idyllic place for me, so after I flipped a coin whether to go North or South. North won, and because I could avoid the fires blazing east of me, I decided on Prescott.

I love the open road. I love a change in scenery and I especially love leaving my home, which is also my place of business, as often as I can. Since air travel is now less appealing, and likely to be that way for the next year or so, I have taken up the cause to do many mini road trips throughout the remainder of the year.

So what does a solo road trip have to do with finding community? A solo road trip sounds like just the opposite of finding community. But for me, it was the first step on the journey to find the right community for me.

A road trip a really good way to listen to audio books without distractions or chores calling to me. On Sunday I finished Tribe of Mentors, by Tim Ferriss. I had started the book on my trip to Taos, New Mexico a few weeks earlier but still had about ten hours to complete the book and listening at home just wasn’t happening. The goal of this road trip was to finish the book. Thankfully I succeeded.

What was overwhelmingly the most common thread with most of the mentors was that they practiced transcendental meditation. I’ll admit, growing up in a very conservative protestant world, I did think of TM as a wacky religion, so I definitely held some unfounded resistance to even looking into it. But the more I listened to these scientists, thought leaders, extraordinary athletes, the more compelled I was to research it when I got home. I have to tell you I felt like such an idiot once I learned how truly simple a practice it is. Why, the resistance? I have no idea. It seems like the height of ignorance on my part.

In addition to learning about TM, I had committed myself to start investing in my writing practice. As I was doing research, I came across an ad for a free 5-day course called Every Day is a Poem with Jacqueline Suskin on a site called Commune. This seemed like a perfect opportunity to dip my toe in the pool.

I finished the course today and I even came away with a few new poems prompted by the course. But more importantly, I also found a community of like-minded people, focused on emotional and spiritual growth, and physical health. It’s very interactive and friendly. The people I’ve met so far, have made me feel engaged and more empowered.

We’re living in a world of such chaos and distrust and division. Separated from people we love for safety’s sake. It is such a blessing to be able to find people online, whose only desire is to connect and grow.

It’s amazing how a solitary act can lead to such a sense of community.

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