I recently attended the World Domination Summit, #WDS2013, with close to 3,000 other pilgrims from all over the world who are captivated by Chris Guillebeau and his “The Art of Non-Conformity” manifesto. I have to confess that I knew nothing about Chris or this Summit until a friend invited me to experience what happens when a bunch of post-moderns who are interested in adventure, community and service get together. In short, it was like an Amway convention on steroids! But I digress…
One afternoon I found myself sitting in a circle with folks that I had never met before and will never see again. We began a conversation about how to create community. I came to learn that many in that circle expressed their high value for freedom through travel to the point where they had no permanent address. They talked about the expat communities that they were able to connect with throughout their travels, but every time they returned to their places of origin they had a difficult time finding a group of folks that resonated with their values. They shared that they have friends all over the world but what they really long for is a friend who they can have a beer with just down the street.
Even though I have a permanent address I understand that primal yearning for deep connection. It is how we are wired as humans. I, too, have friends all over the world. I live thousands of miles away from my extended family and I have moved multiple times across the country in my adult life. I, too, want to make a family of friends right where I live now.
Then I spoke up and said, “I think building that kind of community rooted where you live takes time. It takes time for the making of common stories that build a sense of trust and history together.” With that comment I got a resounding negative response that went something like this, “It is easy to build community on my blog and I feel connected to my subscribers.” “Look, we have just created a community of 3,000 people at this 2 day summit. I love you guys.”
As I listened more, I began to understand that my concept of community might be different than many of the folks in that room.
I want to be rooted in a community that allows me to be a part of that casserole and beer brigade as you marry, have children, get divorced, or mourn the loss of your loved ones. I want to be a part of a community that stretches me beyond my comfort zone and helps me to grow in the ways of love and peace. I want to be a part of a community that not only dreams about what the preferred future looks like in my city but works to make that a reality.
So what is that sweet spot along the continuum of freedom and community?
I guess it depends on how I find my freedom. If I chose to travel as an expression of freedom maybe the best I can hope for is a fleeting sense of community with those I meet along the way.
But what if I found my freedom in Grace? What if I set my life adventure as a journey of embracing my belovedness and living into my God-inspired fullness? What if I experienced my creativity as a conspiring with the life-force of the universe and the help of my friends? And what if I belonged to such a community that helped me to stay awake to the sacrament of every breath that I take?
That is a kind of freedom that keeps me connected to my spirit, my community, my passion and my joy. That is the kind of sweet spot that I am claiming as I join my friends in creating a network of such communities in Portland, Oregon called Zacc’s house PDX. Adventure in a community serving others — you betcha!