Sunday, September 19, 2010

Living in Community

Happiness is... living in community.

Of course many things can make us happy. Simply looking up can help. Or smiling. Or singing. Or dancing. Or painting. Or visiting a friend or relative. Or helping a neighbor.

Today, though, I want to mention living in community, for it seems to me we Americans are hungry for social connections that expand our circle of acquaintances and friendships.

We yearn for community, don't we?

I can attest to how good living in community feels. I’ve had two weekends full.

 Last weekend I spent Saturday at the Wine Country Ukulele Festival with my uke friends from Sebastopol.

The very next day I bicycled down to our Community Center where my friend, Jim Corbett, was leading a celebration of Peace. I spent all of Sunday afternoon there. I sang in the Love Choir. We sang for the first hour or so. Then we had some speeches by local politicians from the Mayor of Sebastopol to our Representative in Congress.

The Lovies perform for Jim Corbett's Peace Gathering

I joined a huge drum circle playing for more than an hour a rhythmical “Bo Diddley” beat on my new ukulele, migrating by mid afternoon to a poetry circle, and ending the day listening to Ma Muse perform in the main hall.

This weekend I spent the Saturday at the Renaissance Fair supporting our local schools. What a success!

Sarah and Andrea Hagen, one of the many organizers of the Faire

Two of the throngs of entertainers who graced us with their talents.

 Sarah's first plunge. Note the boy at right pushing the plunger with his hands; he had
earlier hit a bullseye with his thrown softball, but not energetically enough to trip the mechanism.

The Faire drew an estimated 2500 people. Sarah, as Mayor of Sebastopol spent a half hour into and out of the Dunk Tank. She got plunged in many times.

Later on this afternoon we’ve got a party to go to.

So much fun! I hope you live in a community that gathers together frequently and celebrates together.

Wine Country Ukulele Festival
Love Choir
Bo Diddley
Ma Muse
Renaissance Faire


Von said...

Certainly do, you can't beat it.

Dan Gurney said...

Glad to hear you do, Von. Probably most readers of MH are engaged in community.

steven said...

dan - i really like my space - the solitary mindful associative creative dynamic living space of me - and then i like to place all of that in the presence of others. i'm learning how to do that in a healthy constructive way at the age of fifty three. i consider myself very fortunate to have been able to welcome the wonderful people whose existences intersect and meld with mine digitally and in the analogue worlds. steven

Bonnie said...

"Only connect." E.M. Forster

The kind of community which you describe Dan is vital for our physical and mental well-being. I bet Sebastopol is a very healthy community!

Dan Gurney said...

Hi steven, yes I would guess that you're pretty engaged in community. Like me, you're married to a pretty connected wife, a principal, right? Right there, you've got community. Schools are power places, one of the few places in secular space where people really form community.

Dan Gurney said...

Hi, Bonnie,

Yes, I think it is. I notice that many people in the obits made it well past 80. We've got a healthy, connected community, and it seems we're getting more like that.

Vivian78 said...

Hm...I think I'm probably one of the younger ones commenting haha since I'm a senior in high school :) I agree that community is important to happiness, but it's surprising how many communities one can live in if one looks a bit closer. For me, sometimes it's school and my friends there, sometimes it's my friends from music camp, sometimes it's the blog world, sometimes it's when I play piano, sometimes it's when I read a book or watch a movie. I think there are lots of communities and I'm so thankful for that.

Dan Gurney said...

Hi Vivian. Over on my other blog, I have five year olds comment from time to time, but that's a kindergarten blog.

Yes, you're right community can be plural and mean a smaller group, like a group of friends who get together to share a common interest.

But I'm thinking of community geographically--connected to a common place as people have lived for almost all of time. It's only in the last 100 years or so that people have lost the sense of belonging to a specific place in our world. It's quite a loss, I think.

Kathleen said...

How perfectly delightful!
Every now and then, I crawl out of my cave and join a community.
Ever experienced a silent retreat in community?
Being a monasticwannabe, it's as close as I can get.
And I LOVE it, from time to time, that is.
Very fine post, Dan.
I thank you!

Dan Gurney said...

Hi, Kathleen. Yes once a year or so I go on a week long meditation retreat. The community aspect is there, but kinda short-lived. But the spaciousness of a week with meditation being the main "activity" is something I truly appreciate and value. I guess, like you, I'm a wannabemonastic. Then again, my regular life has many features of a monastic life style, especially in the absence of most forms of media. 95% of the music in this house is music I make.