Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Time, S P A C E and A Place to Belong

As the New Year dawns on humanity, bringing with it a new calendar, a new President (thank the Lord ), a new slate of issues to address and a new frontier of promise and opportunity, I’ve spent time (of which I have an abundance lately) contemplating the ever elusive ideas of time, s p a c e and a place to belong. It’s the kind of stuff that you think about when you are listening to Jack Johnson or something.

So I’ve spent the last 5 months as a physical, emotional and spiritual nomad, finding my way through these complex mediums. My time has been double time, my car has been my sanctuary of clutter and my place has been a community organizer. When I returned to my mom’s house (a living space complicated a bit by the occupancy of 4 adult women.) all of that changed and I felt a bit isolated. I found that, more than anything, I just wanted some S P A C E. I don’t have my own room so I asked my mother to give me, at the very least, the screened area off of the living room. Her reply, to no shock of mine, wasn’t “ Sure 22 year old daughter that has no sanctuary to let her creative genius flow” It was, instead “ S P A C E for WHAT?!?!?” Really. Was she kidding me? No. She wasn’t. I needed that space for the same reason that I needed to take my next breath. Survival. I’d like to say that the convo ended more dramatically, but after a slight bit of bargaining, I settled in to the space and suddenly my whole life confronted me. There were boxes of campaign stuff….college stuff….bills….winter clothes…summer clothes. It was a bit more than I bargained for. But there I was with 2 of the things that I desperately craved….time and space. I felt overcome with my thoughts and this idea of where in the world I belong.

After I packed, filed and organized just about everything that I could and made unrealistic TO Do Lists that would plague me for the next 70+ years of my life; what was I supposed to do then?? Somebody, anybody? Build community and make the idea of SPACE grow, both physically and metaphorically, by leaps and bounds. We, as people, have devolved into materialists who punch the clock of time constantly. We acquire S P A C E to fill it with stuff that WE have amassed on our OWN by punching the opportunity clock. Creating S P A C E this way can be tiring and painful. What we miss in all of this is that we need each other. The success of the “world” lies in the intermixing and interdependence of shared SPACE.

In the book I’m reading, “The Impossible May take a Little While” there were a few passages that really spoke to this need.

“Forming strong bonds amongst people to go where life is fragile and hidden, and create new life. But it does not happen automatically. It happens when we have the sense to choose community, to come together and celebrate and share our common store"

The time is now but the timeline is eternity. The space is small communities projected onto the world stage. The place where we belong? Up to us. We must harvest our own communities.

WEB Dubois captured the sentiment when he said:
“Now is the accepted time, not tomorrow, not some more convenient season. It is today that our best work can be done and not some future day or future year. It is today that we fit ourselves for the greater usefulness of tomorrow. Today is the seed time, now are the hours of work, and tomorrow comes the harvest and the playtime.”
It was all super -confusing at first, and it’s still a bit fuzzy. But now, I’ve cleaned up a bit, gotten my business handled, and taken captive my thoughts (the kind that feed OCD tendencies). I like my little space. It’s cozy. But when I look out the window (which I fear that none of us do enough), I can see the bigger world and I am connected by something deep inside of me. Kind of like my workshop on the world. Kind of mad scientist-esce, Not huge, but it’s all that I can handle right now. Much like my life. The problem, I realize is not that people seek individuality and a S P A C E to call their own. The problem is that this desire consumes our thinking and bludgeons our thinking about community. Let this not be the mark of another year or another generation. Coming into a new year, that epiphany was just what I needed.

My New Years Resolution (of sorts….because I hate New Years resolutions) is this. I feel the need now, as a community organizer, to reach out to those who seek these things-time, S P A C E or a place to belong. I can’t create time. My closet is a testament to my inability to create s p a c e. But there’s something about this whole “place to belong” thing. It doable. If only to help someone to recognize that they are a non-conformists in a sea of conformity. We have an unwavering responsibility to create community in this new day and age of disharmony. As the author of this article closes:

" Community (shared S P A C E) not only creates abundance, it is abundance." The STANDard here? To do just that every chance we get .

Happy New Year Everyone!! Go hug a neighbor and take it to the streets.:-)

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