Community Belonging

Many who talk of community talk about “belonging”, which is a sense of shared identity, a feeling of acceptance and perhaps understanding. You can go along to a party and for a brief moment have a feeling of “community”, but then you have to go back home – where is the community then? Do you have to wait until the next event appears on the calendar? That’s been my experience in many Neopagan groups, where likeminded people get together outside of their normal routine, have a great time discussing “meaningful” things, doing rituals, attending camps and workshops, but then they have to go back to our normal routing – the bills won’t pay themselves, will they?

But this belonging doesn’t often sustain itself beyond the events that produces it, there is no commitment beyond that feeling of “belonging”, whatever that may be. Which conveniently stops short of conflict appearing, which invariably happens in community. You go along for a weekend camp, get the benefits of “good feeling” which you can take back to work with you and not have to face the possibility of conflict, and perhaps that is why some many “communities” don’t develop beyond a sort of Sunday Christian phenomenon, because they don’t want to face the conflict that lies behind the “good times”.

Sustainable community takes more than a weekend of “belonging”, it involves facing conflict and working through it, coming to a consensus, and cooperation and compromise that sometimes mean putting aside personal interests, and commitment to a project that doesn’t rely on personal interests alone.

The theme of “co” is no accident, and if there was no “co”, then community wouldn’t be(long). 🙂

My Ancestry

Recently I had an offer from someone to helpy me with a bit of my family tree and though I knew a bit, I now know a lot more! At one point it goes back 11 generations with the earliest year being 1627 (I haven’t told my family yet, so they might be in for a surprise if they read this…), that’s before the English Civil War!

I have various roots around England: Sussex, Middlesex, Surrey, Gloucestershire, Derbyshire, London, Bedfordshire, Huntingdonshire, Cambridgeshire, Yorkshire, Essex, Cheshire and Staffordshire. There’s also Scottish roots from Islay, and Argyle and Bute, then there’s Irish roots in Dublin and Donegal. I just need someone Welsh to complete this picture! (there’s one that has, I think, a Welsh surname…). Then there were rumours of German ancestry on one side of my family, who, I found out, was born in the city of Hanover. But I discovered there was a German surname somewhere else that I didn’t expect.

Emmigration seems to be in my blood, so now I live in Spain and my girlfriend is Swiss with German and possibly Italian/Sicillian roots. If we have kids then they’ll have quite a heritage!

The whole idea of “belonging” somewhere is getting stretched a bit… 🙂