We are sharing our own thoughts in response to this month’s prompt (Refer back to The Invitation if you have questions about what we’re doing here). Deven Wisner shares his thoughts on our prompt:
What are the elements of community that allow you to be authentically you?
This month, I sat with the concept of community and reciprocity. While doing breathwork last week, recharging myself was front-of-mind. Although it’s usually the last thing I think of doing, it’s also a big differentiator in my work. I show up as a completely different person — a more authentic and engaged one when I’m making space to care for me (obvious, right? but, if you’ve been neglecting that, here’s your prompt to re-engage in it).
As I came back to earth, contemplating community and aspects of authenticity, I drew a clear distinction between my ability to show up and where I’m at in terms of my ability to be present. Specifically, I thought of how I’m not able to be present when I’m depleted. That’s when I thought of all the different ways communities can exist — classes, professional organizations, family, friends, Twitter-verse — the list goes on! It’s easy for me to show up and give myself to those communities.
However, what stuck out to me was this idea of community being a reciprocal relationship and the importance of being able to derive life (not just sense of purpose) from community. This brought to my mind the self-care community I’ve established to feed myself and how difficult that was to do.
It’s ever-growing, but consists of a psychotherapist, breathwork guide, coach, medical professionals who see me as a whole-person versus just a set of diseases, a healing-focused massage therapist, and hiking buddies. In each of these instances, it was difficult for me to show up authentically with my needs at the forefront, but it has been transformational in how I’m able to show up in the other communities.
This idea calls me back to the idea of first showing up for ourselves. The same applies to community. One of the hindrances to doing so, at least for me, can be the lack of love I’ve shown myself. How can we show up authentically, ready to serve, if we aren’t simultaneously allowing ourselves that same opportunity?