I have been thinking about what skills I might need in order to live in community. I have thought about what would help to make me feel safe and comfortable. What would allow me to feel fully present and myself? Thinking about these questions made me realize that the times when I’m most comfortable are when I’m alone and don’t have to worry about anyone else. Clearly, this defeats the purpose of community! Second to that is when I’m with my family. When we’re together, everything is as it is. We mess up, we make it right. We know that we will be loved and held even in our darkest times. Family is forever.
Reflecting on time spent with my children, I can’t help but acknowledge the difficult times we’ve had. There have been many things said and done that I wish could be taken back. But they can’t, they can only be learned from. Working to be a respectful parent, is actually working to become a more respectful person. The time I sit and reflect on what I could have done differently, in hopes that next time I will do something different is reconditioning my mind.
Being detached from the outcome. Being able to sit with difficult emotions. Not trying to fix other people’s problems. Using non-violent communication. Sustaining judgement while solutions are found. These are the skills I need for community life. I already am learning what I need to know about living in community because what I will bring is who I am. In community, I will make more mistakes, and say and do things I wish could be taken back. And I will learn.
The challenge now is to apply what I’ve learned to adult contexts. It is easy to fall into old patterns, and to expect more of adults, because, well, they’re adults. Children’s responses are just closer to the surface because they’ve had less conditioning pushing them to conceal their innate responses. But we are all people. And all of us are at the mercy of our inner child and the stories we continue to carry with us. Adult or child, we all want to be treated with respect, to be understood, and to be truly heard. No matter what age, we want to feel valued.