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Changing Skies

Posted on November 27, 2018 by

Excerpted from the Winter 2018 edition of Communities, “The Culture of Intentional Community”—full issue available for download (by voluntary donation) here.

My morning ritual, just after dawn, is to walk to the neighborhood pond and do yoga on the dock. I bathe myself in morning light, fresh air, and the expanse of the sky.

It is the sky I want to tell you about. While the water and the trees are fairly constant, the sky is ever-changing. This morning it was bright and blue, a few bits of puffy white near the horizon quietly shape-shifting minute to minute. Another day it was bright shades of grey, layering and re-layering themselves, sometimes exposing bits of blue, sometimes dropping a sprinkle of rain, sometimes both. Some days the sky is dark and stormy, the grey clouds threatening (and delivering) downpour. On those days I am hesitant to step out into the weather, but sometimes I do. Maybe I get drenched and slog my way home. Maybe I find myself dancing in the rain. The sky is ever-changing and you never know for sure what it is sending your way.

Communities are like that. Buildings and trees may be constant, but relationships shift and change day by day. Sometimes they bathe us in warmth and light. Other times we peek out the door and are washed over with darkness and threat. The culture of intentional community includes a commitment to remain in relationship despite the shifts. At our best we embrace community however it arrives. We see the value of togetherness. We know we were created for this.

Those sunny days are lovely. They build us up. They nourish us. They are joyful and they strengthen foundations of attachment and caring that sustain us. With that nourishment, it is the cloudy days that teach us who we are. We don’t like the grey as much, but we are created for this too. It is the foreboding darkness that calls us to growth. It is venturing into the cold that divulges who we are in relationship and confronts us with the gulf between who we are and who we want to be. It is the rain that cleanses old wounds and washes away the clutter to reveal what we can become.

Sometimes we aren’t ready for growth and we find ourselves shivering our way home, but sometimes we find ourselves dancing in the rain, partnering with neighbors, refreshed in self-awareness and compassion, held in community, and one step further on the lifelong journey to become our best selves.

For me the culture of intentional community is about the commitment to venture out together into the blue skies and the grey. It is about joy, but it is also about the hard work of growth. It is about creating the possibility of the dance.

Karen Gimnig is a professional facilitator and relationship coach, certified by Imago Relationships International. She helps communities and organizations form closer relationships, grow through conflict, and make decisions in ways that build connection. See www.karengimnig.net.

Excerpted from the Winter 2018 edition of Communities, “The Culture of Intentional Community”—full issue available for download (by voluntary donation) here.

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