Thoughts on We
Community: a group of interdependent organisms living together in a specified habitat
I choose to use the ecological definition of community. This definition highlights the ways in which community impacts our lives–differently than a definition such as ‘people with shared interests or culture.’ Community is all around us, and even inside of us–our microbiome, a community of teeeeeeennnnny organisms with which your life on this earth is completely co-dependent, is a great example of this. (Seriously, the study of the human microbiome has taught us so much about how interdependent our lives truly are). You and your microbiome are living in tandem; each reliant upon the other for a healthy and thriving life, balance and harmony as key to existence.
Community, when describing human relationships, is the understanding and acknowledgement of this interconnectedness. Since an insidious component of whiteness is isolation and divisiveness to enable power hoarding, being in community is not just a loving thing we throw on to describe a feeling of closeness with others. It is a literal act of survival and resistance for many and protects us from physical and psychological harm. Through recognizing the dignity of another’s humanity, we can together build capacity to resist the seduction of upholding white supremacy culture, and along the way we can begin to discover and reveal more of our authentic selves.
For me, being in community is just like that–recognizing the nature in which I am part and parcel of you. And finding ways of being in which and other organisms with which I can be in balance and harmony. Community is a life source for me, offering me a state of centeredness where I can see myself as:
Loved and Loving
And to offer to others:
Tracy and I have been reading this excellent resource full of Indigenous wisdom and guidance on a kinship system worldview. The interconnected nature of life is central to this worldview, and I'd like to share a snippet of what we're learning:
"I live in a universe. I am a point of awareness, a circle of consciousness, in the midst of a series of circles. One circle is that which we call the body. It is a universe itself, full of millions of little living creatures living their own separate but co-dependent lives. They live, fight, make love, split, and die independent of my consciousness, most of the time. If some of them get disturbed or get hurt they might tell me about it so that I can help them, so that I can get them some food, or scratch them, or get rid of their left-overs.
Another circle is all of the other things which I am completely dependent upon—Gishux, the sun, the air, the water, and so on. Another circle is all of the things that fill my consciousness—the things I see, smell, hear, and so on. Another circle is the source of my dreams, consciousness, insights, gifts or powers, ideas, and “intuitions.”