The Importance of Community

Sometimes I get so wrapped up in things I forget what is most important in my life. I deny myself the things that bring me joy because I don’t have time or I’m too lazy. The most recent reason is getting wrapped up in the business of Wild Boomer Women. It’s an instant community of girlfriends. You can walk in alone to any event we have and by the time you leave you have a room full of new girlfriends. That is very true. It’s where I’ve met some of my closest girlfriends, and I love that. Somehow, while building Wild Boomer Women as a business and in the process of creating community for others, I’ve lost my communities. I didn’t actually lose them. In fact they were still there waiting for me; I just haven’t participated in them.

This really occurred to me last night, when I went to my spiritual community. It had been so long since I had been there; I couldn’t actually remember when it was. Of course I was living in Sedona for a couple years and my community is in Phoenix, but I have been living back here since March. I didn’t even feel like participating in the High Holidays this year. I almost went, but when a friend backed out, I decided not to go. Last night was my father’s Yartzite, the anniversary of his leaving this world. For the past few years, I have been saying Kadash (the prayer you say to honor your loved one during Yartzite) on my own. Last night I decided to go to Temple. I had one girlfriend pick me up and another one meeting us there, so I wouldn’t be alone. What I didn’t remember is that everyone there is my community. I hadn’t been there in so long and they welcomed me, literally with open arms. So many people were so happy to see me (and I them). Then the service began and “my” Sharona was back (in addition to being a girlfriend, she’s my spiritual teacher who retired and now is back as Cantor Emerita). There’s nothing like hearing that sweet, beautiful voice to bring me back home to my spiritual community. There was lots of singing and clapping and even some dancing. The people in my spiritual community have so much joy during this time they just get up and start a dance line around the room, kinda like a Jewish conga line.

This morning I finally took my dogs Sterling & Paris out for a walk. Again, I have been so busy getting ready for the Women’s Expo that I get up in the morning, throw on some clothes, let the dogs out, put the coffee and my computer on, and there I sit for hours on end. Meanwhile, the poor puppies have to be satisfied with just greeting their friends from the yard. The dogs have their own community too. It brings Sterling so much joy to be able to go up to another dog and sniff. It brings Paris so much joy to get to run untethered in the park. Yet, I’ve been depriving them of their community.

I’ve stopped going to my exercise community. I know my trainer misses me. He keeps texting me to find out when I’m coming back. Yes, he gets paid when I go, but we do have fun together while I am grunting and groaning and calling him names, not to mention the physical and mental benefits I derive from it.

What communities have you been staying away from? Have you been too absorbed in work or something else that you don’t take the time to refresh yourself? It really does make me happier when I participate in my communities. I think it will work for you too.