Ask April- Observational Wisdom- Finding Community
Welcome to Ask April, a no-nonsense advice column focusing on what it is you can do to correct things that need correcting. While we all know much in life is out of our control, and sometimes, our reaction is all we CAN control- we really do have a lot of personal power, thankfully. Our will is just as important as the wills of others around us, and while we need to be considerate, we also need to make sure others are equally considerate of us. It is my hope that when you write in to me, asking advice, that I can help you make a good decision that somehow improves whatever situation you’ve found yourself in. As with anything I share, I recommend people don’t automatically take my word for anything, but include my advice in with the rest of the things that help them make a decision. I wish you well. Read on.
I got a particular question yet again.
How to meet like-minded individuals partaking of a particular activity the questioner wants to get involved in.
No matter what community you want to join, the only way to do so is to first find where they are, and then go join them.
It’s not always successful on the first try, however. One issue being that before you’ve actually had a chance to become involved in something, you don’t know precisely where you fit in it, and you don’t know specifically what you want to gain from it. Another being that not every group is for just anybody!
The question in regards to this is how, specifically to join the local metaphysical religious community, and I’ve also been asked about getting involved in the local arts community.
If you want to get involved in your arts community, do an internet search and find local galleries, groups, events, and individuals who are out there. Most especially look to see who has open gatherings and meetings the public may come to. You will have to decide how close to your home you expect to stay. Some towns have their very own arts community, and some folks have to travel a bit to get involved.
If you want to become involved with your metaphysical/Catholic/Buddhist/Hindu, etc. religious community, find a church/temple/mosque/or open to the Coven/Grove, and attend a meeting. Even more than the arts, you may have to travel a bit to join up for religious gatherings.
With something like a hobby, it’s going to be easier to fall in with groups. With religion- it’s going to take more time. Individuality is encouraged in the arts, whereas, finding more like-minded people is the goal of being religious WITH other people. Then again, it is different for everybody. You might luck into the very best group or religious gathering place the very first time you contact somebody or show up.
In both scenarios, you are going to research who does what gatherings, show up and try out the groups, and decide if these are your crowd, and if not, keep looking.
In both scenarios, you will come to discover how active of a role you want. Some go to gatherings constantly. Some do a lot of volunteering, and some crank out constant product of either art, or facilitating groups and gatherings for others. Some just want to show up from time to time and enjoy the gatherings, and seldomly going is enough for them. Dropping off pieces of art for shows, and then picking them up, and not visiting much is perfectly okay in some communities. Some will, however, request artists take turns manning booths at shows, and you will find different organizations that accommodate both. Some religious organizations are better for those who want active participation, others for people who don’t. The good thing is, most communities accommodate a plethora of people. That is what community is- different people with different talents and goals, all showing up to support a common endeavor.
Be it arts, religion, or something else, it is a way of life. You are not going to change your art or beliefs based on who you do things with, but you will be finding the folks you relate to, and a place where you belong.
One thing to keep in mind is that groups are fluid, and people come and go. The good part of this is you will always have the chance to meet new people, and learn new things from them.
Just give yourself time, and don’t let early disappointments of it “taking so long” deter you, but do listen to your gut. If you have gone to a few meetings and done a few events, but just are not feeling at home with a group? There will be others. The key is you want to enjoy the endeavor and the other people who you share it with.
There are people out there, just waiting for you to join them! Have fun!