“No man is an island, entire to itself…
Any man’s death diminishes me
Because I am involved in mankind…
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.”
– John Donnne, 1624

This quote from John Donne makes me realise a lot about my life. Where I’ve come and where I’ve been.

A great deal of my twenties was spent trying to prove to myself that I was an independent male. Converge with social western norms that dictated that in order to be attractive and strong one must be really REALLY super independent. To be independent meant that you had to be a strong as bricks. This meant that you were to not rely on other people, not ask for help, not talk to people about your problems, and certaintly not show any level of weakness. Being strong and independent meant that you should have your own house, spend time in that house, and be super SUPER successful.

It kinda makes me sad.

When I came to Australia I spent a great deal of time travelling on my own and yet interacting and trying to find community along my journey. I found myself surround by good community, beautiful people, and heaps of loving friends (close and far) all while trying to find some grounding and my true centre. (Note: To me finding my true centre is heaps different then attempting to being independent. Finding your centre is more about being strong/solid in your boundaries, thoughts, and open to growth. But not shutting out other things as independence can).

I strive to feel centred in my decisions and thoughts and follow my heart whether the decisions I make are good or bad I know there’s a reason they are happening. It’s a different approach to that of independence that benchmarks your success based on pay raises, how successful you are, and heaps of other unimportant things. I means seriously if something bad does happen due to climate change it’s what we have inside, what we have built around us, and what skills we know that are going to make us sink or swim. So what about all this community you speak of?

The more I embrace, meet, and bring together into a common community the more I feel closer to the culture here, closer to people/activists/permaculturalists/etc. There is something innate about wanting to associate yourself to a group of people that you relate to and that makes sense because we all come roots of tribes of celts, aboriginals, gypsies, or whatever.

When I was down in Ecuador the people there had little money. They had little things to offer and when they did offer something to us it meant a great deal because you knew it came from somewhere special. But I realised early in my trip that they had so much more than some of the upbringings that I had. They had a massive amount of strength in their culture and sense of community. It was this very thing that really has helped them maintain their lives and survive. You can’t quantify something like that nor should we. But it’s something that I truly see myself striving towards having for the remainder of my life.

And that takes me to the support and love I feel here in my new home. It’s a really amazing space that is fostering of all things right. Really loving, giving, and communal. I think that sometimes we can really undervalue sharing a home with other people (especially when one might thing it’s a bit hectic having 6 people in our house — but actually it isn’t).

The future …

The recipe is simple. Create more spaces where you can involve peeps. Bring them in to your place through “Big Breakies” (thanks Trianne you rock), food nights, gathering at events, seeing live music, and just plain trading some of your skills for theirs. The trading bit is becoming more and more paramount here (we trade bottles of tomatoe chutney for bread or salad greens from a garden). Sure it seems kinda strange but it’s helping to foster relationships and building community from a love for food. So I say Fuck Yeah!