Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Hey Mr Spaceman...won't you please take me along...I won't do anything wrong...

When we lived in the Allston House, sometime back in the late 1970"s, (nine adults and two large dogs in a two bedroom apartment in Boston) we imagined that it was good preparation for what we called "when the shit hits the fan" Some unspecified environmental/political disaster that we were sure would be coming soon. What it really did, was to make us all a little crazy, and remove most all of the shreds of suburban modesty any of us still had...

As a child, if you slept alone in a single it meant that you had bothered the others in the dormitory until they wouldn't tolerate you.
...
A person whose nature was genuinely unsociable had to get away from society and look after himself.
...
... but for those who accepted the privilege and obligation of human solidarity, privacy was a value only when it served a function.

- from The Disspossesed, by Ursula LeGuin

I have had this undercurrent of thought drifting just below the everyday concerns of my life, disturbing my positive feelings about the life I am building here at Acorn Cottage.

When I went up to teach at Danaca in Seattle, I stayed with E and her extended family... the visit was very enjoyable, I met new interesting people, and the teaching went very well. Somehow, coming home felt rather lonely...

For almost all of my adult life, since leaving the home of my parents, I have lived in community, with rare short intervals of living partnered. Living this way was a purposeful choice on my part, for various reasons that changed over time... the reality that there are limited resources, companionship and overlapping skill-sets, the fantasy that this would be good practice for life in space (well, we were very young), economic reality at the bottom of the food chain...

Living with others has a way of showing a person where their rough edges are, and clever and lucky folk are able to thereby further their growth as human people. Living alone, you can be just as peculiar and dysfunctional as your nature allows, with far fewer opportunities to notice...

Invariably, my life with others ended with my being asked to leave. While sometimes this was for such benign reasons as needing the space for a coming baby, most often it was a more or less kind version of "we cannot stand to live with you", on occasion prefaced with "we like you, but..." In actuality, this was the real-time form of my great struggle in the middle chunk of my life, that I am an "Unwanted Being"...

I don't want to give the impression that I go around all the time brooding about this, mostly now I just don't think about it, as I am too busy with the life that I do have. I'm not sure what mental-emotional-spiritual re-construction of my belief system would help. While I am far more often calm and happy and productive than in my younger days; I cannot help feeling that I've given up on being a connected part of the human world. I like the shape of my life, and have awesomely great friends and a home that is mine, for the first time ever. I am quite aware every day of how great these blessings are. I wonder though, is it "giving up" in the sense of failing, to simply turn away from a struggle and say well that is just how it is, I have enough to do...

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