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April 05, 2008

(4) One way to break out of isolation

Since announcing my CSA (Community Supported Activism), I have received a few comments in the realm of “wow, it’s great that you feel comfortable asking for what you need.” These comments suggest to me that we are generally taught to be as independent as possible, and that asking for things from others is a often understood as a sign of weakness, laziness or unaccomplishability. Yet if the goal is to integrate and operate more in community and as a living collaborative culture, than we have to create more ways to exchange. To ask for things (whether it be for help, an idea or material) is one way to consciously step out of the culture of separation and into the culture of sharing, integrating. Yes, it can be awkward, but if we make it ok to ask, and to respond with ANY answer without “baggage”, then we are well on our way to sustainability.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I would be considered one who is pathologically independent, which may create a degree of isolation, but they are two different things. My personal experience is that we are more emotionally comfortable giving than receiving. We seem to be able to give without any expressed expectation of anything in return, but when we receive we often feel some sort of impulse to even the score down the line. I think one of our challenges as a society is to become more comfortable with receiving help or a gift unconditionally without making the mental note to return the favor. Wouldn’t it be nice if that “return” of the favor was also just as unconditional and independent an act rather than evening the score on some unspoken or unconscious level or if return could become so effortless and community wide that passing on the good deed to a completely different entity, given freely, simply became the way that we operate inside our heads... philosophically easier to embrace than in practice. Some people “give” anonymously because they do not want recognition or perhaps to be asked for help by others, but some give in this fashion because they want the help, whether it be material or idea, to be passed on to the community rather than returned to more directly them in some fashion.

Anyway, I applaud you in tackling the awkwardness of asking for ... ... ... when the “return” will be vague, nebulous, hard to pinpoint but very real return to the broader community. All this said, giving, receiving, sharing is how we build community and I will continue to chip away at my independent nature... one way to “give” is to embrace more freely when others give to you.