12. Coming Home: The Many Benefits Of Getting Collective
There are many benefits to participating in ‘true community’, which the author M. Scott Peck defined as being ‘a group of individuals who have learned how to communicate honestly with each other, whose relationships go deeper than their masks of composure, and who have developed some significant commitment to “rejoice together, mourn together,” and to “delight in each other, to make others’ conditions their own.’28 Such community can bring untold levels of joy, support and belonging into our lives. It can expose us to new ideas and perspectives, encourage us to nurture our innate gifts and create opportunities for us to be seen in our totality. But other than living out the experience ourselves, perhaps the best way to gain an understanding of the deeply nourishing sense of wholeness that joining such communities can offer us, is to hear directly from those who have experienced it themselves.
Here are some personal reflections from friends of mine that have participated in Collective like contexts:
‘Everyone is so magnificently different. There are artists, teachers, breath workers, hypnotherapists, singers, actors, comedians, website builders, musicians, authors, block chain experts, mud and earth builders, therapists, yogis, digital nomads, clowns, coders, painters, flow artists, tattoo artists, magicians and DJ’s. Some are in their late teens or early 20s, some in their 60s, and even 70s, and everywhere in between. Everyone is so unique. But the magic lies in how each of us, in all of our uniqueness, keeps learning from each other, keeps sharing our skills and continually supporting one another. Our differences are what bring us together and inspire us to keep growing.’
‘This is home, love, support and family. I've been wandering around looking for a miracle to belong to. And after finding it my life has changed in so many beautiful and empowering ways that seemed impossible to reach at first. I've reached many dreams with this community and found new family that holds my hand and allows me to step in their footprints in order to reach my goals and wishes. Mindfulness is key here. Everyday I'm reminding myself of how lucky I am to live this life with these beautiful humans and their creations. Here is the perfect place to express yourself the way you truly are and wish to be. Music, art, words, dances, hugs, appreciation..mindfulness. It allows you to nourish the flower of love within you, and it blossoms to eternity. It makes you feel comfortable within yourself. Makes you feel at home.’
Beyond empowering us to transform our own individual lives, Collectives can also act as vehicles for us to reinvigorate and renew our political and economic systems. They provide us with a chance to experiment with new social technologies such as Sociocracy, Nonviolent Communication, Gift Economics and Restorative Justice. And by exposing us to new ways of peacefully organising ourselves, participating in Collectives can also empower us to become more politically effective citizens. As Noam Chomsky put it, ‘if a real democracy is going to thrive, if the real values that are deeply imbedded in human nature are going to flourish, and I think that’s necessary to save us if nothing else, I think its an absolute necessity that groups form, in which people can join together, can share their concerns, can articulate their ideas, can gain a response, can discover what they think, can discover what they believe, what their values are. This can’t be imposed on you from above, you have to discover it. By experiment, by effort, by trial, by application and so on, and this has to be done with others, furthermore central to human nature is a need to be engaged with others in cooperative efforts of solidarity and concern. That can only happen by definition through group structures... There are all kinds of ways in which people can associate with each other, and what I would like to see is a move towards a society which is really based on proliferating voluntary organisation, which eliminate as much as possible the structures of hierarchy and domination... (and for such voluntary organisations) to become the means by which we govern ourselves, by which we control our lives.’29
Seeing as he first shared these words in 1988, it’s clear that the idea of coming together and forming such transformational community groups has been around for a long time. The real question then, is why hasn’t it happened on a larger scale already? And what might make the years ahead any different? Let’s now explore now why the 2020’s may be the decade when we are vehemently compelled to rediscover each other and Collectively Bloom.