What I learned about community from killing mosquitos
I remember the flood of emotions one sunny morning when I saw my two-year-old daughter covered with large welts. We were on vacation in Tunisia, and I had thought to carefully cover her cot with a mosquito net, but apparently, one rascal had made it through and had spent the night with her.
Angrily, I grabbed my slipper and began smashing the mosquitos I saw hovering around on the walls. My fury increased as they splattered human blood onto the white-washed surfaces.
My two-year-old grew very still and stared silently at one of the splatter marks, her eyes filling with tears.
I slowed. "What is it, sweetie?"
"Would you do that to me if I bit someone?"
She had hit on a common human fear - will I be rejected, punished, ostracized, or killed in this group if I do, say, think, or feel something wrong? Will you treat me the same way that you treated another person (or mosquito, in this case)?
Some people might assume from this tale that I'm advocating murder in a group setting to create social controls, ;-) but the opposite is true. In Awaken groups, we have standards of presence that really help our community become a brave space for spiritual growth and freedom.
- Everyone chooses to join our group activities of their own free will, and by invitation. The soul responds poorly to coercion.
- We do not allow fixing, saving, advising, or straightening out someone else's problems. For some, this is a huge stretch because what would we do if we're not judging each other? But we know that attempts to fix will send the soul scurrying back under the covers. Love and acceptance is the birthplace of change.
- We choose to listen deeply to one another with honest questions, and without any hint of knowing the answer or being "right" about you. It's not about academics, it's about setting you free to be you.
What would it be like to listen honestly and with love and freedom in the groups you're a part of? What might change?