Tuesday, January 01, 2019

THE IMPORTANCE OF SELF TO COMMUNITY

Patty Cooper (October 18, 1946- November 18, 2018)

I am republishing this blog first published in January 2008 because Patty strongly believed both in the individual and the community.

FERTILE INNER SELF/ January 3, 2008
Bobbie Ann Mason, a native of my home state of Kentucky, has a character (Emmett, a Vietnam vet) in her book In Country say “If you can think about something like birds, you can get outside of yourself, and it doesn’t hurt as much. That’s the whole idea. That’s the whole challenge for the human race. Think about that. Put your thinking cap on Sam (a teenage girl). Put that in your pipe and smoke it! But I can barely get to the point where I can be a self to get out of.”
Being a self sounds simple enough, but is it really? We all are being something, but when I look around me most people seem to be trying to be like each other. Others are totally absorbed in either their jobs or their kids. I am not sure they even know who they are. Do they have an identity other than their work or through their kids?
You can find tons of stuff written about community now days. In fact, I write about it here often. It is important, but you can not become a strong member of a community if you don’t know who you are. A strong community is made up of strong selves.
You may ask how can that be. Don’t you have to give up self when you enter a community or a marriage? Only if you are entering a cult or marrying a control freak. Let me ask you this. Did Jesus when he came into the world community stop being Jesus? Did Moses have a strong self as he led the Hebrew people out of bondage? Did Gandhi or Martin Luther King, Jr. have strong selves as they advocated for the freedom and rights of all people?
I understand and have written in this blog about the importance of community. Nothing I am saying here changes that. The point here is that individuals are the building blocks of communities and the stronger they are the stronger the community will be.
Trauma, especially early and prolonged childhood sexual trauma, can damage the ability to form a concept of self. The stigma of psychiatric labels can also make it hard to develop a sound self. There are other social, psychological, genetic, and spiritual factors that get in the way. Developing a strong inner self is not simple nor is there a single pathway one must take. However, let me leave you with this thought. Is not the safest and wisest place to plant and grow your fruitful and fertile inner self in the loving arms of our Creator?
You can reach me directly at edcooper@projectdreamagain.com

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