On the introversion / extroversion continuum, I’m all the way to the introverted end. It takes two weeks of complete solitude and silence for me to blink owlishly into the daylight and remember that human beings are social animals, and that I am a human being. If I have access to a cat, dog, rabbit, or horse, that two weeks can extend to three or four weeks.
I’m not shy. I’m totally socially awkward in that “I have no idea what to talk about so I’m going to put my foot in my mouth” sort of way, but I’m not shy about it. I just bulldoze on through and hope for the best. And honestly, my rather clueless and jolly “most people tend to like me!” demeanor tends to win out and, perhaps weirdly, most people tend to like me.
But I’m exhausted by input. By conversations happening in rooms with noise. By background music. By loud movies. By conversations with more than one person at a time. By crowds. By televisions. I can be worn out from smells. My senses are like geo-locating and bluetooth apps on my internal battery that just force me to be constantly recharging.
So how do I strike the balance between being a biologically and culturally social creature, while being a very solitary individual? We can joke about hermits uniting separately in our own homes. But yeah, that’s kinda it, actually. Hallelujah for the internet.
“No dreams happen in isolation”
During his introduction to today’s Quest instigations, Jeffrey said the above. That we are doing this work together because no dreams happen in isolation. Jeffrey calls the groups of people who work together with and around him a wolf pack. Seth Godin calls them Tribes. I don’t care if you call them balls of yarn in your knitting bowl of life, the people around you are important.
The Tracking Wonder community is vivid and full of bright sparks of creation and inspiration. One of Jeffrey’s favorite reminders is that DIY is old-school. In our pack we “DIT” or “Do It Together”. This feels a smidgen corny, right? Well, how about the fact that a friend helped me redo my bedroom this last month because he needed spending cash and I needed help? How is that not “doing it together”? Creating a network of friends and acquaintances who have skills, experience and viewpoints different from our own can only enrich us.
And we questers create a wonderful, uplifting web of people who are reading and sharing one another’s work, and then amplifying it, growing it. In one of my previous posts, I mentioned not spending stupid time on my phone and Wonder-Tracker Britt Bravo sent this wonderful article about breaking digital leashes.
Here are just a handful of examples of people Questing with me:
- An Amazing response to #DreamDone by Katie DeJong
- Amy Hunt‘s vision of letting things become and be in 2018
- Suzi Banks Baum‘s breathtaking images and truth
- Jamie Hansen‘s art is amazing, and her answers to these prompts inspire me with black cats and punk music
- My coach and friend Nancy Seibel answers the prompts about dreaming with leadership
Finding My People(s)
In so many ways, 2017 has been a year about finding groups of people among whom I belong. Meeting my classmates at Pacifica was a huge part of why I applied to attend their Myth program. Sitting around campfires with coworkers from Hipcamp was a huge heart-homecoming for me (the featured image above, BTW).
Just in November of this year, I realized how deeply I’d taken in these Californian, trans-continental, nationwide networks, and how I can add them to my Quest pack, to my Sweet Briar vixen cohort, to my 4-H alumni troop.
What does an introvert’s social network look like? Big. Spread out. Quiet. Types a lot.
Now, let’s get down to the instigation!
Pam Slim asks the following question:
What kind of collaboration is the most fulfilling for your creative growth? What one project or goal this year could benefit from your pursuing that kind of collaboration? What will you do on a monthly basis to pursue that kind of collaboration? With whom possibly?
Collaboration makes me uncomfortable. It can be some of the most fulfilling work you can do, but it’s also intensely uncomfortable. Ladies Rock Camp was phenomenal, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t spend two hours sobbing in the kitchen. I’m going back in February, but I expect I’ll be sobbing at 3PM on Saturday again.
But in all honesty, I’ve been writing “join the Atlanta Storytellers Guild” on my to do list for three years and have never done it. I need to do it. I know I need to do it. And my hermity self is like “GAH! PEOPLE.” and I run away and procrastinate and hide in my cave.
grumble grumble grumble
Leo Babauta‘s instigation is about solitude.
How can you challenge yourself to carve out separate blocks each day for solitude? What new or modified daily habit will help you do so? Whom can you call upon to help you cultivate this habit?
When you’re in your solitude block, notice your resistance and relax into it.
I’m solitary on average… counts on fingers … gives up on fingers and gets out calculator….
Fifty-one hours in a given week. there are 168 hours in a week, and I sleep about 65 of those. So 103 waking hours… I’m solitary about half that time. Now, that’s interrupted by video conference calls, the mailman delivering things, and the dog being a dork, but yeah. I get lots of alone time.
Which is good, because see above about my constantly draining introvert battery!
It’s also good because I spend that time reading, studying, journaling, creating, and sometimes staring at the ceiling in deep contemplation of the cobweb that is out of reach of my duster as a metaphor for the universe. Sometimes, I play fetch with the dorky dog.
For 2018, I plan to continue this level of isolation, because it’s really good for me. My stress levels are lower (and thus my pain levels), and honestly, that one week each month that I spend in California is going to be plenty of peopling, thank you.