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It Takes a Village...Community...Tribe
by Cheryl Rompa
Imbolc 2003, Vol 2-2
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MatriFocus, a Cross-Quarterly WebZine for Goddess Women Near & Far

two young women sitting on a rocky mountain top, chatting in the sun (detail from Maxfield Parrish's "Contentment")The Lost Art of Hanging Out

Our culture has become a culture controlled by our cell phones, our palm pilots and our schedule books. The more machinery, technology and conveniences we have, the more we lose the "art of hanging out."

Somehow scheduled hanging-out time is just not the same as dropping by someone's home spontaneously for a chat or coming over for coffee and staying for lunch.

We work too hard, and our play is limited to meetings to plan the next ritual or to organize whatever the next event might be. Don't get me wrong; I know these things are very important and that if we are not doing them they may not get done. Yet, what do we know about our sisters with whom we entrust so much of our time? Do we even know their last names or where they grew up? Do we ask them what they dream of and how they see themselves? I'd like to think that these are the questions we might ask one another if we "hung out" more.

Several days ago I had an opportunity to hang out with a woman I've known for many years. This is a woman I call one of my closest sisters in terms of time commitment and close inner circle, but there was a whole lot of information we didn't know about each other. I wondered after that "hanging out" time if we've forgotten how to get to know each other and whether we might think of this time as sacred -- the sacred act of hanging out.

Several years ago a sister who was in my circle coined the term "busy witch syndrome." At the time it bothered me that whenever she or someone else in our circle used this term it was a prelude to pulling out the palm pilots and schedule books to set up a meeting date; whether the meeting was for organizing or visiting it didn't seem to matter. The groans, if not audible, were heavy in the room. I didn't like the fact that this term was built on a scarcity model of time and energy and not coming from an attitude of abundance for all. We give a great deal of our time and energy to working for our livelihood. Many of us work 40 + hours at our paying jobs and then do equally as much organizing for our spiritual community events. There is barely enough time to sleep and eat well, let alone "hang out."

I understand needing to balance our lives with the things that we are passionate about. I even believe with all my heart that the work of the Goddess is a calling. I also believe that "hanging out" may be a big part of her message to my sisters and me. Perhaps we can think about this time as a way to see the Goddess in each of us and see her many aspects right in front of our eyes? Maybe we can be curious about how the Goddess came to speak to our hearts and brought us together? Just possibly the most important work of all is to get to know each other and love each other for our many commonalities and despite our many differences.

Loving each other takes time and energy. It's something that is intentional, a focused energy of time and loving actions. So instead of the "lost art of hanging out" perhaps we can create the "sacred act of hanging out" and put away the schedule books and electronic organizers. We can learn to listen with our whole hearts and speak from an intimacy that's born of knowing one another. We can laugh at each other and ourselves with the abandonment of a wild child and tell our stories to each other again and again until we know each other by heart. This could be the way we practice the "sacred art of hanging out."

So mote it be!

Graphics Credit
+ Contentment (detail), Maxfield Parrish. Courtesy of CGFA.

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