fellowship of personal assistants

Sometimes I forget how new to town we really are.  Of course, living at Twin Oaks for so long we started off with many more connections in town than if were starting somewhere fresh.  And the clarity of our mission drove us to make contact with lots of people and projects in town very quickly.  I get impatient sometimes, and I remind myself that we’ve really only been in town, on the ground for about 8 months now.  The whole transition has been so fast and intense, it’s easy to get overwhelmed sometimes.

Luckily, we have not been alone in this major life transition.  When we first returned the the area, back in September (before our euro-commune trip), we gathered with a group of current and ex-Twin Oakers, all of whom were interested in “building community” in C’ville. Many ideas and visions circulated through the weekend gathering at Shannon Farm, and various sub-groups got excited about particular projects.  But the thread that carried the entire group forward was creating a support group, which called the Fellowship of Personal Assistants, or FOPA for short (pun intended.)

It wasn’t something terribly innovative or radical, but it was clearly important for those involved.  Kassia and I were poised to land in C’ville, with grand plans and visions.  We needed the reflection of people who’d known us for a long time, not to mention supporting us in our relationship as we entered a new and sometimes stressful situation.   Kate had been living in Nelson County for sometime, had a new baby, and felt extremely isolated and out of integrity with the kind of community-based life she wanted for both herself and her child.  Robert and Thea were getting ready to leave Twin Oaks to move to C’ville.  Extracting themselves, and Thea’s children on a part time basis, from (for Thea) 10 years of deeply invested living at Twin Oaks and creating a whole new family life in town was quite a process.  Elsa was in the midst of figuring out whether to end a long-term relationship, and was also trying to figure out her relationship with Twin Oaks (complicated by her situation with 4 yr old son and ex-husband).  Craig was facing a growing need to be more active and engaged in the world, particularly in C’ville, and how that would integrate with his marraige and family life at Shannon Farm.

It was amazing, though perhaps not surprising, that this group of friends came together at a time when we were all in the midst of such radically changing life circumstances. We gathered as often as we could and focused on helping indviduals work on whatever they were dealing with in their lives or clearing baggage between people in the group.  We often struggled with divergent desires for the group (some wanted it to take on some project, while others wanted to keep it focused on group work, while others wanted to allow it to evolve naturally without any plan.) We spent what some of us found to be a frustrating amount of time trying to figure out what we were doing, not to mention scheduling around 7 busy schedules. But through the months it was clearly of enough benefit to keep going.

Last month we held the last session of FOPA.  For all of us, life has settled out in good and important ways.  Kate led her family in a move to C’ville, where she is now busily immersing herself in the extended community here in town.  Robert and Thea are co-owners of an amazing house with another family.  Robert has a job he likes and Thea is in school to becoming an Alexander Technique practitioner.  In the process of letting go of her relationship with Scott, Elsa was stunned to find that he came back to her.  They are now preganant and settling in at Twin Oaks.  Craig has been instigating creative collaborations right and left, the most recent being a second successful Healing Carnival adventure to Floyd Fest.  And Kassia and I, well, if you’re reading this you’ve probably read the other blog posts too ;0)

As we sat together and reflected on FOPA, it was clear that it had been a cruical support structure for each of us in moving through the chaos of life transition to something with solidity and positive foward momentum.  We agreed that we would continue to be an on-call Wisdom Council for each other, meaning that while we won’t meet regularly we will gather when one of us puts out a call for support.

FOPA was definitely an extension of the time we all shared with each other at Twin Oaks and the culture of that communal experience.  It’s hard to get to know others that well and develop that level of trust without a basis of daily, shared life-experience, and it’s hard to get that living outside of intentional community.  I feel very grateful that we were able to adapt our experience of community at Twin Oaks to an experience of community in C’ville.  Creating more of these kinds of opportunities for others is one of the many challenges, joyful challenges, we face.  It’s what urban evolution is all about.


~ by skybluestar on September 19, 2009.

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