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Creating Community

Have you ever wondered, “How did I end up here?” Sometimes the steps that facilitate our growth—and later are seen to be our greatest blessings—are uncomfortable; they present us with new challenges to negotiate in our lives. Consider the following story.

One of my clients was living in a Native American community in South Dakota in which she felt understood and accepted. She was embraced by people who, mostly, share her personal and lifestyle values. She resonated with her environment physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. It was her home.

However, she decided to expand her opportunities, and chose to accept a career transfer to Arkansas. She settled into a suburban neighborhood in which she was the only single woman, and the only career woman. She was cast into a culture in which she felt like a fish out of water, and wondered whether she had made the right move. She began to feel as though she had taken a step away from that which is most important to her, namely a community in which she feels she belongs.

Her challenge has become how to create a living situation that meets her needs in a culture that is new and different. She does not experience the natural ease of interacting with the people or the social activities in Arkansas that she did in South Dakota.

In South Dakota, though, the community so neatly matched her personality that she was unaware of her unique predilections. The gift of moving to a place in which she feels awkward is her development of an increased awareness of her own disposition and expression. Arkansas is providing her with the opportunity to clarify what it was that worked so well for her in South Dakota. She is becoming more conscious of her needs and how to meet them. Additionally, she is becoming conscious of needs that had remained under the surface in South Dakota, but are more permissible in Arkansas. In general, she is developing an expanded sense of self, as well as a larger degree of autonomy in caring for herself.

Throughout this process, she has gained a greater appreciation of the needs of others that are distinct from her own. Since her move, she has developed new strategies for relating to her co-workers, re-connected with various family members, and found peace with the ending of a former romantic relationship.

While her life had seemed more comfortable in South Dakota, it had contained a set of assumptions about the world that were becoming stifling. By changing her context, my client has begun to question her former assumptions so as to be able consciously to create a life that more completely aligns with her authentic self-expression.

Many of us seek to find the location in which we feel the most comfortable. However, while a certain level of comfort creates an environment in which we feel safe enough to grow, it is not the comfort itself that supports and spurs our growth.

Stepping outside the box offers new growth!

Written by Heidi Szycher, a staff member at the Boulder Psychic Institute. Check out her personal site at

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