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December 7, 2010

It is in discovering community that I feel most fortunate, most blessed, most thankful. In general, my community has flourished on-line, and in particular there has been a small, close-knit community that I really cherish.

We call ourselves The Slips – a nod to cricket, the only thing we could discover, apart from all coming from Commonwealth countries, that we share. In fact, that’s not true at all – we share a lot. We are Johnnie Moore in the UK, Chris Corrigan in Canada, Anne Pattillo in New Zealand, Geoff Brown in Australia and me, also in Australia.

Each of us had met at least one other in person, but it wasn’t until May of this year that we all met face-to-face in the same place. Rewind two years, and we’d ‘meet’ on skype, occasionally finding, amongst all those time-zones, maybe one hour in 24 when none of us had to be up at midnight or at dawn. We’d talk. We had no agenda, no purpose, other than to enjoy each other’s company. Our conversations would range far and wide. There’s no leader. There’s no timeframes. We laugh. We connect when one of us makes an offer or when we are needed to support each other.

We have made one commitment though – to all work together in each other’s countries. One down, three to go. Mostly, though, I’ve worked with Johnnie this year, something I’ve enjoyed immensely. He writes about one such experience here.

In a way, this small community has grown out of other communities: open space technology, applied improv and facilitation. In recent years, the applied improv community has given me the most to be thankful for – people, like Johnnie, who I probably would not have met otherwise; friendship, play, laughter, ideas, spontaneity and new ways to facilitate groups. When I think of community, I usually think of these larger groups. I think of local communities and of specialist communities that may be geographically dispersed and are held together by a common interest. What is it that holds The Slips together? Shared interests, friendship, a genuine liking of, and preparedness to challenge, each other. We’re not afraid to explore edgy, sometimes difficult, topics. We are concerned for each other’s well-being. Love.

We will no doubt continue to work with each other, and, I hope, collectively, as well as support our individual endeavours. And for now, for me, for 2011 – that’s enough.

I’m taking part, with 2000+ others, in a 31-day blogging challenge called #reverb10 to reflect on the past year and explore hopes for the coming year. You can read more about it here. Day 7 prompt: Community. Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011?

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