In episode 19 of the Humans inside the Pods Frans quotes me, questioning the need for friends outside of the K9 Community. That is something I said. More than once. It was always jokingly but the truth is, I found what I needed in the house and did not see the necesity to "go out to the real world".
At what point does living in your bubble stops being comfortable and becomes damaging, both for the Community and the resident?
If you've listened to Frans' episode, you'll hear that he mostly gained from the experience in the end. But this was a conversation that forced me to reflect on this topic a bit more. Living in a community might sound like a "lot of work" for some at first, and when googling around, most of the perks of co-living seem to revolve around "cheaper rent, less cleaning, more tech and discounts from partners". The truth is, at K9 we didnt have any of that (expect for cleaning). We had:
- a home to call ours - a sense of safety (both through the built environment and the group) - connections - status (if nothing else, as a member) - positive peer pressure towards a better "us"
Rings any bells? Maybe you're familiar with Abraham Maslow's "A theory of Human Motivation"
or Manfred Max-Neef's"Model of Human cale Development" ?
While the models differ in several ways they both look at the different needs humans seek to fulfill. It really felt like the K9 community was providing the whole shabang.
So why bother looking for it outside of the bubble?
Well, we all know, whether we admit it or not, the bubble is going to burst. Time passes, people and circonstances change and we need to evolve with it.
The bubbles that do last are those which are porous, allowing for some comings and goings. Letting us apply what we've learnt "inside", to the "outside world", encouraging us to share what we have created with the rest of the world. Otherwise, our "so-called" self actualisation will fall appart as the bubble burst.
As always, it's all about balance. Between FOMO and JOMO*. Nurturing the sense of belonging, safety and growth the Community offers while encouraging to apply it all to the bigger scale.
Protected and comfortable inside our bubble we are too happy to forget about the outside world and redefine our own miniature world within our community.
The jokes around"we" and "them" can become a slippery slop. Without even noticing it, we easily end up building a wall. We tell ourselves it's to protect the sense of belonging but if we are not careful we built it too high and it turns into a prison. When it is time to move (on/forward...), we run the risk to realise everything we thought we had learnt and integrated we have also left behind. Our bubble has bursted and we are left out.
It's the classical lesson, by loving something too much, by being too protective and possessive, you eventually smother it. Ways to avoid this is to be more attentive, to consciously make a point of honor never to let the bubble effect dust settle down and to take actions. As simple as they may seem: regularly checking on friends who arent housemates, joining events outside the home, inviting friends to attend house gatherings, doing an activity on your own... Because simply being aware of it is not enough. When we are comfortable it's difficult to think about the potential repercussions on the future us. It's wonderful to live in the moment, but it should not stop us from aknowledging that everything in life is fleeting: a transition, a pitstop on a long journey , a learning experience...with a before and an after. There is as much at stake for the Community itself as there is for the resident here. That is why it is one of the most essential role of the Community, one often overlooked becaue of its complexity, to give its members the tools to better handle the bubble effect and make sure it's a long lasting porous one.
* Fear of Missing Out and Joy of Missing Out