First our world is about mommy (specifically mommy’s breast).
Then our world shifts to being about mommy and daddy (and immediate family).
Then one’s main focus is all is about oneself.
Then the focus turns to career
and then family.
Next is community (and politics)
And finally, before death, God.
Where do you now find yourself on this scale? Where is your principle focus? Certainly, many of us have commitment to each or several of these at a time. But, where is your primary focus? What do you spend more time thinking about?
Are you focused on career or has your perspective begun to heavily incorporate community interests?
For my wife and I, our focus shifted to community while living in Norway. Prior to that time, I had not given a lot of thought to community engagement and service and was deep into my career focus. But, leave it to a socialistic country to jar your thinking out of self and into the “kommune” (Norwegian for “community”).
Norway is all about community. A Norwegian man on a plane once asked me what I had learned about Norway, living there. I said, “Well, everything is of the community, by the community and for the community”. He said I had a learned a lot.
It is towards community that I want to guide my students, for it is through community that an artist can find their audience and/or become necessary. It is the community who is going to support an artists’ work and it is the artists, who are going to create works that resonate for a community. They need each other.
If you have not already found yourself thinking more and more about community engagement, I encourage you to do so.
But what do I mean about community? Home is where you hang your hat. Who are your people? What culture do you most identify with? Who speaks your language (emotional, intellectually, culturally, etc)? Where are your peeps located? Where is your tribe? Who is your audience and where are they found? To what community do you want to invest your energies? What community do you want to be a part of and to be a contributing member in?
Jim Hart is the founder of The International Theatre Academy Norway and The Hart Technique.