Tuesday, December 18, 2012

12/19/12—Being The Ant

Today's Draw: #58 from the Golden Moth Illumination Deck by Aijung Kim. What value and import do you place on community? How much do you give to your community? Do you feel there's room in your life to kick it up a notch?

You may remember this deck from last week where there was a cracked egg visual. Oddly, that same card is the card I chose first tonight. So I chose again and got the ants. I want to use this card to talk some about community, but first I wanted to impart some ant trivia. 

  • The ant has the largest brain, in proportion to its size, in the animal kingdom. 
  • The little dude can lift 50x his weight and pull 30x times his weight (you'd think he could pull more than he can lift, but I guess not.)
  • Ants can yawn. 
  • An ant can live for up to two weeks under water. They're hard to drown because water can't penetrate their miniscule breathing tubes. 
  • Ants have two stomachs—one for their own needs and one to feed others. 

This last bit of trivia kind of dovetails with the community thing I was going to talk about. Ant colonies are strong communities where everyone works for the common good. In a way, they create socialist societies. And the understanding that runs those societies has, in part, made them one of earth's most successful species. They have roamed the earth for more than 100 million years and there are more than 20,000 species of ants living in nearly every climate on earth.

Everything I've ever read about survival and the success of the human race has stressed the importance of community. I've been thinking about the idea of community more and more lately. I'm a little of a loner and I like it that way. So the idea of my survival depending on me being part of a community scares me a little. But perhaps not as much as being alone in a survival situation does.

This thought of having two stomachs...one to feed yourself and one to feed others...seems to me to be the epitome of community and dedication. In humans, it's what happens during pregnancy and after birth where a mother shares her nutrients with her child. It's also kind of what people like Oprah and Bill Gates do when they share so much of their wealth with others.

For a long time now, I've devoted part of my life to helping others in one way or another. I was a literacy and ESL volunteer for many years. I lead free meetups for people wanting to learn tarot. I make blog posts to help others think more consciously about their lives. There is no such thing as being selfless. There's nothing we do that doesn't have some sort of payoff for us, even it just makes us feel good about our walk on earth. I know I've always gotten more back than I give.

But I don't have an extra stomach set aside to feed another. That's kicking it up a notch. Or three...haha. So it's got me thinking. Part of the path we've chosen to walk is that we kick it up a notch when we start to feel comfortable or when we see we might be lacking.

I love my lone wolf life. I have friends and family and they are part of my community. But I'm thinking more and more about how to feel more a part of my local community, as well as the larger community of man in more of that extra stomach way. I see a lot of "what best serves Tierney" going on in my life. And while I don't think that's any different than most people around me, I do believe I can do better. 


  1. Thanks for this Tierney. I've always loved ants, and I learned a lot about them through your post! i have always admired ants' diligence.

    Your thoughts on community are interesting. I also feel a bit like a lone wolf sometimes. I enjoy being around others who i can connect with, but I tend to feel drained when I am around people too much. I need my time apart in order to feel like myself again. I have often felt like a weirdo because of this, and wondered why i couldn't take more part in the community as I see others do. I'm not sure how I will "kick it up a notch" either. But I also have decided that I need to accept myself more for the way I am and the way I function, and I find that accepting my limitations actually allows me to give in a more healthy way. Instead of forcing myself out of obligation, I let myself rest and relax so I'm able to give with a heart that feels more free. I am also working on giving myself credit for the ways in which i do give that aren't the conventional "out in the world" ways. This helps me to withhold judgement on myself. judging myself leads to anger with myself, which leads to me not wanting to give because I feel like such a limited person. see, i told you i was a weirdo!

    anyway, i think the answer to your community question will come to you if you give it some time, and it will be inspired. maybe it will be unconventional. I think that you do give a lot. Your Daily Draw Blog inspires me and gives me ideas. the fact that you can do it on such a regular basis is an amazing feat in itself!

  2. I don't think you're a weirdo at all. I'm the same way. I get my energy from being alone and lose it when I'm with others. I'm the weirdo because I think of things like survival in a post-apocalyptic world and how we'll need to create community and I better practice now...haha.