A story and guidance by Danny about Community:


The topic of community is very close to my heart.

In my twenties I was embraced by a supportive community and it had a transformational effect on my life. So, when the topic of ‘community’ arose when starting Good Souls, I felt passionate about sharing my story.

Communities swallow us up without us even knowing. We rarely choose to be a member of one but always find ourselves in one. It’s common for people to go through life without even considering their community but there are two circumstances when your community really matters:

When it rejects you. When it embraces you.

My friend Gary wrote this great blog about belonging. In it he describes two experiences he had growing up where he felt like he didn’t belong: the council estate where he lived and the grammar school where he studied. Both these places made him feel rejected, both these places made him feel like he wasn’t welcome, both these places were communities!

Although communities are often regarded as essential for human growth and happiness, such a force can also be toxic.

We all grow up in communities.

Some of us grow out of communities.

I grew out of my community. I’d known for a long time that it was a toxic environment for me. You gained membership by the types of drugs you took and the amount of alcohol you could consume, members looked out for each other and attacked outsiders; we enforced conformity with aggressive words aimed at anybody who dared to be different; our shared needs, values and goals were focused around a selfish drive for limitless highs and ever reaching thrills; and our shared emotional connection took us ‘on tour’ flaunting our destructive culture and disregarding those who condemned it.

All the signs were there to leave- I awoke one night surrounded by fire and was lucky to escape alive. Then a close friend tragically died of a drug overdose while at one of our house parties. And then, on the night of my birthday, my then best friend horrifically died in a drink driving accident.

I didn’t actively choose to be in that community. The lottery of location birthed me into it and the fear instilled by the fierce rules of conformity held me there.

I eventually found the courage and actively chose to leave, the only way possible was to go a long way away.

I threw my name into a hat to go to the USA and by chance was drawn out to attend a place boasting:

‘a purposefully created community makes the heart and soul of Interlocken’.


Back then I didn’t know what that meant. Can communities be purposefully created? I was about to discover that YES they can and the key ingredients for doing so were:

Transparency- The idea that ‘we are creating a community’ was known to everybody and each person was invited to be a part of it. Unlike the community I was ‘born’ into, everybody had a choice and could make an active decision at the beginning if they wanted to be part of this creation.

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