Causes, clubhouses, and the strength of Holds
Our Strongholds are unique and clever. They can be heartbreaking and heartwarming. As a citizen throughout multiple varients, Causes, and personal Paths, I've been blessed to be apart of some great institutions. Predominately a member of the Emergence Academy, but also the Dreamers of Light, the Tribe of Predilection, Halls of the Sacred Trust, and I'm sure some others not listed that I'd like to forget. Recently, my Home atop the Basin closed it's portals, but I was honored to serve as the Advisor there for a short while; as well as a Ruler, Guardian, and Initiate in the past to complete the entire Circle of experiences in full. For that, I am blessed.
But the purpose of this short paper is to encourage and support *all* open Causes in a tidbit of advice regarding the image or 'design' of yours, or anyone else's Cause for that matter. I have found that in my years in our City, that too often houses never live up to potential, never do what they 'say' they will do, and become nothing more than clubhouses. While true, I have knowingly indulged in such practices myself and brushed it off to the side; but given my most recent experience, I must advise caution in allowing this to happen to the current Houses still scratching and clawing to understand the requirements to stay open, keep members engaged, and their roster numbers high.
So often does the Thrill of the Hunt turn into nothing more than the Chill of Defeat once the new wears off and the old shines through. Once the excitement of accomplishment becomes smudged with the drama of various problems, inactivity, disagreements, or lack of transparency, it's often too hard to recover. Be careful to stay off this slippery slope - the one where a group worked so hard with each other and *for* each other, only to later be disappointed, upset, or discarded by each other. Normally when this happens, a Cause no longer remains a Cause, and simply becomes a clubhouse. Even tree houses and forts and other types of social circles for young children become old news, and we outgrow them -- it's really not that much different from us, adult dreamers.
My suggestion is to simply 'recruit' strangers. Folks you don't know well -- not necessarily newly awakened, but all dreamers foreign to you. Of course, this opens one up to scrutiny or potential invasion (which is damn near unavoidable either way you cut it), but as I've always said, "One cannot make an omelet without cracking some eggs.....ANY good cook will tell you that!" I think this simple notion is where House factions struggle the most. It's in our nature to have feelings, and conflict, and even the best of friends can go through dark times. Having a Home of nothing but your best pal peers is tough to maintain, because eventually folks tire of complacency, or boredom, or any singular clique.
I think it's important to note that starting out hot is fantastic, but, to maintain that consistency is incredibly difficult. We all have agendas and lives outside of the Dreaming, and we must look to split time, and it's hard to carry passion into everything we do, every time, everywhere, and in our case - every dream. Of course, I absolutely encourage unity, family, and friendships, but a Cause has to be more. It has to mean more, and has to be encouraged by more than, say, a Ruler or two. Often I've seen a Home struggle because a member or two work extremely hard to keep folks engaged, but eventually grow tired and frustrated. No one wants to be a worker bee all of the time, so please, find your safe havens... recharge, and go at it again. Have I mentioned my Tavern in the Basin that's open to the public?
To close, I merely want to suggest that I am no stranger to House failure *and* House success. The recipe is clear, but also increasingly challenging to incorporate all of the necessary ingredients to promote long-term success. But for those looking to grow and maintain a healthy, engaged roster, the best piece of advice I can give is to seek those who are unique and foreign to you. We all have something to bring to our chosen Home, and our Dream. If you never ask the stranger, your fellow citizen.... you nor your Home, nor our City, may benefit from what a mere 'stranger' has to offer.
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