Sunday, May 23, 2010

Being The Change

When I began pursuing my interest in the paranormal, volunteerism was not what I had in mind. My intention was to get off the beaten path; learn about the history of Nevada and the West, explore hidden ghost towns, investigate haunted places, and capture that one bit of evidence that would prove a place to be inhabited by spirits. A few weeks ago I responded to my friend Jill's invitation to spend a Saturday washing walls, and sweeping floors. Now if you're thinking that there could be so many better ways to spend a Saturday, you are probably right. But, as it turns out, I learned a little about myself, my place in my community, and the satisfaction of "giving back". Along with  members of R.E.A.L., Reno Paranormal Group, and Virginia City Paranormal, I helped clean up the Old Washoe Club in Virginia City. My muscles whined the next day, but my spirit hummed a happy little tune.

We humans are social creatures, we like to feel like we are part of a community, we are taught from a very early age the it is right and expected to do for others. When we fulfill our societal obligations by volunteering without expectation of reward, we feel good about ourselves. And we all like that feeling.

I am a member of the paranormal community here in Northern Nevada. When I began persuing my interests in the paranormal, I didn't know anyone save my friend Paula. It's been almost 2 years since I started investigating, and I have met a lot of interesting  people: some more so than others. The community is an eclectic one: true believers, skeptics, people looking for answers, people looking for a thrill. We range from the religious to the agnostic, young to old. The one commonality is that we all have an interest in the paranormal.

A great number of us have also share an interest in the Old West and it's history. Which only makes sense since a great deal of our investigations are spent wandering the ruins of old ghost towns and the dusty rooms of bygone eras. We spend so much of our time poring over historical archives researching the stories, they become lodged in our hearts, and before you know it, we've fallen in love with these old places; we develop a sense of ownership toward them and we want to see them preserved. Washing walls, scraping paint and sweeping floors seems a small price to pay for the hours of enjoyment we have gained persuing our pastime.

Mahatma Gandhi once said "Be the change you want to see in the world" and I believe that is what volunteerism is: being that change.

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