HOPE FILLS THE SAILS ON THE SHIP SAILING TO YOUR DESTINY
DOCUMENTS SUPPORTING DIANA LEAFE CHRISTIAN PRESENTATION
Excerpted from Finding Community: How to Join an Ecovillage or Intentional Community,
by Diana Leafe Christian. New Society Publishers, 2007. www.DianaLeafeChristian.org
From the Introduction:
What is an Intentional Community?
My favorite definition of an intentional community is Bill Metcalf’s, in The Findhorn Book of Community Living (Findhorn Press, 2004): “Intentional communities are formed when people choose to live with or near enough to each other to carry out a shared lifestyle, within a shared culture and with a common purpose.” Most intentional communities share land or housing or live in adjacent properties, though a few are non-residential. Most govern themselves with some form of participatory democracy, such as consensus decision-making, super-majority voting, or majority-rule voting. Relatively few (usually spiritual or religious communities) are governed by a spiritual or religious leader or a group of leaders.
The common purposes of communities vary widely. Ecovillages, for example, are intentional communities which model and demonstrate ecologically sustainable lifestyles. They can be urban or rural. My favorite definition of an ecovillage comes from Robert and Diane Gilman, in 1990: “a human-scale, full-featured settlement, in which human activities are harmlessly integrated into the natural world in a way that is supportive of healthy human development and can be successfully continued into the indefinite future.” Ecovillage members tend to live as sustainably as they can, which often includes (depending on their setting) growing much of their own organic food, living in passive-solar homes made of natural materials such as strawbale or cob, generating their own renewable energy, car-pooling and/or using biodiesel fuels, and so on. We’ll explore ecovillages much more thoroughly in Chapter Four.
The almost 100 cohousing communities in North America offer great family neighborhoods owned and managed by the residents themselves—ideal places in which to raise children or grow older. In fact, elder cohousing, a new but growing trend in the cohousing movement, offer seniors an appealing alternative to retirement communities. In cohousing communities people live in smaller-than-normal housing units, often in two-story townhouse-style dwellings, and share common ownership of a large “common house” with kitchen, dining room, meeting space, children’s play area, laundry facilities, and other shared amenities, and in which they share optional meals several nights a week. (See Chapter Five.)
Urban group households of various kinds offer their residents lowered housing costs, shared expenses, and a lively social scene. Some urban communities are organized as housing co-ops, including student housing co-ops, elder housing co-ops, and limited equity housing co-ops, which allow students, elders, and people with limited funds, respectively, to share ownership of their housing, share resources, make decisions cooperatively, and enjoy a closer connection to their neighbors than they would simply living in apartment buildings or condos. (See Chapter Six.)
Rural back-to-the-land homesteads offer their members the opportunity to grow much of their own food and practice rural self-reliance skills. Communities organized as conference and retreat centers, holistic healing centers, and sustainability education centers are often rural, food-growing settlements as well, offering workshops and courses to the public. (See Chapter Seven.)
Christian communities offer Christian fellowship and shared worship; some are income-sharing, some are not. Some Christian communities also provide needed services to others; for example, the Catholic Worker communities in many cities offer food and shelter for the urban homeless. By the way, most scholars of intentional communities include Catholic monasteries and convents, which in fact they consider the most long-lived form of intentional community in the Western world. (See Chapter Eight.)
Spiritual communities provide spiritual teaching and common spiritual practice, such as such as yoga ashrams and Buddhist meditation centers, while spiritually eclectic communities welcome members with a variety of different spiritual paths, and often offer public workshops on a wide variety of spiritual and personal growth themes. Some spiritual communities, such as the over 100 Camphill Communities in Europe and North America, serve the needs of developmentally disabled adults or children in a community setting. (See Chapter Nine.)
In income-sharing communes, members operate one or more community businesses, with each member receiving room, board, and either a small stipend, or the community pays for their basic needs. In some income-sharing communes members work outside the community, and pool their salaries or wages, with the same arrangement—receiving room, board, and a stipend, or the community pays for their basic needs. (I use the term “commune” in this income-sharing sense, and not as a synonym for “intentional community,” as many journalists mistakenly do.) (See Chapter Ten.)
Here are seven reasons why you might enjoy living in an ecovillage or intentional community.
• It’s more environmentally sound.You can impact the planet with a smaller ecological footprint.
• It’s safer.You can raise a family or grow older in a wholesome, safe environment.
• It’s healthier. Medical researchers find that people live healthier lives if they have many close social connections, particularly as they get older.
• It’s cheaper.Shared resources and economies of scale reduce the cost of living.
• It’s more satisfying.You can experience a sense of connection and support with like-minded friends and colleagues.
• You’ll grow as a person.You will undoubtedly become more self-aware, and possibly more tolerant and compassionate. You’ll learn better communication skills, and will become better at participating in meetings. You can learn new skills in other realms. And you’ll probably develop more self-confidence.
• It’s more fun. You can experience the child’s delight of sharing life’s pleasures with friends.
Videos of Ecovillages, Cohousing Communities, and an Income-Sharing Commune
1.1 Urban Ecovillage in big city
90-second video - Los Angeles Eco-Village
1.2 Rural Ecovillage in Baja California:
7-minute video – Baja BioSana
To learn more about urban ecovillages:
31-minute video – Los Angeles Ecovillage – self-reliance in car-free urban homestead
To learn more about rural ecovillages:
19-minute video – Crystal Waters Ecovillage
1.3 How ecovillages influence their regions and countries
45-minute video – How Ecovillages Benefit the Wider Culture
My (Diana’s) presentation and slide show — with slides embedded in the video. April, 2018
2. Cohousing Communities
2.1 7-minute video - What is Cohousing and Is It Right for You?
To learn more about cohousing neighborhoods:
13-minute video: Planet Community – Episode 4 – Cohousing Communities of Ann Arbor
3. Income-Sharing Communities
3.1 7-minute video – Have You Ever Wanted to Drop Ouf of Capitalism? Outliers Ep. 1
To learn more about Income-Sharing Communities:
27-minute video - American Story – Small-Scale Communism at Twin Oaks
FULL VIEW OF ANGELIC
FULL VIEW OF ANGELIC FACE TURNED TOWARD ME
Parallel Lightning and Linear Fog
Out the worksite did I fly, enraged
For I was disconnected, so
Disconnected did I go…searching,
To find the wily beasts:
Cellular and Internet.
By the café where I hoped to hitch
A vagrant ride on someone else’s
I was passed by a narrow face,
So taught and tied with anger,
From under her Indian-black hair
Fresh from a bottle,
With her purloined lips, so tight, so rare,
And a glare that even poked outside
From her sunglasses,
For she was disconnected.
A realtor, no less, with not one
To reach the needy masses.
We shuddered in our rich dismay.
With no time left to spare, I chose
The road to heaven and over dale
To send my missives by the trail of
Wi-Fi and the miracles of speed
Beneath my steed of plastic, chip and snail.
Towards the blackening skies I drove
Up the Western tail of the Sierras,
Darkening in thunder and in hail.
How slow the trek as I stopped for workers
Moving rocks that would in moments past have
Bent my frame and set my sail to fall
A thousand feet off the trail.
At last the rain and hail drove even those
Brave workmen into havens,
Warm and covered strongholds,
While I continued foolish up the rivulet
Of highway white with freezing rain.
At 7000 feet the walls were tight and black
As the rain turned red granite into slate
And water could not wait
Upon my lane to let it pass,
As the anvil of the Gods grew nearer,
And their bright lights, glowing embers,
Burning clouds and rocks asunder.
And here is where I wondered at
The hair raising all about my arms and legs,
And my head a generator.
For to my left, in canyon air,
The mists were breaking loose the fire,
Displays of monstrous fortitude,
And parallel to my view.
I was in the anvil of the Gods,
Within the cradle where bolts grew,
And eye-to-eye with Thor’s caress.
When in that salad tossed array
Of ice and fire, of rock and glare,
Of tympani and Vulcan’s hammer,
My little voice made prayer…and
There is no telling of it truly…
The little voice was pared, pared away
Like an apple skin,
Revealing but a core.
A new voice spoke within so deep,
To fill my every cell and breath.
“Of these things and more,” it said,
“But you are not quite ready yet.”
Then driving on, with storm behind,
The black snake road was mystified.
Mists rose up, but not like those
Since childhood on rain cooled streets.
No, a wall shot but straight up,
Restricting views to a hundred feet,
Yet left and right were seen without restraint.
Through that wall I faintly flew,
As even others passed in blindness.
Only my faith held me through
Nature’s bold unkindness.
A linear fog, so rare, so strong
That only grew from out the path
Taken on a routine drive;
But now a trick and now a trap,
As fear sat laughing in my lap.
Steering wheel and brake lights flew
About the journey of that hour,
For I had not a single power
But to go on with what I knew.
And then…without a notice or a knock,
The voice insistent came anew.
“Of these things and more,” it said,
“But you are not quite ready yet.”
I shuddered, wondering of my sanity,
And wondered if the storm had struck me, too.
“Your time is coming near,” the voice remained.
“You will bring forth the souls of beach
And mansion, valley and spring,
To cross these same great mountains to the deserts.
On to know hopes and great visions.
For you will be given voice and place
To save those listening: those in Grace.”
And there was silence.
Oh, such a silence,
Before a brief command:
“You are but the whisper from my hand.”
And then I was alone,
Somehow, and out,
Far out away from the linear fog,
The parallel light,
The boulders to my right,
And to my left tall forest logs,
Trapping the traveler,
Squeezing like a python’s soul:
Gog and Magog,
How would I know now what to do?
Who could I tell?
What future grew
Out of those words that echoed chills?
Am I disconnected still?