My History of Community Living

When I first learned about intentional communities in 1976, 45 years ago, I was instantly attracted to the idea, and yearned to live in a community where people lived together in ways that enriched everyone.

I especially loved the idea of helping each other in so many ways so that people could fulfill their dreams of service. I wasn’t totally clear on what I wanted, but I knew that I wanted to learn all I could about how to live in community. And I wanted to start a community.

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When my first husband and I moved to Jerusalem, Arkansas from North San Diego County, we were thrilled to be working with a couple and their two children so they could realize their dream of owning an organic blueberry farm. We had a tiny trailer on the north forty. The fact that we had no electricity, running water, or even heat in our trailer did not phase us. In fact, in so many ways we thrived living close to nature, often eating wild edibles such as huckleberries, persimmons and wild strawberries. But working 40  hours or so in exchange for only a tiny trailer, with little gratitude for our efforts, contributed to us wanting to move. Our dreams of cooperation were dashed when unresolved conflicts took place.

We were invited to be the caretakers of the newly-built community building in Chimes, AR where we were also the coordinators of one of the first natural foods coops in the region. We serviced about 10 buying clubs all over the Ozarks, many of which evolved into regular grocery stores. Those two years held much joy as we participated in community life where people lived in their own homes on their own land, but held weekly gatherings as well as many other events that could be held in the community building and elsewhere.

But a yearning for more material pleasures–like a tape recorder (yikes!) –inspired Cliff  and I to return to California.

I need to take a pause here and do some grieving. This story is very sad to me. I will take this up later.

 

Core Values

As much as I value following Jesus, that is not one of my core values because I do not want to impose that value on someone else. I have met too many people who are not followers of Jesus with whom I have worked to make this a prerequisite. As long as people respect each others spiritual beliefs, that is good enough for me.

Some of these values you may not have heard of. So if you are drawn to the ones you understand, I encourage you to research the ones you don’t. For example, Sociocracy 3.0 contains so many values that I share. If you resonate with those values along with everything else on the list, there is a good chance we will be able to work together well.

Some people are happy to live in a community where people share different values in the interest of diversity. My view is that there is plenty of diversity within people who share the same values. I write more about it in another blog post.

core-values

Minimalism

Service to family/community/ the world

Self-care/healthy living

Veganism

nonviolence

integrity/honesty

attachment parenting

unschooling

critical/ creative thinking

empathy/respect

sociocracy 3.0

Time banking (see values here)

 

Timebanking Values

Ever since I learned about Timebanking about 8 years ago, I felt drawn to the concept and these values. I am in the process of creating a timebank that will connect the Bay Area and the Ozarks.

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There are core values underlying TimeBanking. TimeBanks have found that paying mind to them helps to nurture a sense of purpose and reminds members of the deeper meaning of TimeBanking. Here they are:

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Asset
We are all assets.
We all have something to give.

Redefining Work
Some work is beyond price.
Work has to be redefined. To create “the village” that raises healthy children, builds strong families, revitalizes neighborhoods, makes democracy work, advances social justice, and even makes the planet sustainable is valuable work. It needs to be honored, recorded and rewarded.

Reciprocity
Helping works better as a two-way street.
The question: “How can I help you?” needs to change so we ask: “How can we help each other build the world we all will live in?”

Social Networks
We need each other.
People joined in shared purpose are stronger than individuals. Helping each other, we reweave communities of support, strength & trust. Community is built upon sinking roots, building trust, creating networks. Special relationships are built on commitment.

Respect
Every human being matters.
Respect underlies freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and everything we value. Respect supplies the heart and soul of democracy. When respect is denied to anyone, we all are injured. We must respect where people are in the moment, not where we hope they will be at some future point.