“i appreciate the work you do around here, like fixing the floor in the smoke shack or the many times i see you up very late packing seeds. There is no doubt in my mind you are a good communard in this sense. ” i was doing my clearness with Bobbie who might be 35 and has been at Acorn a bit longer than i have. But this was not the important part.
“But when i think about you more deeply, i realize i have an enigmatic experience of you. i think i have a pretty good understanding of who most of the people who live here are and what motivates them. With you i am much less sure. i know that i like you and have enjoyed your company, but really what this clearness drives me to do is suggest we hang out more so that i can get to know you better.” She smiles and agrees and a few minutes later our clearness is over.
With Chubby Squirrels on my mind i am thinking a lot about what are the best practices we have in our communities, and the more time i spend at Acorn the more i fall in love with the clearness process. Put roughly it is a forced opportunity for intimacy. Not everyone takes it, of course. There are a fair few “Oh, we are clear” style quick clearnesses. But there is an opening at each one, an opportunity that i have tried to take seriously and every time i have felt better about my connection with someone.
Every forming community must ask itself “What are we going to require of our membership, what is our mandatory behavior?” Non-violence is often required, as well as some form of work commitment. Acorn also requires clearnesses; you must do at least two a year with everyone who lives there (your own clearness with each member plus each other members clearness with you). On the relatively short list of required behaviors this opportunity for intimacy has been selected.
And if you are going to force anything, this seems like the right thing.