The other more important reason for Communities

I enjoy framing the discussion of the importance of community in large terms.  People pay attention when i talk about this life style being the solution to climate change.  It also feels highly relevant while people are moaning about how it is impossible to work on this issue.  But there is a far more important reason to be building community, and i don’t write about it much. And i have been especially hit by it recently. Community heals people.  We get all kinds of people and a fair few of them have rough histories.  For lots of these people community represents the first time they can start trusting the people around them on a regular basis.  Community represents stability in its most accessible form.  If you can just figure out how to do quota you can stay and all your needs are met.  And there are lots of people who will help you make quota.  Community also encourages people to step up and take responsibility and organize things and we do a pretty good job of encouraging members and interns to feel invited into these more complex tasks.  For many it is the first time they have felt really safe walking home at night alone. cloud clearing i’ve had the good fortune to become close with someone who had an impossibly ugly history before they got here.  And watching them bloom in the context of safety, intimacy and trust is a truly amazing gift.  And it powerfully reminds me what is so often missing for so many people in the mainstream.

About paxus

a funologist, memeticist and revolutionary. Can be found in the vanity bin of Wikipedia and in locations of imminent calamity. buckle up, there is going to be some rough sledding.

7 responses to “The other more important reason for Communities”

  1. Kelpie says :

    One of the first things I did after moving to Twin Oaks was to walk in the dark by myself to the river, about a mile away. It was a little scary because of past experiences I’d had in mainstream. But it was lovely. I sang all the way home. Now I sing in the dark on the paths all the time. (And I’m not the person Paxus refers to.)

  2. mkernan55 says :

    Paxus, I always enjoy your posts. Your way of telling stories always catches me and transports me in to your take on any particular topic. This post is one of those which also serves to highlight the levels of empathy you possess, and there must be many, many folks out there who benefit from their association with you. This post also serves to highlight the special place both Twin Oaks and Acorn occupy in our culture. You and your family in the communities serves a need which many may not realize they have until they are in your sphere. We’ll done.

  3. Sandy H. says :

    Does intentional community have anything to offer to someone who has found modest success in the mainstream world?

    Does the fact that some people with mental health or other issues might be attracted to community cause friction or drama for others?

    • paxus says :

      Interesting questions. I certainly think the answer to the first question is yes. A new intimate who is the CEO of a successful company is giving it up to move to the communes and home school her daughter and move away from a materialistic life style. This is certainly not important for everyone, but it is definitely important to some.

      The communities need to figure out how much mental health care they can cope with and it is often a trade off. There are some gifted folks who struggle with depression or mania. There are some lovely personalities, who we cant take care of well enough for it to work for both them and the community. There is often friction and there are also hard choices.

  4. Joy Samoheyl says :

    I have no experience with the intentional community lifestyle except exposure from my son living at Twin Oaks. I have to admit that when I first learned of his choice of this place to live, I suffered from all the misgivings that exist in my mind whenever I am forced to confront anything that is unfamiliar and yes, downright scary.

    Now, that a period of time has passed and I just read Paxus’es post I started to reflect on my feelings about that those same things now. I now know it is not a religious cult, a place where he is just hanging out doing drugs or whatever. Quite the contrary, this community has allowed him to blossom and come into his own becoming the man he wants to be. He has chosen well for himself. That fact alone makes me so proud that I raised a son that had the courage to go after what he wanted for his life. When I look at my own life, I realize that choice was never a big part of my life. I was always swept along with whatever job was offered to me, whatever housing I could afford. It never really occurred to me that what I wanted could be a factor. In light of what I know today of this alternative style, it suffers from the comparison. Not that I do not have a wonderful life with people who love me and that I love. I have been very blessed with all I need and more. This post is just my random thoughts on a topic I never expected to be a part of my life.

    I admire the efforts that the COs put into the governing of their own environment. I admire the respect they afford one another. I admire the work ethic. I admire the child rearing processes. What is not to admire? When there are two people together there will be differences of opinions. When there are It 100 or more to consider there must be extreme effort to form agreements to live together in harmony.

    Though it has been gradual but I also have come to know that more often than not, I agree with the people at Twin Oaks politically and environmentally. There are still areas I will never really understand and some I just choose to agree to disagree. I still don’t live there and probably never will but I have been blessed with their help and hospitality from time to time and I am grateful.

    I don’t really know whether this is the place to post this and I apologize if it is not, This is where I was when I thought of these things. Feel free to delete is it is inappropriate.

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