Step 2, maybe should’ve been step 3, but this is the order in which it happened for us.
We had our values list and now it seemed only rational that we seek out how to be more in alignment with our values. We started researching like crazy. And when I say ‘like crazy’, I mean it became a small obsession. Every waking, free moment was spent researching. We watched documentaries. We read articles. We purchased off-grid magazines. We stocked up on library books. We began to learn the language of alternative communities and to understand the differences/similarities between ecovillage, co-housing, off-grid, co-parenting, intentional community, permaculture farm, communal living, co-living, communes, Tribe, nomads, raw foodies, gypsies, etc etc. We began challenging our own limited viewpoints and stereotypes. We began visiting and engaging intentional communities across the country. We interviewed people we know who have lived in intentional communities. We emailed. We called. We read. We visited. We observed. We educated. We questioned. We processed late in to the nights. We wrestled with what it was we truly wanted.
We were longing for change and a community with shared values. We were longing for intimate, authentic relationships. We were desperate for a community that would further our growth. We were looking for a shared workload. We were looking for communities that valued independent thinking, shared resources, environmental awareness, maximizing individual skill-sets, and a sense of responsibility for our shared environment…both communal environment and global environment. We were looking for communities with sustainable practices. We were looking for communities with gender, age, cultural, and religious diversity. We were looking for communities who chose equality and harmony amongst its members rather than hierarchy, patriarchy, or guru heads. But above all else, we were seeking a community that really understood the value of family and children…meaning they had families and children actively participating within the community environment.
This search led to many heated debates between Adam and myself. Fear-based debates I might add.
“How can you be okay with living in one house with so many people?!?”.
“How can you be okay with the fact that three women are openly sleeping with the top dog of that community?”
“Can you not see how much ego is wrapped up in this community?”
“Why can’t you be more open-minded?”
“Is this really about the kids’ needs or is this about you?”
“Are we subjecting our children to a life without a future?”
“Why can’t we just be happy where we’re at?”
“Isn’t what we have good enough?”
“Are you really okay with subjecting us to a life of poverty?”
“What if that’s a cult and we missed the signs?”
“What the hell are we doing?”
We entertained and/or visited communities from North Carolina to New Mexico to Arizona to Missouri to California to Oregon to Texas to New York to Ecuador to Belize to Costa Rica. We wrestled with the idea of co-housing. We wrestled with the idea of living on $1/day and being completely removed from the matrix. We wrestled with the idea of selling everything and becoming an RV family. We wrestled with the idea of living completely off-grid. We wrestled with the idea of buying our own land and beginning a community of like-minded individuals.
We met fascinating individuals. We met people doing huge things in their communities on very little money. We witnessed communities who were artistic and creative and caring. We witnessed people who were tent-living or living in buses and completely content. We followed and engaged families who were unschooling and traveling the states in their RVs. We questioned how a heavily advertised “green community” could be green without the simplest of green tools such as composting and recycling? We witnessed communities who had definite hierarchies, who were openly polyamorous, who were hallucinogenic based, who had gurus they revered, who had lost their voice, who were completely falling apart, who were overrun with battles of the EGO, who were nothing more than a rich subdivision with a community kitchen who met for meals some nights of the week, who valued profit over people, who sold a lie
over the internet, who touted families but only had two children, who touted sustainability but were clearly starving, who had more drama than a tween television series, who made brags about their community harvest which was nothing more than 3 bananas per family. We met with communities that had great ideals but had never gotten off the ground. We met desperate communities and thriving communities. We found so many communities to be so outrageously priced and others to be inexpensive but somewhat destitute. We met communities with loads of lovely individuals who just quite hadn’t mastered how to develop a clear, shared vision causing for a bit of divisiveness. We met communities just attempting to launch and others that had been trying to launch for years. We invested money in a community that online looked wonderful but in person was clearly a full-blown cult. We found that so many communities were either full of 20-somethings still trying on the latest fad or full of retirees settling for the cheapest way to retire. Families were nowhere to be found. We honored the choices of all of these communities as each person has a different path to take in this life, but for our path we felt the communities were too rich, too poor, too young, too old, too fanatical, too lackadaisical, but nothing just right (for us).
And, thus, by the end of December 2017 we were absolutely spent and questioning whether what we desired was ever to be had. Or maybe we just weren’t ready. It was time to regroup and figure out exactly what it was that we wanted and how we were going to find it.
Stay Tuned for what comes next…