Thursday, June 28, 2012

A Long, Strange Trip

This is the post I've been promising on my community plans. I know it's taken me a while but I haven't had anything in place until now, and there is still a lot of things that are shifting.

This will be a more personal post than I usually do. I hope that it may be useful to others searching for community as well as letting those who follow this blog know what I will be doing and why. Among other things (and this even sounds crazy to me) I'll be quitting my job, leaving my home, and traveling around the country. In otherwords, I'll be jobless, homeless, and I don't even like traveling.

In order to understand why I would do this to myself, you need to know that my goal in life (more or less for the last 25 years) has been to live in a community where people were connected and committed to building something together. I had this at least once when I lived in a community I helped build that lasted five years in the nineties. I've decided that I really want to live in a community like this somewhere in New England, if possible, or at least on the east coast.

My most recent attempt has not turned out to be what I wanted. There have been some parallels here with what happened with an attempt to build community in northern New England a few years back that made me realize that I need more than just my own willingness and efforts to build community. I need other people with the passion to do this and at least one with some real experience. I won't do it again without both those pieces--that's a public promise. At this point I'm looking for either a community to join or some people to build one with.

There are two wonderful communities in Virginia that are examples of what I want: Twin Oaks and Acorn (see my last post, Communities of Communities, for more information on them and other communities I mention in this post). Both communities require a three week visit to apply for membership. I knew that Twin Oaks had a long waiting list so I contacted Acorn, initially for a three week visit in July. They approved it but said they were very full and that even if I was accepted, it would be at least six months before they had an opening. (Note--in some ways this is a good sign; the fact that both Acorn and Twin Oaks are full with long lists means there are lots of people who want this kind of community.)

At that point I heard about an interesting community in the midwest looking for people and decided to apply there instead. Unfortunately, it turned out to not be a good fit. So now I am back to visiting and applying at Acorn.

And it looks like I will spend the fall traveling. I'm beginning with the Communities Conference at Twin Oaks on Labor Day weekend (hoping that there I can connect with some folks really interested in community) followed by my three week visit to Acorn nearby, now rescheduled for right after the conference. I will apply for membership there, but even if  they accept me, I won't be able to stay. So I will come back to Boston briefly before leaving to visit a very close friend in Oakland, California (and since I don't like flying, I will be going across country by train or bus, a four day journey in either direction). I will spend about a week with my friend sometime in October (and may stop to visit the northeast Missouri communities--again, see my last post for details on them--on the way back) and then I'm now trying to schedule a three week visit at Twin Oaks in November. I hope to be back in Boston for the holidays, probably staying with friends and family, and maybe by that time I'll have some idea what I'll be doing in 2013. My goal for next year is to either get into one of the Virginia communities (Twin Oaks, Acorn, Living Energy Farm, 'Chubby Squirrels', or something else that emerges) or be building a community in New England with committed people.

What makes this really difficult is that I'm now 60, and soon to be 61. But I know this is what I need to do. I believe in the social change ideas I talk about in this blog and, for me, the way to put them into practice is a community that models these ideas. If it takes me the rest of my life to find or build that community, well, that's what I need to do.

Quote of the day: "...hope is not an emotion; it's a way of thinking or a cognitive process. ... hope is a combination of setting goals, having the tenacity and perseverence to pursue them, and believing in our own abilities. ... Toleration for disappointment, determination, and a belief in self are at the heart of hope." - Brené Brown


Jerry said...

I would so love to hear a C-Realm podcast interview with you about this important effort of yours, your experiences so far and what you are trying to achieve. I`m not sure if you are aware of KMO and the C-Realm but I think it is right up your alley. KMO was living at The Farm for awhile as well, working at the EcoVillage Training Center. Community has always been one of the big things to which the C in C-Realm pertains.

MoonRaven said...

Thanks for turning me on to the C-Realm. I checked it out and it looks quite interesting. I definitely will keep a watch on it.

I can't imagine being in a pod cast. (I don't even listen to them--I read the transcripts when they're available.) I also can't imagine they'd be interested in me--I'm going to be spending the fall checking out the community experiments going on Virginia (and perhaps briefly Missouri)--C-Realm should interview some of the people who live there.

Thanks again for the info, Jerry.

vera said...

I'll be in Dancing Rabbit in October during their last visitor session of the year... I would love to meet you. We are near in age and quest. Blessings.

MoonRaven said...

Hi Vera,

Unfortunately, I won't be stopping by the Missouri communities in October--that part of my plans have shifted.

However, I would love to be in contact with you and hear more about your quest. You can email me at and let me know what you are up to. I would love to hear more about DR (before and after you visit) as well as whatever else you are doing.

Thanks for your comment and I hope this leads to us connecting.