Yes, I've been awful about posting lately. I've been wrapped up working on a community that we were hoping to start in upstate New York. I spent more than a year meeting and planning with these folks. And then it all fell apart.
The guy behind it had an amazing vision, clear and detailed. He was also very competent, a skilled farmer and builder. And, in spite of the fact that he insisted he wanted to do this as an egalitarian community, he was not very good with people. He asked others interested in the community vision to also take leadership. I thought that was very good. But when someone did take leadership, he told them everything they did wrong or claimed they had no understanding of what he was trying to accomplish and were working on the wrong things. Unsurprisingly, others became more reluctant to take any leadership. He was very good at making others feel like they were useless and incompetent. I finally realized you can't build community with that.
My part in all of this was that I was so taken with the vision that I tried to ignore the problems. This isn't the first time that I've gotten so caught up in building community that I didn't pay much attention to the problems until they were insurmountable. But most of the other times, I've been lead astray by people's lack of clarity (allowing me to see what I wanted to see). This time I had things down in writing--I thought that would protect me.
My latest learning: A clear vision isn't enough.
And so, it's back to the drawing board. As someone pointed out when I said that to them, "That drawing board must look awfully familiar."
At the moment, I do have several alternatives, and I'm still hoping to be involved in community in the fall, but right now I've got a little time and space. So, I hope to do a bunch of blog posts over the next month, focusing on stuff I've been reading and learning. Oh, and if anyone is interested in building community in the northeast USA, let me know. In spite of it all, it's still what I want to do.
Yes, I'm still chasing my dream of community. It's a lifelong pursuit.
Quote of the Day: "Make a list of the work that inspires you. Don't be practical. Don't think about trying to make a living; think about doing something you love. ... What do you want to be when you grow up? What brings meaning to you?" - Brené Brown