INTENTIONAL COMMUNITY - LEARNING TO SHARE OUR LIVES
Big plans are now underway in our household. Mary Beth and I have put our house up for sale. Our friend Karen Wainberg (on right in photo) from Portland has put her house on the market. We've found a house in the nearby town of Bath and we hope to be able to purchase it soon.
We plan on creating an intentional community.
Over the years as I have traveled I've visited several Catholic Worker houses around the country. Each are a bit different. Some feed the poor and others have large gardens. Still others specialize on local organizing and taking in a family from time to time that needs temporary shelter.
Mary Beth and I have been talking for a long time about living in such a community but the opportunity had never emerged. Then about a year ago we began talking with Karen about such a life.
We started talking about the way we live in isolation from each other. My Italian mother's family lived multi-generationally and I always loved visiting them in between our moves from one military base to another when I was young. It was exciting to feel connected to a much larger community. I've never liked the isolation of the nuclear family. "Nuclear" family is a phrase that to me represents blowing up the extended family for the present system of "every man for himself" way of living.
The nuclear family is not a sustainable way to live. Each small family unit must have their own lawn mower, vacuum, washer/dryer, cars, TV's, and on and on. By living together we learn to use less by sharing more. I think our present economic system has largely been built by fostering this notion of "individuality" in the way we live - alone and heavy consumers.
It's also not sustainable to be emotionally remote from each other.
By sharing our energies and resources in community we also lessen our need to make as much money freeing each of us up just a bit to have more time to do service work in our community at a pace that does not burn us all out.
One other vision we have for our intentional community will be to invite others, not directly living with us, to still be a part of the community. By holding regular suppers and sharing circles we will explore with each other questions like these: What does community mean to us? How can we act together to build our community and have an impact on the wider world? How do we have conversion of the military industrial complex without conversion in our own lives? How do we expand our commitment to work for change? How do we share our bounty with those who have much less? How do we live as a community more gently on the Earth? You get the drift.
For me it is all about trying to integrate my broader vision of a sustainable society into my everyday way of living. I want it all. I want a feeling of community all the time - not just when I go to a retreat or a wonderful potluck supper. I want to ride my bike and a train instead of my car. I want to see military production facilities converted so they can build the trains. I want
to see people work closer together in order that we help each other through these hard and frustrating times - help each other through the isolation of the nuclear age.
For me being human means to be in a constant state of questioning and change. In a constant state of reevaluation of the way I am living and being open to new possibilities.
We are excited about our emerging new way of life.