The Next Step

Hello all!! It’s been a couple of weeks since my last entry. This will likely be my last entry as a Visitor at Dancing Rabbit. I have an interview with the community on Friday, and provided all goes well, I should be moving here as a Resident in October.

The last couple of weeks have been very revealing in a deeply personal sense. The baseline level of intimacy between members and residents was very awkward at first, but has shown itself to be an essential component of changing cultural norms and extinguishing the seeds of stress, anger, and violence. In a world where those are heaped upon many in abundance (especially in the U.S.), the stress levels here remain exceptionally low from anything I have ever experienced.

The overriding mission here is to create a society that is sustainable, not only in terms of ecology, but also in terms of personal interaction. The two are very closely related. I have been made very aware of the isolation many Americans experience, even while being surrounded by family, neighbors, and co-workers. The struggle for “the latest and greatest” doesn’t exist here, unless it is a useful technology that progress the mission.

I was pleasantly surprised to find an infrastructure that is robust enough to allow for many of the same creature comforts that I had at home. There are movie nights, game nights, song circles (which I have been hesitant to jump into SO FAR), and the occasional bonfire. There is a Bed and Breakfast here, The Milkweed Mercantile, which boasts a five-star rating and a large selection of snacks and wines. They also host a pizza night once a week which a consistent point of excitement within the community.

The food is outstanding. I am eating on a much more regular schedule. The food doesn’t sit nearly as “heavy” on my stomach. My typical indigestion is gone. I don’t have a scale, but I am losing weight, feeling wonderful, and have more energy than I have had in years. The circles that typically sit under my eyes are fading away.

The biggest surprise for me as far as food has been the vegan kitchen (there are a few kitchen co-ops here, and we rotate through them). I had never tried vegan food, and assumed it to be bland and malnourished; I was very mistaken. A masterful use of spices has shown it to be very, VERY good. If approved for residency, they are the top of my list for the food co-op I may join.

The work we have done so far has been mostly manual labor. We have participated in the construction of new homes, most of which are absolutely stunning. Why so many are tricked into craving “cookie cutter” homes is beyond me. Their homes embody the soul of the family/couple; they are sustainable, they are highly customized, and most marry technology, passive solar, and rain collection techniques with simple yet elegant construction. It is also built by their hands. Most homes take 2-3 years to finish, as winter doesn’t allow for much productivity.In my opinion, they are very much worth the effort and patience.

I am very excited to what the future may offer me here at Dancing Rabbit. One of the key components of the mission here is outreach; it does no good to have a great example of sustainable living if the rest of the world is unaware of viable models. They have a weekly newsletter. the DR Inc. Executive Director (who lives here) has spoken at TED Talks. There is currently a photographer from National Geographic here. He’s having a blast and clicking like crazy. I’ll likely be renting the room he is staying in upon my return (approval pending).

All in all, this experience has shown me that I am not alone in my deep concern for the problems posed to our species; Eco-villages and other intentional communities have been springing up like wildfire for the last 20 years or so. I have no one to “preach” to here, as they are all very aware, and have a heart of contribution as opposed to willful ignorance.

This place feels like a home, a very welcome first for me. I hope the community feels the same. Either way, I have nothing but admiration for what is happening here and in other eco-villages. The world needs doers, not talkers, not economists. This is a place of doers. These are the folks who can change the world; the rest just seem content to slide through. This is a good place.

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