Category: communitas


One fence to unite them all

We’re chronic renters… the longest we’ve stayed in one place since I joined the family (6 years ago) is 2.5 years.  We moved to our current house almost a year ago.  I think this one might just break the record.

home sweet home

Home Sweet Home

We’re in a small cabin in the woods, 15 minutes outside of town.  We’re in a cluster of 7 cabins total that seem to have been built originally as weekend or seasonal rentals.  Now, they’re homes to 7 households of people who found their way to this quirky neighborhood in the woods.  There’s nothing intentional about this “community”, except whatever intention brought each of us here, to live in relatively small cabins within sight and brief walking distance from 6 other homes.

Our closest neighbors are a middle-aged couple, both teachers in a local rural school.  They call themselves rednecks, have at least 5 dogs at any given time (they help a relative who runs a dogsitting business), and offer us food whenever we knock on their door.  Our mail mistakenly started going to their box when we first moved in, so we got to know them quickly as they came over daily to deliver our mail.  They’re friendly and talkative, and we have a neighborly friendship.

Directly across from us live a couple of artists, who aren’t a couple at all.  The woman has lived in the cabin for over 7 years, with various roommates.  She’s a glass artist who sells her jewelry at an outdoor stand downtown.  Her studio is set up in an outbuilding in front of her cabin, and she often works late into the night.  Her current roommate is a Japanese potter who is sometimes difficult to understand, and makes beautiful plates, mugs, and bowls in a kiln he recently built.

Down the driveway (or around the back, a quick walk through the woods), there’s a family with 3 young kids that moved in just a few months after we did.  I met them when they first came to look at the place, and I was thrilled at the prospect of having more kids in the neighborhood.  We’ve gotten to know each other slowly over the last 8 months that they’ve been here, and as the weather has gotten warmer, we’ve started sending our kids over to each others’ houses for play dates.  We’re culturally different: loud messy hippies (us) and calm tidy Christians (them), and I think I’ve held back from sharing too much of myself out of fear of offending them, not wanting to risk the beauty of having kids the same age who enjoy playing together.  It’s tricky to want a friendship, rather than just letting one form in the course of shared experience and connection.  The wanting actually gets in the way, introducing nervousness/anxiety about it not happening.  Over time, though, we seem to be getting to know each other more, with mutual respect and appreciation.

Next to their cabin lives a semi-retired dog-loving man and his professional wife, who moved in a few months before we did.  He works part-time at Lowes and has built himself a beautiful workshed.  He’s friendly and generous with his tools.  I’ve hardly met his wife.

I haven’t interacted much with the folks who live in the other two cabins, at the very beginning of the driveway.  They’re not outside much, and one cabin has “No Trespassing” signs posted.  The other cabin houses a couple of youngish guys who I met on a walk to the mailbox one day, and haven’t seen them since.

That’s our little cluster.  When we first moved in I planned on hosting a neighborhood party so we could meet everyone and start forming relationships… but I didn’t.  Why not, Kate?  Well… I was focused on other things.  At that point, creating community with these people I didn’t know wasn’t my priority.  I wanted to get the garden going, and organize the house.  I was exhaling, relaxing finally into a home that it felt good to be in, letting myself emerge again as a joyful, passionate, creative woman.

mountain view

Our fence looks nothing like this, but the view is pretty close!

Now, after almost a year here, I feel ready to dive into developing community among these people I live “with”.  First step: a community garden.  The fence was built this week, largely by me and Free and the Christian family.  Our two households have had plants in the ground since the fall, with separate shoddy fences around our own plots.  Now we have one fence to unite us all, including extra space for others who want to garden, too.  Yesterday, as the sun sank behind the mountain, we shared a blissful scene of 5 adults from 3 households working in the garden while the 4 kids played/crawled/helped/laughed around us.

I now have much of what I feared I’d lost when I left the commune.  It just looks different.  And I can live with that.

When I left Twin Oaks, my partner and I were clear about our mutual desire to live in community.  I imagined he and I would quickly gather a group of people and start the process of forming a new community together.  A week or two after I left, I asked him when we should organize the first meeting and see who was interested.  “Meeting?  It’s gotta happen organically…”

A prime example of our different styles, and beyond that, a source of vital frustration for me as I struggled to align my yearning for community with our isolated nuclear family life.  I resented his lack of focus on creating a life we both said we wanted.  He thought I was impatient and unsatisfiable.   We’ve grown, though, and over the last 6 years something has indeed unfolded as we merged organic and intentional…  we’ve welcomed friends to live in our home for months, sharing tiny spaces with multiple adults, toddlers, and teenagers.  We’ve deepened connections with friends from around the country who gather for festivals a few times a year.  We’ve found ourselves as part of a “tribe” of freaky circus performers who get together several times a week to either practice or socialize (or both) — while our kids of all ages play together.

(Edited after a night of sleeping on it: It’s not just that we now have friends and deeper connections — it’s what we do together, and how we do it.  We cook group meals, help each other move, watch each others’ kids, celebrate birthdays and holidays, share the often chaotic waves of our lives… not just as friends one-on-one, but as a group, as a collective.)

Even though it doesn’t look like I thought it would, it’s working… in a different way than the systems and Bylaws of Twin Oaks does.  There’s a lot about those systems that I miss (like income-sharing… especially when our rent is due!), but I’m being challenged to translate the lessons from the commune into life in the larger world… and it’s working in beautiful ways.

This, I think, is the new direction this blog is finally taking — reporting to you live from Bohemia with my adventures in and reflection on cooperation for the masses.

working together

figuring it out...

I’m pretty excited to be stepping back into blogging.  Integrating the old “Over the Edge” commune blog into “Passion and Patience” is fulfilling work… turning my seemingly-fragmented life into a cohesive body of work.  Tonight I’ve been re-reading posts from the last several years  — seeing what feelings, intentions, and pursuits have persisted or changed, especially since leaving the commune in January 2006… almost exactly 6 years ago!  In honor of that anniversary, I’m re-posting part of my entry from January 23, 2006, just a few days after I left:

journey of colorI’ve left Twin Oaks. In most moments, it doesn’t feel particularly extraordinary. I’m here at my partner Free’s house, hanging out with him and his kids. This is familiar to me; this has been a part of my life for nearly a year… this house, these people. I’ve been slowly integrating myself into this place (and this place into myself), and it doesn’t feel significantly different to be here without Twin Oaks to return “home” to… yet.

Right now, from the comfort of a house where I feel supported and loved, on a cozy Monday morning of tea and NPR, it’s hard to dive into the grief and fear of two days ago. Where to start? I spent my last day at Twin Oaks in a strange limbo. I had high expectations… I wanted intensity and meaningfulness, symbolic releases and powerful goodbyes. Instead, the whole day was fairly mellow. I had a morning date with Hawina, who has been a giant force in my life since early in my membership. She’s Paxus’ life partner and co-parent, and throughout my time at Twin Oaks we had several intense rounds of polyamory-induced emotional and logistical processing. We started to develop our own independent relationship through working together on the Mental Health Team over the last year, and our friendship now is deeper than I would have expected, given our history.

We chatted for awhile, then walked around the community and told each other stories of our experiences in different places. We ended up at the dining hall, and went inside for lunch. I got a plate of food and sat down with a group of friends in a small lounge area. Taking in the scene around me, friends laughing and entertaining the new baby, I felt an immediate emptiness, noting the joy and comfort and deep friendship I would be leaving in just a few hours. A friend across the room made eye contact with me, and the tears that had been building in my eyes suddenly released down my cheeks. She came over and wrapped her arms around me while I sobbed. I don’t mind crying in public; in fact, I like it. I want it to be natural to see people expressing sadness. I want to embrace sadness as an acceptable emotion, and so when I’m sad I don’t go hide out somewhere to cry unseen.

Other friends came over and sat with me, holding me and stroking my head. I calmed down and talked about how weird it felt to be there with them, and be on completely different trajectories. They were engaged in the continuing functioning of the community — I wasn’t. I was engaged in extracting myself from the fabric of their lives, while their lives continued on.

After lunch I spent a few hours getting ready for my goodbye party with another woman, Alexis, who was also leaving in a few days. We decided to have party together, sharing the experience of letting go and moving on. We decorated a large living room with all of our clothes and other items we were getting rid of, for other people to take. We hung clotheslines around the room to display our clothing, and laid out candles, earrings, condoms, and posters for our friends to choose from.

Once the room was ready for the evening’s festivities, I left to say my final goodbyes to the community. I walked around with my journal and took a few moments in different places around the commune to write memories and reflections on my experiences in those places. I wrote in the dining hall about rehearsals for musicals, meals with friends, wild dance parties, and hackey sack circles outside on sunny days. In the dairy barn, I wrote about the smell of the cows, the playfulness of the calves, the intuitive skill of herding, and the silence of solitary winter mornings. In a high field near the graveyard, I remembered moments of retreat and reflection, rituals for full moons and other pagan holidays, and running in the rain for sanctuary when my grandmother died.

In that same pasture, I engaged myself in a ritual of release. I had brought a piece of wood that I found in Maine before I moved to Twin Oaks, a bouquet of lavender from the herb garden that had been hanging in my room, and a rock I had found during a full moon mediation in that very field. I released the wood and set it softly on the earth, symbolizing that which I brought to Twin Oaks with me, and was leaving there: hesitance, passivity, deference to authority, fear of being wrong, naive independence. I then scattered the lavender beside it, symbolic of that which I acquired and experienced at Twin Oaks, and was also leaving behind: the cows, the land, daily responsibility to community members, full benefit of the collective resources of the community, safety, sanctuary. Finally, I held the rock against my chest, envisioning the confident, powerful, compassionate Self that I’ve found at Twin Oaks. Awareness and empathy, clear and honest communication, an active sense of responsibility… I want to carry this persona with me as I move on, and so I brought the rock, infused with that vision, with me. I looked at the wood and lavender on the ground, and felt the weight of the rock in my hand, and I realized that I didn’t have anything to symbolize that which I brought with me and am also carrying on with me. I looked through my bag and couldn’t find anything that fit the description, so I used my body, my eyes and lungs and nose and skin and heart. I thanked my body for carrying me to Twin Oaks, and thanked it for staying healthy enough to carry me away.

I came down from the pasture, and had enough time before dinner to hang out a bit with Paxus. It felt important to spend some time together on my last day, rooting ourselves in our continuing connection despite our many changes. We will certainly have a different relationship now that I’ve left Twin Oaks; what it looks like is up to us.

After dinner, I headed down to the courtyard to finish preparations for the party. Alexis and I had decided to have a “feed your friends” party, where no one fed themselves from their own hands. Instead, we had finger food (pineapple, grapes, chocolate, popcorn, and cake) that people could feed to each other. Once it got rolling, people walked around with platefulls of food and offered to feed each person they interacted with (I did it a lot, and loved it!). The whole party was great — folks grabbed the clothes we had on display and wore them as party outfits. We had a coffeehouse where people performed (juggling, singing, and spoken word tributes to Alexis and me), and we all danced until late in the evening. I returned to my room around 1am to finish packing. I went to sleep at 4:45 and woke up again at 6:15 to get ready to leave with the 8am trip into town.

I spent my last hour and a half at Twin Oaks running around doing final details, cleaning out my message slot, returning things I’d borrowed, and emptying my trashcan. I found Paxus one last time for our final goodbye, and then picked up my bags to load into the minivan. A friend had posted a note on the office door for me, saying simply “You will be missed” in big bold letters. I took it down as my tears started, and held it in my hand as I climbed into the van with the other folks going into town that day. We drove around to the dairy barn to pick up the milk that was to be delivered to cowshare customers (though raw, unpasturized milk can’t be sold, people can buy a share in a specific cow and receive milk from the cow that they partly own). On top of that day’s milk was another note for me, from a friend who was that morning’s milker and knew I was going in with the town trip.

Her note kept my tears flowing as we drove away from Twin Oaks, my home of three and a half years. Folks in the van asked me about my plans, and assured me that I could always come back if I wanted to. The driver offered jokingly to turn around. I cried, and felt comfortable with my tears. I chatted with a friend who I hadn’t spent much time with lately, a man named Thomas who joined the community just before I did.

The 45 minute drive passed quickly. We dropped one woman off at an early dentist appointment, and then everyone else unloaded at the downtown library. Before we headed off in our own directions, Thomas hugged me tightly and offered to help me carry my bags into the library. “No thanks,” I said. “I want to know I can do it all by myself.” It wasn’t a feminist political statement — more, it was a symbolic act of independence and my capacity to take care of myself.

As I write it now, I realize that’s only part of it. The truth is, we are all interdependent, whether we recognize it or not. The very nature of life on Earth is interdependence. Living in community just makes it more tangible. I don’t want to forget that truth simply because it’s more obscured in the mainstream culture. And yet, it felt important to me to feel my independence as I walked away from the van and my life at Twin Oaks.

Friday was hard for me, more than I expected. Sitting in the library, I felt aimless, no roots, no direction, just floating in limbo. I spent the day in deep grief and sadness about leaving my home and my friends of over 3 years, wondering what I’m heading towards and being fearful about not knowing. I cried with Free and he held me. I blamed him for picking me up late at the library and dragging me around town to run errands, and he held me. I cried and talked about my fears and he just gave me the space to be scared, giving me his love and reminding me about hope and faith.

Then on Saturday, I borrowed the car and ran some errands around town. I started a bank account. I stopped by the library to check my email. I sang in the car about how the earth is my home. I’m not rootless, I’m rooted in the earth and the global community.

As I walked down the street towards the library, this time unencumbered with bags, I felt my independence and my interdependence merging. I smiled at people I passed on the street, and they smiled back. This is my mandate for myself on this piece of the journey. Trust myself, and trust other people. Remember my independence, my capacity to create what I want, and my strength, and at the same time remember my connection with others, my responsibility to the people around me, and my commitment to honoring each person for who they are, even when I don’t understand them. We’re all in this together.

Walking the Web

dramatic

fragile or strong?

Jeffrey is skiing with the kids today, which means that he took the car up to the mountain after he dropped me off at church (Point A).  I had plans to be picked up by a friend, driven to a three-woman hangout (Point B) with another friend, who would later drive me to my evening rehearsal downtown (Point C), after which I’d ask my director to drive me home (Point D).  Or call Jeffrey to pick me up.

Friend #1, my ride from point A to point B, fell through, leaving me stranded at church trying to figure out the rest of my plans for the day.  I scanned my options as folks walked out of the foyer… I know most of them well enough to expect that they’d be happy to give me a ride downtown, but I was hesitant to ask.  What was it?  Partially embarrassment… I want to be seen as a responsible adult who has my shit together enough to know how I’m getting from Point A to Point B.  Only irresponsible teenagers ask for rides at the last minute (my snarky mind says)…

At the same time, I have a deep commitment to INTERdependence, and I feel great joy when I walk the web of friends…tribe… community.  I think part of my reluctance comes from not wanting to make others uncomfortable, those people who I don’t yet know if they want to be part of my web.  But really, aren’t we all automatically part of the same web, whether we want it or not?  In some ways, asking for help is a form of activism, making the web apparent by stepping out onto it, demonstrating its ability to hold me.

It’s different than a tightrope, because when the strand of Friend #1 fell through, there was another strand nearby to step onto.  I asked Lea, a woman I know better than many others, if she’d drive me downtown, where I could drink tea for the 4 hours until my rehearsal.  As we drove away from church, I noticed my disappointment at spending the entire afternoon alone downtown.  She offered to drive me home, if I could find a ride to rehearsal later on.  An afternoon alone at home!  A gift, to a mom and stepmom of 3 kids!  So, I called a few people from the cast, and quickly found someone who was willing to get me (but again, the same anxiety about asking for help).

Lea had to stop at her house first to pack her car with stuff to take to her daughter at a nearby college, because dropping me off at home would be on her way out of town.  We worked together, and finished quickly.  She was just as appreciative for my help as I was for getting a ride home!  Walking the web together…

And now, I’m home, enjoying the peace and beauty of this cabin in the woods, ready for my ride to come get me in a bit.

Reflecting…  I felt SO FRUSTRATED this afternoon, to the point of tears welling up in my eyes!  Frustrated with my friend for bailing on me, with Jeffrey for taking the car away all day, with the layout of this town and the lack of extensive public transportation (especially on Sundays), and with myself for all my anxieties and hangups and insecurity.  It’s times like this when I really miss the commune, where everything is in walking distance, where I had 100 people supporting my life, where I could always find a close friend who I could ask to help me.  This crazy town life, living in a community of thousands, mostly people I don’t know…  Can I trust this web?  That’s the anxiety… wanting to believe in interdependence, and feeling afraid of walking out on the web only to have it fall away beneath my feet.  When I put it that way, I know it’s one of my jobs out here to walk the web, to show its strength, to live the example of an interdependent life.

And with that, my ride is here…

I’ve been feeling the rewards of persistence lately — it’s a trait I think I embody well.  When I’m not coming from a clear place it manifests as stubbornness and control-freak tendencies, but lately I’ve been doing well at just sticking with what I believe in, holding on in rough waters, and just breathing when I don’t know what else to do.

And now I’m experiencing the beauty on the other side… the relief of experiencing what I believed was possible: the depth of connection with my husband, the utter joy of being a mama, the nourishment of social connections in town.

Tonight, I got to feel the reward of persistence in the context of my current theatrical pursuit: a community theater production of Godspell.  The process has been frustratingly slow and lonely.  Our rehearsals have been spaced so far apart that we forget what we’ve already blocked, and the cast is a group of people who all know everyone else but me… the outsider in all number of ways, it seems (socially, politically, spiritually, financially…)

We’ve been rehearsing twice a week since June, with multiple cast members absent each time for various vacations and other conflicts.  it’s felt scattered and incoherent — Godspell is such a nonsensical show anyways!  I think we’ve all been confused about the purpose of what we’re doing up till now… I’ve left rehearsals feeling lonely and unsure of how we’re going to pull it all together.  But with a show like this, there’s no choice but to keep going.  I made a commitment to the cast and the director when I joined the show, and I wouldn’t break it except in dire circumstances (I’ve only regretted not quitting a show once… a horrible production with a director who had no vision and tried to cover up that lack with sex humor).

Tonight at rehearsal, something clicked into place.  It was our first time ever having two rehearsals in a row, and our first week seeing each other more than twice.   We’re starting to know the songs and the dances well enough that we can really perform them, rather than be thinking about what comes next.  It lets us be in our bodies, fully in the physical experience of the moment — and being in the moment together is what deepens connections.  It was tangible, in our eye contact, in our joking with each other, in our comfort with physical contact (encouraging pats on the back, engaging more fully in partnered choreography…).  Maybe the change is just in me, and everyone else has been feeling this with other people all along, but I don’t think so.  It really feels like we’ve reached another level of group cohesiveness — what Edie Turner (a favorite professor in UVA’s Anthro Dept) would call communitas.  It’s that expansion of awareness beyond the self, to include awareness of the group as a whole.  It’s one of the key things I love about theater, this experience of collective intent and collective action, giving myself over to that.  I was worried we’d never get there with this show, and tonight I feel grateful for the familiar feeling filling my body and my heart.  This is what I live for…  and I’m reminded yet again that maybe the period of isolation and chaos and not knowing what comes next, maybe that is actually a necessary step in opening to a more fulfilling experience.  It seems a paraodx… and embracing paradox seems to be a major piece of being human.

This morning I danced with Aurora in the living room, classical music blaring from the kitchen.  Moving my hips with her snuggled against my belly reminded me of dancing with her the night before she was born, finding my body connection with this new being.  Now she’s not so new, and our body connection is ever evolving.  I love the way my body responds innately to hers, the way my foot moves to cushion her head when she falls, the way my nipple magnetically connects with her mouth in the dark of the night as we snuggle in bed.  Laying on my back, I lift her on my feet, high in the air, confident of our mutual balance.  We’re a team — she’s my sidekick, and I’m hers.

Sometimes I get stuck in feeling like she’s a chore to do, a responsibility that if I just get it done then I can go play.  Those are the overwhelming moments when I just want my independence back, so I can do what I want to do.  And then we dance together, or play peek-a-boo, or she smiles at me… and I catch a glimpse of this new stage of life — MOTHERHOOD — where I’m not operating alone, ever.  Even more so than living in community, my life is about interdependence, living in tandem.  When I give myself over to that experience, when I don’t fight it, I love it.

Fund SWAP update

I just received my doula training course materials in the mail today — yahoo!  Perfect timing, after spending the day at Twin Oaks with Summer, due to give birth within the next few weeks.  I’ll be supporting her during her labor, and today’s visit with her re-affirmed my passionate commitment to this work.  It’s begun!

The additional update is that the “fund SWAP” idea was a whopping success — enough money was donated for me to sign up for the course, purchase the books, AND possibly even take another course.  Beyond the money, the show of support has solidified my belief in community in all forms — not just groovy communes where people self-govern and process their feelings, but also the basic web of connectedness that comes from being human together.

Fund SWAP, continued

If you’re here to donate to the Doula Training fund, you can scroll down to Saturday’s post for the “Donate” button.  Or read on, anyways!

This experiment in voluntary resource-sharing is exciting to me.  In some ways it feels like Indiana Jones stepping out onto the invisible bridge (which movie was that? The Last Crusade?)… I *believe* that people want to support each other in pursuing their passions, the things that make them come alive.  I’d even be willing to say that I believe it’s part of “human nature” to want to support each other.  The “invisible” part of this bridge is that there aren’t many practical, established practices to do this.  Beyond Christmas and birthdays, American culture doesn’t encourage “gifting”… quite the opposite, in fact!  “Pull yourself up by your bootstraps!”

And asking for help is discouraged, a sign of weakness.  After sending out the request for donations on Friday night, I had moments of doubt and insecurity.  “Am I being greedy?”  “Am I being lazy?”  I settled on a decided “NO”.  I’m stepping out onto the web of connectedness to show that it is strong, ready to support people who need it — and not just in moments of crisis, but also in moments of opportunity.  And the moments in between, too, the mundane moments when a hug or a smile just feels good.

I have a spark, and an idea.

Since giving birth in April, I’ve been thinking about training to become a doula, offering non-medical assistance to women during pregnancy, childbirth, and afterwards.  Doulas offer both emotional and practical support, and I’m brimming with ideas of ways I might serve women in this sacred journey.

A friend of mine who recently left Twin Oaks just told me that she’s begun a correspondence doula training course, and we talked about the power of doing the coursework together.  I looked at the course overview online, and got very excited.  Birth Arts International (BAI) takes a wholistic, mother-led approach to birth, using herbal medicine and the woman’s own wisdom as guides for care.

The website mentioned that scholarships are sometimes available, and I wrote this email:

> I’m writing to request a scholarship for the Doula Certification correspondence course.  I’m passionate about encouraging women to trust their bodies’ wisdom, using all their senses and letting go of embarrassment about natural body functions.  I teach a workshop about “body taboos” that encompasses anything from body odor to wrinkles — whatever the women in the group want to explore.  Becoming a doula feels like a natural extension of this work, especially since I’ve now had the experience of childbirth!  I’m a mom to a 5 month old girl, born at home with a midwife.  I was really disappointed with some of what my midwife did during the birth, and that strengthened my desire to serve other women in their births.

>

> I need a scholarship to help pay for the course because we live very simply and have no extra money beyond our monthly bills.  We grow a lot of our own food, and barter for things we can’t pay for.  If there’s a way I could serve BAI in exchange for the scholarship, I’d be happy to!  Program promotion and text editing are two possibilities that come to mind…

> Please let me know if you need more information from me.

>

> best wishes,

> tickledspirit

The next day I received a message from the program telling me that I had a scholarship for any of their programs I wanted to take!

The scholarship covers $100 of the $350 Doula Certification course.  In thinking through ways to get the rest of the money, I had an idea…

If 25 people each donated $10 towards this course, I’d be able to do it.  I mentioned this to several of my friends and family who immediately agreed.  Then I broadened my view, imagining that other friends will one day be in this same position of wanting something passionately, without the funds to pursue it.

So I offer this idea to you.  I’m calling it a Fund SWAP (Supporting Wishes And Passions).  $10 every now and then is nothing compared with a few hundred dollars at once.  If you feel inspired, please support me in doing this Doula Certification program.  When you have a project you need funding for, send an email describing the project to your friends and family (including me!), and give us the chance to fund your passion.

(I’m using PayPal for this endeavor — it seems the easiest and most convenient.  Clicking the “Donate” button will take you to a page where you’ll indicate how much you want to donate, by what method (if you don’t have a PayPal account, you can also use a credit card).  Or, if you want, you can send me a check in the mail!)

radical radical intimacy

Lately I’ve been feeling the itch for inspiration, feeling antsy about getting a project to really throw myself into.  Rora is always here for whatever energy I have to give, of course, but I’m wanting to do something on a larger scale, involving more people.  I might direct a children’s play this winter, or facilitate an Authentic Movement class at the local community center.  My yearnings extend beyond the immediate, though… I want a long term journey to invest my energy in.  I want a mission.

I recently came across this piece I wrote for a Wetpaint wiki site on Radical Intimacy (spawned by the workshops that I’ve facilitated with Pax and Sky)… and I felt inspired:

Radical Intimacy is about more than just creating a healthy and fulfilling relationship between you and me — it’s also about creating a culture that is more conducive for intimacy. In a radically intimate culture, opportunities for intimate connections are widely available and welcomed. One vision: I’m having a hard day, and I’m walking down the street crying openly (which doesn’t make the people around me uncomfortable). I get offers for hugs or time to talk from friends and strangers alike. Whether I accept or decline, I know that the people around me welome my truth, and I feel their compassion reflected in my own compassion towards myself.

Intimacy as activism involves bringing intimacy into the public. “Visibility actions” of crying, loving, and sharing deeply in public spaces can help other people feel comfortable doing the same. We can invite others to participate in public intimacy by making eye contact with strangers. More broadly, intimacy as activism can involve redefining the traditional schedule of work all day, watch TV all night, party with friends on the weekends. Instead, we can create alternative possibilities where we work with our friends, working shorter hours because we need less money because we barter and gift within our network of intimates (and beyond!). We share our experiments, our lessons, and our challenges with others who have similar desires for a more intimate life.

This could be a piece of the mission, but it’s still not the comprehensive vision.  That’s coming — I can taste it, tingling through my body like an approaching orgasm.  Not there yet, still a ways to go… but I know I’ll get there eventually, so I can relax and enjoy the journey.