The other night I met some incredibly interesting people, who grew up in an intentional community in Alaska.
This intentional community was founded over 30 years ago, by four families who took a look around at the flawed and dysfunctional society they lived in, and decided to try something different.
Their society is macrobiotic, minimalist, and communitarian. Everything is shared, decisions are made together in a daily meeting, there is no governing body, everyone is home-schooled, and there is no exchange of money.
Similar intentional communities exist all over the world, but I’d never met anyone who grew up in one. For hours, I asked questions, and we talked openly about the areas of modern society that are dramatically failing, and how different alternative communities are trying to do better.
Throughout the transparent discussion of politics, environmental sustainability, sexuality, food, and communication, I was completely mind-blown. My jaw kept dropping, my mind exploded about a million times, and the flood of non-stop synchronicities kept making me want to scream.
As early into childhood as I can remember, I wanted to join a nudist colony or hippie commune (both of which would now be called intentional communities). Even before I had to live life as an adult, our society didn’t sit right with me, and I felt drawn to communities of people who rebelled against it, and wrote their own rules.
I’ve also been obsessed with the idea of building a community lately, of finding a place to put down roots and become a fixture in a community of like-minded people. The internet is amazing and I certainly have built a community here that I adore, but I crave the energy of an in-person community, ideally somewhere that I am surrounded with friends, family, and emotionally intelligent strangers.
I want to have people over to discuss politics and personal healing, to practice transparent communication and challenge each other to be better, to support each other and raise each other up so that we may each fulfill our purpose, live our best lives, and leave the world better than we found it.
This craving for community is based on the isolation, disconnection, and profound loneliness I see the digital era sweeping across our generation.
I don’t mind being a person on the internet, but I need to balance it by being a person in the real world too. I don’t mind being a nomad, but the nomadic life isn’t my permanent plan.
I fantasize about finding or building a community in which we can all truly thrive, where we can all face this new landscape of the digital era (and the widespread systems of oppression and violence that it’s exposing) together.
Our society is deeply broken, and I don’t have all the answers but I know we can do better.
Personally, I believe doing better requires letting go of some “western value” darlings, like the myth of the meritocracy, the concept of being “colorblind” when it comes to race, toxic masculinity, the trickle-down theory, the idea that we need access to guns to protect ourselves from the government, the individualistic concept of pulling yourself up by your bootstraps, and the measure of “success” being materialistic.
My entire country is literally founded on colonialism, genocide, white supremacy, and misogyny. Capitalism hurts us in ways that were unimaginable before the digital revolution, gun violence is out of control, and we’re obsessed with power and money. We don’t give a shit about the planet, we don’t know how to care for our bodies, and we’re epically awash in unhealed trauma.
We can do better.
Since trump was elected, I’ve been feeling an ever-increasing call toward revolution, toward a political and emotional uprising of personal growth and healing. My intention has been to find a community of people whose values align with mine, and become an active participant, and help us move toward the revolution I feel is coming.
Perhaps we’ll overthrow the government, I’ve thought. Or secede from the union. Perhaps we’ll stay and fight for ground, as the dinosaurs die out and our generation takes over.
But something has been blossoming in my heart the last few days, since I had that transformative conversation– a desire to simply lead by example, rather than fighting. To simply create what I’m craving, rather than complaining about what’s broken.
The wheels have been turning about how I could create my own intentional community– one where gender roles are challenged, implicit biases are dismantled, hierarchies don’t exist, and traumas are healed.
I imagine a huge plot of land focused on permaculture, with multiple dwellings and a community house. I imagine everyone supplying their most authentic gifts, and really deeply seen and appreciated for who they are. I imagine hosting dinner parties and retreats and workshops, focused on building connection, intimacy, and communication skills.
I imagine living in community with other families, raising a child with other people who recognize that it literally takes a village to thrive.
Maybe this fantasy is silly.
Maybe it’ll pass.
Maybe it’s irresponsible and escapist.
Maybe it’s my soul’s path.
I don’t know where all this is going yet, but I thought I might share it with you, in case any of you are feeling a similar dissatisfaction with our society, call toward revolution, or aching for community.
Note: you don’t have to agree with my politics to feel like everything in our society is broken right now. You don’t have to agree with what the “better way” could look like, but I think a lot of people are feeling right now that this way is not working.
I wonder what it would look like if more of us found our people, and founded intentional communities based on shared values and worldviews. If more of us might get our needs met. If more of us might thrive.
What do you think?