The Whole Truth

Jul 18

2011

Is Community Sustainable?

by Alexis Neely - Posted in Community, conflict, Evolutionary Entrepreneur, Life |

It is fairly apparent now that major shifts are happening, right?

Old structures are collapsing … the US economy is almost certainly headed for a deep dive, our food sources are compromised, our energy resources are sorely mishandled, and many of us are finding we can no do the things we used to be able and willing to do for a payday.

Perhaps that includes you.

As I have become present to this new reality that is emerging, I have come to believe that a return to living in community is our best hope for the future.

We have “evolved” into living in isolation and it seems along the way we have forgotten how to live together and get along.  It feels fairly clear to me that “[h]umans are social animals, and ill-equipped to live on their own.”

Though Maslow puts love & belonging in the third layer of human needs, relationship, community and connection feel to be as much a basic need as food, water, and shelter.  And yet, I/we do not seem to know how the heck to do it.

We tear each other down, push each other away, fight, look out for number one above all else and disconnect from each other.  It hurts.  It’s beyond painful.  We say we want world peace; but don’t we know that peace begins right here, in our homes, in our hearts, and in our ability to live together and get along?

Given all this, I have made the commitment to re-learn how to live — in connection to my self, the earth, Source and most challengingly of all — in community.

And it is really, really, really hard, so far.  It’s so challenging, in fact, that I am wondering if community is really sustainable.

Can this generation of independents, mis-fits, outcasts and distrusters of authority come together and create community?

I sure hope so.  Because if not, we are all screwed.  That, I believe in my heart.

So, I’m doing everything I can personally to learn how to live, work and love in community.  That’s why I am driving 3 days to Whidbey Island with my kids for the Next Step Integral community seminar, called “Evolving the We!” where Craig and I have been invited to learn and share August 9-14.

If you feel called to community, please learn along with us — come hang out with us this August on Whidbey.  Early bird rates expire Monday, the 18th, so get your ticket today.

Before you do, please leave me a comment about whether you think that our generation of independents, mis-fits, outcasts and distrusters of authority can come together and create community… because the online conversations we have here are as much a part of building our community as anything.


  • http://www.facebook.com/jeremy.m.bennett1 Jeremy Mathias Bennett

    Dear Ali,
    I definitely believe that it’s possible, especially as each of us wake up to the fullness of who we really are; which is so much bigger than anything we could imagine. As we do so, the idea that “we are connected” is not just a theory, or a good idea, but a felt Reality, that is supported by a perspective that sees everything (you name it – all the ways society is breaking down, and all the positive shifts that are occuring) as a reflection of the raising of consciousness and awareness on the planet, which is currently bringing up both our highest potential (for us to manifest in the physical world) and our darkest fears (for us to clear) to the forefront.

    As each of us process these, there will be less “rough edges” for each of us to rub against each other in a community context; Healthy skin will grow over the wounds that we – and others unconsciously touch – So that we can love passionately, and unconditionally without attachment, while ensuring the well-being (on all levels) of ourselves, and those we connect and care deeply about.

    Even greater (positive) shifts and revelations will be very soon forthcoming. Before, and during these epic changes, each of us can relax, knowing that we have more support than we can ever imagine on many realms, and simultaneously be inspired to action, because this is why we’re here; to ground Heaven, and inspired ways of living, on Earth. And so it is!

    Much Love!
    Jeremy

  • http://twitter.com/iamtamisha Tamisha Blakeney

    Hi Alexis – I love this post and I believe several things about connection.  However, for the purpose of this comment, I would like to answer that I agree that community is sustainable and will be.  While we could all spend hours going into political jargon and focusing on voting parties and partisan and bi-partisan alignment in government, I believe what we NEED at the end of the day is community.  We need it to rescue us from debt ceilings, isolation, and greed.  I believe two very important things about connection.  1) That it is deeply a part of every human being’s purpose.  We were created to share and learn through love.  Love can’t be learned through isolation or secrecy.  Vulnerability was always supposed to be a part of the plan – those who are more vulnerable, more transparent, and more open tend to be the most free and (key word), sustainable.  I don’t believe we can be free without connection, but I do agree with you – it’s becoming increasingly difficult.  2) Connection is the new currency.  You mentioned what we used to be willing and able to do for a payday and that is so true.  I believe we’re coming into a time where connection is what gets us our sustainability and focus.  I believe our payday is becoming more about quality and less about quantity.  Companionship is more important than competition and health more than wealth. 

    Love to you – what a beautiful post!

  • Oneloveamma

    Absoulutely! Hay waste…I hear everything you say and it is good. We are coming together and remembering the traditional way of sharing energy and resources to survive AND thrive. History has come full circle and it’s exciting times we exist in. The easiest way to answer your question is where you end…what is your choice? Love. Love attracts and reflects Love AND connects love much like a web of Light being built to hold the space for the new consciousness and paradigm. The web is made strong by individuals like you who continue sending out the invitations, the connections that are weaving this new Reality. Is there anything that could stop you from doing that? Of course not. Therefore I believe we will succeed as there are many doing just the same thing right now and the web of Love and Light has never in history shined brighter =) thanks for the read.

  • Brian

    Why is it so difficult for “us” to live in community? Nothing is perfect. Please identify your challenge points in community living. They are oportunities for growth. Are the challenges mostly psychological? Or are they also skill based: farming, crafting, cooking, organizational? Certainly “marriage” seems difficult, and most businesses fail, so too is community living difficult. But we keep up hope because we long for community. Out longing will win. Out desire for Natural living, community living, and harmony will win, or we will die literally and emotionally. Let’s work on living together, getting along as well as possible, caring for universal issues, and being nurturing to ourselves and our community.

  • http://www.thedowriteblog.blogspot.com Marjorie

    I appreciate this post because it doesn’t paint the process of living in community with rose-colored glasses.  Yes, I believe that as human beings we are bred to live in community — it is part of our spirit, our DNA and our collective heritage.  But so many years have passed during which we’ve lived at war with the idea of community; the “nuclear family” reined supreme and we learned to watch our neighbors’ suffering with hardly a flicker of recognition (I grew up in New York, so perhaps this lesson was more intense for me?)  Times are changing, and suddenly the idea of living in family and community is back in fashion.  But we will need to un-learn all the “stuff” of the past that taught us to separate from one another.  I don’t imagine it will be an easy process.  In fact, as much as I long for community I am honest enough with myself to say I’m not ready to do the work yet.  I’m certainly moving in that direction — and watching your own process is incredibly helpful, Alexis — but I’m taking it slowly. 

    I’m grateful to find a group of people who are moving in the same direction.  There is surely strength in numbers.  

  • http://twitter.com/christiantjr Christian

    Generally, people are very shortsighted and fearful. Fostering community requires a long term perspective. It requires vision and faith. This comes from leaders, not the masses. During times of upheaval, we need real leaders more than ever. We never need to be too concerned about the masses, because they will go wherever they’re led. What needs to be cultivated is strong, conscious leadership. 

  • Tamra Fleming

    I do believe that we can and will live in community, but the challenge is…it’s not the being a community that’s the issue, it’s about the responsibility to the inner work that each person needs to tackle in order to be a part of a community without being negatively triggered and have those emotions go wild!  There are many models of intentional communities, but it’s the people issues that get in the way, right?  A sustainbable community is possible in our human evolution, YES…because it’s all inside, not outside.  When we do the inner work, the outer work is a community of greater peace. 

    Even a small community can cause negative emotional triggers within each other with the intent to evolve and heal the self, but self responsibility is the key!  Until we commit to this work, communities will be possible, but a rough experience!  We need the triggers to evolve, AND we can improve moment to moment in our inner evolutionary work in order to BE in a community and THRIVE. 

    SO, yes, I believe in us even the independents, mis-fits, outcasts and distrusters…we are the ones who will have the grip and the glue to make it stick together.  We are the ones that left the status quo behind to try to find a better way.  If the ego stays alive, this will be a challenge, but if the heart leads and we each take 100% responsibility for our actions and reactions, we will thrive.  If we don’t, we risk a future of continued separation and suffering.  Whidbey is awesome and full of change agents!  Check out the cottage community in Langley…you’ll love it!  It’s a model built years ago now for community living…and the cottages are adorable.

  • Tamra Fleming

    I do believe that we can and will live in community, but the challenge is…it’s not the being a community that’s the issue, it’s about the responsibility to the inner work that each person needs to tackle in order to be a part of a community without being negatively triggered and have those emotions go wild!  There are many models of intentional communities, but it’s the people issues that get in the way, right?  A sustainbable community is possible in our human evolution, YES…because it’s all inside, not outside.  When we do the inner work, the outer work is a community of greater peace. 

    Even a small community can cause negative emotional triggers within each other with the intent to evolve and heal the self, but self responsibility is the key!  Until we commit to this work, communities will be possible, but a rough experience!  We need the triggers to evolve, AND we can improve moment to moment in our inner evolutionary work in order to BE in a community and THRIVE. 

    SO, yes, I believe in us even the independents, mis-fits, outcasts and distrusters…we are the ones who will have the grip and the glue to make it stick together.  We are the ones that left the status quo behind to try to find a better way.  If the ego stays alive, this will be a challenge, but if the heart leads and we each take 100% responsibility for our actions and reactions, we will thrive.  If we don’t, we risk a future of continued separation and suffering.  Whidbey is awesome and full of change agents!  Check out the cottage community in Langley…you’ll love it!  It’s a model built years ago now for community living…and the cottages are adorable.

  • Tamra Fleming

    I do believe that we can and will live in community, but the challenge is…it’s not the being a community that’s the issue, it’s about the responsibility to the inner work that each person needs to tackle in order to be a part of a community without being negatively triggered and have those emotions go wild!  There are many models of intentional communities, but it’s the people issues that get in the way, right?  A sustainbable community is possible in our human evolution, YES…because it’s all inside, not outside.  When we do the inner work, the outer work is a community of greater peace. 

    Even a small community can cause negative emotional triggers within each other with the intent to evolve and heal the self, but self responsibility is the key!  Until we commit to this work, communities will be possible, but a rough experience!  We need the triggers to evolve, AND we can improve moment to moment in our inner evolutionary work in order to BE in a community and THRIVE. 

    SO, yes, I believe in us even the independents, mis-fits, outcasts and distrusters…we are the ones who will have the grip and the glue to make it stick together.  We are the ones that left the status quo behind to try to find a better way.  If the ego stays alive, this will be a challenge, but if the heart leads and we each take 100% responsibility for our actions and reactions, we will thrive.  If we don’t, we risk a future of continued separation and suffering.  Whidbey is awesome and full of change agents!  Check out the cottage community in Langley…you’ll love it!  It’s a model built years ago now for community living…and the cottages are adorable.

  • Tamra Fleming

    I do believe that we can and will live in community, but the challenge is…it’s not the being a community that’s the issue, it’s about the responsibility to the inner work that each person needs to tackle in order to be a part of a community without being negatively triggered and have those emotions go wild!  There are many models of intentional communities, but it’s the people issues that get in the way, right?  A sustainbable community is possible in our human evolution, YES…because it’s all inside, not outside.  When we do the inner work, the outer work is a community of greater peace. 

    Even a small community can cause negative emotional triggers within each other with the intent to evolve and heal the self, but self responsibility is the key!  Until we commit to this work, communities will be possible, but a rough experience!  We need the triggers to evolve, AND we can improve moment to moment in our inner evolutionary work in order to BE in a community and THRIVE. 

    SO, yes, I believe in us even the independents, mis-fits, outcasts and distrusters…we are the ones who will have the grip and the glue to make it stick together.  We are the ones that left the status quo behind to try to find a better way.  If the ego stays alive, this will be a challenge, but if the heart leads and we each take 100% responsibility for our actions and reactions, we will thrive.  If we don’t, we risk a future of continued separation and suffering.  Whidbey is awesome and full of change agents!  Check out the cottage community in Langley…you’ll love it!  It’s a model built years ago now for community living…and the cottages are adorable.

  • MikeM

    Can this generation of independents, mis-fits, outcasts and distrusters of authority come together and create community?
    Maybe that’s not our place – but the place of our children. I’m an early Gex-X, right on the cusp between the boomers and X’ers. The Millennials are coming into power now as my generation hit’s middle age, and my children (we waited, my kids are 4 & 8) and their generation are right now forming who they will be when they take responsibility in this world in a few more years time. 

    It may be my children who eventually move us into whatever is coming next – not my generation, or even the Millennials. So, what am I holding space for our children to become, to create? What am I holding space for through the transition. How am I holding that?

    We may not need to unlearn stuff – we may need to create new – to hold space for those coming up behind us to create out of our ashes, our brokenness, our incomplete and failing responses to those who came before us.

    I find Generational Theory (Strauss-Howe ‘Generations’ and ‘The Fourth Turning’) to be thought provoking in this area. I find it helpful to put our recent past in perspective as we enter this next transition.

  • Anon

    i dunno – what do you mean by ‘community’?
    a commune? a neighbourhood? a self-selecting group of people interested in the same topic, or with the same viewpoint? a virtual meeting place?

    are you exploring how to get outside of the dominant model that organizes our interactions w/ each other, aka capitalism? that is something i’d hope “independents, mis-fits, outcasts and distrusters of authority” would be able to come together around… and build something that is not going to isolate us, that is not going to lead us into treating people as ‘clients’ and ‘opportunities for profit’ as opposed to ‘people we are in relation with’

  • Michael Merrick

    This is a nice idea, but you’re living in a fantasy world. If and when the system collapses, that will include law enforcement and chaos will ensue.

    Your farm/community will be invaded by people who haven’t thought ahead and you can kiss it goodbye.

    That’s what the farmers I worked with in France enlightened me with when I told them they were lucky to be “on the land” with their own supply of food when the system collapse. No, because their neighbors will simply kill to steal it.

  • Michael Merrick

    And please drop the whole hippie act by saying things like ” come hang out with us this August on Whidbey,” when you and you’re clearly engaging in self-promotion to make money.

    That would be Truth-Telling.

  • Sheila

    I think our power comes from our diversity… and while I tend to agree with you on most issues, I will confess that I was HORRIFIED by your announcement that you have decided to walk away from your debt. No one forced your debt ONTO you. You chose it… and while you might be able (and are) rationalizing that it is OK for you to ‘change your mind’ under the auspices of bringing about a shift for the better, that is not true. You have done what is easy. The related angst just makes you feel better about taking the convenient path.

    Bottom line is:  You took the money and now have decided to take your marbles and go home… You’ve broken the trust of those who trusted you because you don’t like your job.

    Buck up, Lady. Stand tall. Do the right thing. THAT would be growth.