Building Loving Communities

Green Summer Festival
Photo by Brent Nelson

Building Loving Communities
by Starcat

Recently our performance troupe was part of a festival up in the mountains of western Maine. Everyone there was friendly, open, and helpful. The organizers were welcoming, everyone was encouraged to have fun and be themselves, and people of all ages were having a great time. When I looked around the grounds of the festival, I saw a community that was not only full of love, but also … it worked.

Sure, there were vendors and thus a market economy. But I also saw lots of bartering, sharing, and kindness. It wasn’t a place where anyone could have gone hungry. One of the vendors had a sign up that said “Free Grilled Cheese Sandwiches.” There was a huge bonfire in the middle of the field that was communal, sharing warmth with anyone who wished it. Strangers became friends easily, and there was an uplifting vibe all weekend.

There are many people across the world who are working to build spaces like this in their various communities. Some community spaces are temporary, like festivals and gatherings. Others are physical, as co-ops, CSAs, and communal living become more and more available. And then there are the many online communities, built around shared interests and helping empower people to live the lives they dream about.

If I paid close attention to the mainstream news media, which for the most part I don’t, I would probably feel a sense of despair about the state of the world we live in. And I’m not saying we don’t have serious challenges to deal with. Yet I’m feeling hopeful.

What I see, more and more as we progress into the 21st century, is the human desire for community and love ascending and manifesting. BlackLion, ElvenTiger and I are on our way to the Rethinking Everything conference, which started out nearly two decades ago as a group of unschoolers rethinking the educational paradigm for their children. It has evolved into a vibrant community of people who are using their creativity, will, and skills to rethink all aspects of how we live our lives. And this is just one example of what’s going on in places all over the globe.

Together, our communities can continue to become stronger. We can collectively raise our consciousness and live in ways that are in harmony with the Earth, all her beings, and one another. Cooperation and mutual respect are powerful learning tools for the young and old alike.

Creating community takes practice, compassion, patience, creativity, strong focus, commitment, faith, and a huge dose of joy and playfulness. It takes each person doing their own inner work. It takes collective leadership, each one of us coming forward to lead where our skills and strengths call for it, and then stepping aside to let others have their turn in the spotlight. Building intentional community is hard work, but the rewards are many, and I believe that it’s the future of our societies.

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