We might idealize that if we all have a commitment to a common purpose that it will work itself out. We might say we come from love but It is usually when effort is required that things start to fall apart. My experience has been that even among good friends who know each other pretty well, there are disagreements about how to implement things. Everyone has a different rhythm to their lives: some function better earlier in the day and then zone out in the evening … some are late risers that come to life at night. The secret is in being flexible enough to keep everyone functioning and happy.
Then there is the subject of food: in my own circle of friends we have vegans, raw foodists, vegetarians, meat eaters, sweet eaters and every version in between. It makes even eating out together challenging at times.
We have those who prefer early morning yoga, practitioners of tai chi and qigong, tennis players and swimmers, those who prefer hiking or long walks in the evening, and even those who are couch potatoes even if they don’t want to admit it. The great thing about community is to have everything available and have an instant pool of people who enjoy what you love doing.
Being in community requires excellent communication skills, a long term commitment to making it work, effort in resolving conflicts, foresight in recognizing patterns and potential problems, willingness to put egos aside, maintenance of systems designed to make it work, an agreement to deal with issues as they come up and a willingness to deal with misunderstandings -- rather than avoiding loving confrontation. Even the word confrontation makes everyone cringe … which I suspect is why it doesn’t come up until it is too late in many cases.
My ideal would be a community where everyone feels safe to express their needs and wants without recrimination and judgment to they can have a place to grow and expand to all of life’s possibilities with like-minded travelers. It might include daily sharing of activities and information, maybe a monthly sharing where everyone presents a summary of what books they have read or activities they enjoyed. It would include a system of tasks needing to be done for community benefit like sharing cooking <or hiring a cook> and gardening chores, or cleaning community space so that no one feels put upon. It would enable people to travel and have others take care of their kids or pets or plants if needed. It would provide a space for rituals and celebrations and music and art and writing projects. It would include a large space for workshops … where we could invite guest speakers or simply share what we know. Of course, I would also want all the amenities: pool, tennis courts, a labyrinth that we build onsite, waterfalls, a lake, and a healing center for massage and bodywork and pedicures.
Since I am a hermit … as are many of my friends … it would include a LOT of alone time as well. Everyone would have their own private space that they could retreat to whenever they wished and not feel obligated to interact.
What would you include in your perfect community? What amenities would you want?