land we seek is first found in the heart, then in the mind,
then in the world
The Word, New Contacts
News, Thoughts and Humor
This has been a trying time for many. One wonders what history will have to say about this time and the vast events that overshadow us now. My only precedent comes from looking back to articles and newspaper items written at the turn of the last century. I recall that there were many predictions made about what the 20th century would bring, the one thing that all the predictions had in common was that none of them came to pass. Perhaps this is a solace, that we do not know and perhaps, cannot know what is to come. In a way that frees the present from having any concern with what might be, if indeed we cannot determine what the future is going to be. I choose, therefore, to be hopeful, expectant that in the years to come we will see brighter days, peace, prosperity, and a resurgence of the individuality that made America a beacon of hope for those whose dire circumstances caused them to risk long and dangerous journeys in the hopes of obtaining a more whole life and livelihood.
Community of Light
We have had input from many who have written us. What is below is a compilation of our original ideas, plus what we have heard from others:
We want to co-create with others a community in a rural area, grow a portion of our own food, create a profitable cottage industry, and so be self employed. We want keep well the land that we live on and engage in right livelihood. We also want to contribute to the community around us and so benefit our society. Ideally, we would want to be near enough to a town of approximately 50,000 or so, a college community, might be considered. We could each use our talents, abilities, or professions to provide for ourselves as well as whatever "cottage industry" would be.
Consider yourselves welcome to email us to express your ideas about what our community should be. We are, after all, the persons who will make it up.
I imagine there are a lot of ideas out there and I know that what has been written in this or prior issues are meant as to be a working concept, one that is in progress, and meant to be discussed, even debated.
If you have not been to the Community of Lights web page we now have a listing of communities that are forming. It may be educational to visit some of those sites to see what's new in the community universe: the URL for our web Address is this:
If you would like to leave a telephone message for us, you can leave one at Wendy's voicemail which is 415-364-3045
Thanks, Dan and Wendy
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
These are the introductions from persons that have written us since the last issue. Please go to Subscriber's Introductions if you would like to see the profiles we have on file currently. Some but not all of these people may have additional information there.
Usually I put people's email addresses next to their letters or articles, if their email address is not there it might be listed with their profile, if they have one, see the link above.
If you want to write someone and cannot find their email I will be glad to arrange an exchange.
Jennie Larson .......... email@example.com
I think this is a great idea, and want to support you. I am a senior at Berkeley high, and dream of living in a sustainable commune. I have realized that to reject modern civilization as a whole is merely impossible for me, because there are things that I do rely on. I am pursuing further education, young and naive and don't want to make any commitments, but I want to let you know I support you, and am seeking out a commune lifestyle. By the time you get into action, I will probably be ready to make that change of lifestyle, so please stay in touch with me. my e-mail is:
salima/anne .......... Dervishheart@aol.com
Sorry not to have written sooner.....first of all, I have few assets, and none of them financial. I do believe I have skills, but have spent all this time thinking about how to describe them. I guess they are needlework, office skills, financial, creative design of color and form, cooking vegetarian with unbridled imagination, flexibility and ability to improvise, an incurably sunny and optimistic disposition, and a strong desire for harmony among all people. I will probably be setting out on the road in April of next year, with some places to visit first, both here and abroad. I'll keep in touch.
Paisley .......... firstname.lastname@example.org
I can tell you what I'll bring to the table. I am a fantastic organizer and coordinator. I also have talent in the way of food prep. I'm easy going, strong, dependable, reliable and social. I would like to see how things develop.
"Everyone is a moon and has a dark side, which he never shows to anyone." - Mark Twain
Lenita .......... email@example.com
I'm afraid I don't have much to contribute monetarily but I have (as they say in my neighborhood) mad skills. By trade I'm a web designer and portrait artist, but my many hobbies include leather working, cooking, sewing, candle making and soap making and probably a couple other things that escape me right now. I also have a good deal of gardening experience and hopefully one day I can raise chickens, turkeys and rabbits and maybe one day a few sheep so I can learn how to spin wool for crocheting and weaving.
As far as the vital stats about myself, I'm a 34 year old female with strong Christian beliefs but I do know how to live with those who aren't.
Like you, I would like to be self sufficient and not waste my life pursuing money, but rather have an extensive trading system, not only within the community but with a few small local neighborhoods from whom we can get materials not readily produced internally. A rural existence is exactly what I had in mind. And I totally applaud your wish to be off the power-grid! Before I found you, I considered grid power which would be used extremely sparingly or running a gasoline generator. Using hydraulic or wind power is even better!
I think there is special power in a group of people who by choice come together and actually thrive against "conventional" wisdom and create something incredible where others just see useless wilderness.
Damian .......... firstname.lastname@example.org
I happened upon your website and would like to be put on your newsletter list. We have lived in rural areas, though currently are not. We have been interested in getting back to the country, and have been considering a small intentional community.
Roger Mcconnell .......... email@example.com
What community means to me is security, stability, friends, working for my own benefit.
I join a community to make a statement about mutually beneficial and protective culture among other the other benefits. I have visited and lived in communities for the last six years.
I am a skilled electrician/electrical power systems designer as well as semiskilled carpenter, plumber, mechanic and autoCad design/drafter.
I have no particular belief system except that what people do depends on environment including evolution. Also, no one deserves to be any wealthier or poorer than anyone else.
My diet is mostly carnivorous although I have considered vegetarianism.
I try to run and lift weights regularly, so I am in pretty good shape especially for 59 years, but I do take an inexpensive prescription medication for a heart arrhythmia I once had.
I have lived in communal community for the 6 years.
Decisions would be made by this group subject to override by a simple majority of members.
Also needs up front a set of customs or rules to be followed by all without exception and a set of rights or privileges mutual to all. Egalitarianism is essential as well as self-reliance and semi separation from the outside culture to avoid its upsetting your experiment.
But I need this right now, a refuge from homelessness which is nipping at my heals with a vengeance. No employment and dwindling funds is over taking me fast. There are those who I believe fear success of anything like this and are punishing me for actively campaigning for it.
Greetings. Congratulations on your wonderful website. It is very informative and highly useful. It makes the heart sing to see you following your dream. I too am following a dream - to create a community of like-minded free spirits. The community will be modeled somewhat after the Findhorn Foundation. If you are interested, we can maintain an email dialogue. In the meantime, I am preparing to get back to Scotland for more research.
West Virginia anyone?
kyra kostas/Patricia .......... firstname.lastname@example.org
I am so glad that I found your site! I have a wealth of knowledge on fundraising and non-profit work along with a being a UN NGO. I lead a natural lifestyle using herbs, aromatherapy,and homeopathy. I grow my own veggies an herbs and have done my share of farming. I also over the last ten years off and on have run my own craft business. I have a good knowledge of horses and breeding Labradors. I am in Arizona right now, but West Virginia is where my home and heart are. I know of many tracts of land in WV that would be perfect for your venture. One piece of land has 650 acres, streams, mountains, barns,and a Civil War mansion in need of a lot of repair, a livable house, and most of the farm equipment comes with the sale of the property. It has been for sale quite some time now and the owners losing money. WV is loaded with places like this and the prices are so low. The state is perfect for seclusion and has almost no zoning laws to speak of. You will always find that southern hospitality where ever you go. Living off the grid is the norm for WV. I have been working with a great real estate agent and she is very creative.
Next Year, interested in moving on?
Lauren Schlicht .......... email@example.com
I spent time at Findhorn, a community in Scotland, about 10 years ago and since returning to the states have been looking to get involved in a community.
My list of requirements for where to locate, is almost the same as yours. I would add two things. The first is water, if you want to do any type of agriculture. And if water is a problem now, it will be a crisis in the future. This, unfortunately, takes out the southwest (New Mexico, Ariz., Colorado, So Cal, and west Texas). When water rights are listed on a property description - beware. Second is zoning. Many states have agricultural zoning (the only way to afford a large chunk of land) for farmland or rural land. But with that zoning goes restrictions on the number of acres needed per dwelling. Here in Colorado it is 35 acres/house. So you either have to apply to get a variance (time consuming, expensive and may never happen), or have 35 acres per household, cluster the houses together and leave the rest open space (also expensive).
In my search I have found one area that fits my criteria - the area around Asheville NC. Asheville is a college town, with a metaphysical community. The land within an hour's drive can be bought for $2000/acre. There are still pristine wooded areas and you can find properties that have pasture, farmland and woods in a 50 acre parcel. There is plenty of water and fields don't need irrigation. The weather is perfect. It is high enough in the Blue Ridge Mountains to stay cool in the summer and has all 4 seasons, including some snow in the winter (pretty, but not enough to be a pain). And the total lack of zoning means the original founders could go and buy 50-100 acres, sell ü-1 acre lots to members who want to build and own their own houses, and hold the rest in common for livestock, agriculture and open space.
The other piece of intelligence I would like to add, is that being completely self-sustainable is hard work (especially when corn is going for 5 ears for $1 at the grocery store). It is easier to support a community by growing exotic fruits/vegetables, mushrooms and herbs for restaurants. A pound of Shitake mushrooms will buy a lot of organic broccoli. If you have the land and the abilities, if the need arises, the community can always become self-sufficient.
I am a 43 year old professional woman working in marketing of high tech. I have traveled all over the world. Community has always interested me and now I am ready to get serious in finding/starting a community. I would like to see one with a balance of private ownership and outside jobs (as needed) and joint ownership and a cottage industry. Someone wrote earlier about the problem of someone leaving the kibbutz after many years of work with nothing. I saw this at Findhorn, people who were afraid to leave the community (because they had nothing), yet were no longer involved in 'community'. They really brought down the community spirit. For some people community is a lifestyle for a lifetime and for others it fits a specific period of their lives and they will go on to other things.
I have experience in marketing and business development, which would be useful for finding and launching a cottage industry. I have computer and telecommunications experience, for doing business on the web. In addition I have the experience and equipment for growing exotic mushrooms and beekeeping.
I would like to start talking to people who are interested in doing something next year, and who would have some capital to bring to the venture. I think Asheville is a great area, but an open for suggestions. I envision a core group who could afford to purchase 50-100 acres and put up a house (alternative buildings welcome!). Together we could put together the structure for others to join us by purchasing their 1 acre and a house. As we grow, we would add common areas, including common housing, where people without capital could get started and people who want to 'try out' the community could live.
Anonymous ......... firstname.lastname@example.org
This would be one that follows the virtues or the ancient 10 commandments but adding in forgiveness. We should all have access to science & technology college books & preferably equipment to experiment safely with. I'd like all naturally grown vegetables & fruits. Animals for food not pets wouldn't be rejected. I have studied "pets" they grow all sorts of funguses. Pianos are extremely relaxing along with non-chlorinated indoor heated pools or if the community is already in a place that is warm year round then a simple lake would do. I can help build structures. A community would be open to everything safe & of the mind. To me natural means no smoking. From what I have tried orange juice is vary healthy so having some kind of access to either money or growing them would be advisable .
Southern Indiana .........email@example.com
These individuals have a good deal in common with our thoughts on some of the matters. Take a look at how they answered the ten questions that we send out to everyone who inquires about the Community of Light, it makes for interesting reading.
Fellow BioGems Defender,
Email has proven effective we can all participate, it is rather easy to do. I feel it is the least we can do.
I want to thank you for visiting http://www.savebiogems.org and taking action against President Bush's plan to open the Arctic Wildlife Refuge to oil development. This on-line campaign, which began with an email message to a few thousand people, has already generated 450,000 letters of protest to Congress. The fight for the Arctic Refuge continues on Capitol Hill, but there's no doubt that we've helped turn the tide against the president's destructive proposal. What a shining example of our collective power to make a difference! We'll keep you posted on the outcome of this important fight for our natural heritage.
In the meantime, if you want to do even more to help save America's last wild places, then please visit http://www.savebiogems.org/yellowstone/.
There, you'll learn how the Bush-Cheney energy plan endangers Yellowstone and other unspoiled wild lands of the Rockies -- and how you can help save them.
Thank you Sincerely yours,
Robert Redford Trustee, Natural Resources Defense Council
If you want to research intentional communities this is a good place to start.
Communities Magazine comes out regularly and it is a resource for those seeking to explore the life in a commune. The directory that they have is a great primer in understanding the variety of life out in the community universe. You can write them at the address given below. This is their office address.
Communities Magazine, 138 Twin Oaks Road, Louisa VA 23093 USA or call them at: Tel/Fax: 540-894-5126. Their website is at Intentional Communities
You might also find the resources on the Northwest Intentional Communities site to be valuable. There are lists of legal documents, process advice, how to find people, etc. They can be found at: http://www.ic.org/nica/resource.htm
This is a list of places seeking members, communities forming and the like. I have come across it at the F.I.C.'s website: http://elph.anu.net/reach/reachbook-all.html
It might be a place for some of you to do research and get a good impression of what is available in your area.
Do you Yahoo?
We have also begun a Yahoo Group. This is a second try. At this URL: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CommunityOfLight you will need to have a Yahoo ID, but this is free and takes but a short while to acquire. Then once you have asked to join the moderator will add you in. I hope that it will allow a supplementary means for us to communicate with each other, since one can post comments and use the groups mailing function.
Free Long Distance Calls!
I have noticed that many of the email addresses we have use AOL. It is not surprising perhaps but could be useful.
AOL has an instant messenger that is free to download from their site and allows voice chat between users. I have talked cross country and although it has some quirks, it does work, and it is free. If you would like to communicate amongst yourselves or with me I would be willing to share userid's to facilitate communication between us.
This idea in from one of our subscribers:
We could grow exotic vegetables for seed and sell the seed. There is very little choice out there in the way of vegetable seed. This suggestion from James Shrank, one of our subscribers. I think that this idea or variations of it could be a viable way to create income. I also thought of raising culinary and medicinal herbs, organically, and selling the dried produce through mail order.
This letter to me was recently received and I opted for passing the information along to all of you, it may be something useful for someone now, or maybe for al all of us in the future. I do not have the technical expertise to evaluate it, but if if someone does please let me know what you think.
Thank you Dan
Dear Community of Light,
I wish to inform you of a technology company that has the ability to bring tremendous benefits to our environment, and a free energy program they are currently offering. The company is the United Community Services of America, which has a new non-polluting, permanent magnet generator. A demonstration of the generator can be seen on their website, www.ucsofa.com.
U.C.S.A. is offering free energy for life to the first 1,600,000 homeowners and renters (who gain permission from landlords) in the U.S. and Canada who sign up to receive one of these magnetic generators. Generator installation and servicing is also free, and sign-up is even free through my sponsorship.
This program will allow U.C.S.A. to achieve a large public support for this new energy source, and gain access to the power grid. They will give the homeowner 26,000 kilowatts of energy per year (17,000 kw is an average home's use), and sell the excess energy produced to local power companies and other commercial users.
Please consider looking into this important environmental breakthrough, which can change energy production as we know it--for the better! We need a large grassroots response for this kickoff offer, so our opposition is unable to stop this technology from reaching the market.
Once the 1,600,000 people sign up, two public demonstrations will occur in every state, and one in every province, during the same day, so this information becomes widely known.
I am a recruiter and sponsor for U.C.S.A.'s free energy program, so feel free to contact me with any questions you may have about the program.
Jared Lillis Lillis@centurytel.net
The Wolves Within
An old grandfather, whose grandson came to him with anger at a schoolmate who had done him an injustice said, " Let me tell you a story."
"I too at times have felt a great hate for those who have taken so much, with no sorrow for what they do. But hate wears you down, and does not hurt your enemy. It is like drinking a poison and wishing your enemy would die. I have struggled with these feelings many times."
He continued, " It is as if there are two wolves inside of me; one is good and does no harm. He lives in harmony with all around him and does not take offense when no offense was intended. He will only fight when it is right to do so, and in the right way."
" But the other wolf is full of anger. The smallest thing will set him into a fit of temper. He fights everyone, all the time, for no reason. He cannot think because his anger and hate are so great."
" It is hard to live with these two wolves inside me, for both of them try to dominate my spirit."
The boy looked intently into his grandfather's eyes and asked," Which one wins, Grandfather?"
The grandfather solemnly replied, " The one I feed."
I have recently received this letter, although the persons email address is not operational for some reason, the idea of locating to this area might have its appeal. The link below provides an introduction to a number of communities. It is also worth looking at, if only for information's sake.
Currently I am living on a lot astride the Nulichucky river in Jonesborough Tennessee. For pictures of the property (this website will be updated frequently) and some basic info see the link below. It is but a possibility for this wonderful site so close to the Cherokee National Forest. I would ultimately like to turn this site into, among other things, a Healing community not unlike what I've seen at Omega in upstate New York. Am myself a reikimaster and intend to go to school to be certified in massage therapy. This property is not too far from civilization at all, being near Johnson city and Bristol, Virginia.
I figure it would be more realistic to appeal to outsiders who would like to visit for a weekend and experience all we have to offer, Already there are rentable kayaks and river guides available. Also hiking guides from myself or Nick.
My idea for a healing resort has great potential, and of course, the river running along the property and breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains make the place a virtual paradise. Ten people could put a down payment on a mortgage and seal the deal or if Carter gets a well paying job.
All I know is, come heck or high water, I will continue to live on this property- it means that much to me. I myself have a book in the running that might solve many financial problems. Dwellings can be provided with time, for up to five extra right now. contact this URL for other places, Communities
This from Sterling Stipe a subscriber, asking for comments on some of his concerns.
I hope some of you will write a little essay on how important the group living concept is going to be for people in the developed countries in the future. At 70 years of age I seem not to have the energy to get it done as I had hoped to do.
As the third world countries build factories incorporating the latest technology and put hi-tech products on the world market at low prices, the wage levels in the developed countries may have to fall. But on the other hand, if the populations of those countries have more income to spend, perhaps the U.S. producers will be able to sell more products to them.
It is questionable whether our technological society can maintain the huge difference in standards of living or be dragged down from foreign competition. It is not so important to maintain a huge difference, but it is important that all the world's human and physical resources be used as efficiently as possible. We would hope all people will be able to have as much comfort in life as we have.
Inefficient allocation of resources is the tragedy of the current outbreak of Terrorism. It causes everyone to divert resources from the production of food and shelter to the production of guns and supplies for destruction or for defense. Why can't those who promote terrorism understand this simple reality. Apparently they do not understand economics.
The living efficiencies to be gained from group living will become more and more important to the coming generations of Americans. Perhaps some of your current and prospective group members would like to submit some ideas about the efficiencies they would expect from group living. I would enjoy reading those ideas.
With computer networking available in a group or multifamily setting, the decisions that use to take interminable hours of meetings for a group to resolve, should take much less time. Each individual can post his ideas on the network and then respond on the network when votes are taken. Organic food production at home and home schooling of children would be major features of group living in my mind. With the internet many occupations can be done from home now.
Systems of accounting for both money and labor will be easier to manage with computers.
Best wishes, Sterling Stipe
I Am Thankful For
The partner who hogs the covers every night, because he/she isn't out with someone else.
The teenager who is not doing dishes but is watching TV, because that means he/she is at home and not on the streets.
For the taxes that I pay, because it means that I am employed.
For the mess to clean after a party, because it means that I've been surrounded by friends.
For the clothes that fit a little too snug, because it means I've enough to eat.
For my shadow that watches me work, because it means I'm out in the sunshine.
For a lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning, and gutters that need fixing, because it means I have a home.
For all the complaining I hear about the government, because it means that we have freedom of speech.
For the parking spot I find at the far end of the parking lot, because it means I'm capable of walking and that I've been blessed with transportation.
For my huge heating bill, because it means I'm warm.
For the lady behind me in my place of worship who sings off key, because it means that I can hear.
For the pile of laundry and ironing, because it means I have clothes to wear.
For weariness and aching muscles at the end of the day, because it means I've been capable of working hard.
For the alarm that goes off in the early morning hours, because it means that I'm alive.
And finally....... For too much e-mail, because it means I have friends who are thinking of me.
Community: Theory and Concerns
roger mcconnell .......... firstname.lastname@example.org
This is an area of concern that we should think about, let us know what you might think about this persons concerns:
I would assume if we are talking about intentional community, we are saying that conventional community leaves something to be desired, and that we must distance, at least to some degree, ourselves to begin an alternative that will, if we're successful, not have the same or similar problems.
I guess I would have to ask if we are talking about a new more idyllic culture, if not, what is it all about? Culture I am defining as a set of customs or rules practiced by a community. We must talk about community as a culture or way of life defined by a set of customs, in reality, rules and a set of rights or privileges that may be expected in return for complying with the community's customs.
I would not want to be exploited as an employee of some profit motivated business mostly for its benefit. Escaping or avoiding exploitation would of course be mutual benefit of all the members of a communal community.
I would like to use as a baseline from which to build a better alternative. Just the fact I suggest alternative ways of doing things which contradict popular opinion at some communities I have been involved with was grounds for inflicting upon me condescension, contempt, scorn, spite and revenge. A concern I have therefore, is, "Why do people treat each other that way but not at other times? And how can we avoid building it into the idyllic community we are thinking about?"