from Reality Sandwich, by Jonah Gabriel
Those who find themselves on the pioneering growth edge of communal living are calling for a return to our roots. Countless movements are stepping up, harnessing the power of today’s technology as a means for sharing ideas, knowledge, and resources, and are advocating for a cultural resurgence of a new form of village living. Learning from both the successes and missteps of our parents’ generation, conscious Millennials and Gen-Xers are uniquely poised to ReInhabit the Village in ways the world has never seen. Make no mistake, these aren’t your daddy’s hippy communes.
These will be carefully planned communal living settlements that work with the land to streamline energy flows and maximize quality of life. The use of natural building techniques will reduce costs and increase unique architectural appeal. These villages will operationalize functioning business models that keep them generative and affordable to their inhabitants. They will employ a combination of age-old relations models with new cutting edge social technology tools to facilitate clear agreements and open communication. Finally, they will be contributing to the emergence of living solutions for the crises we are facing on this planet. It should also be noted that the Villages of tomorrow won’t just look like rural eco-villages, but rather we can be ReInhabiting our Urban Villages as well. There are plenty of opportunities to apply the motivations shared below in our Cities and Townships.
This list is meant to inspire the villager in you. It is a call to action to get involved in your local community. If you don’t know how, you are in luck, the good people over at ReInhabiting the Village are working on it for you by creating a resource hub specifically designed to uplift all those who are working toward and interested in community building.
- Interconnection Trumps Isolation Anyday
The new villages will be composed of interconnected individuals, which is by no means a new concept. The term village certainly evokes an image of individuals and families working collaboratively toward a common vision. The major different this time around will be the interconnection between villages. It seems fair to generalize that the communes of yesteryear were often reactionary alternatives to the status quo of the time, many of which ended up existing in liminal geographies, off-grid, isolated as separate from the larger “system”. The villages of tomorrow, however, will instead be highly interconnected with one another through unprecedented capacities of telecommunications technology as well as through emerging platforms like ReInhabiting the Village, Project Nuevo Mundo, and One Community. There is no need for the villages of today and tomorrow to “Re-Invent the Wheel”, instead let us learn from one another and mutually uplift one another. We have all the tools necessary to begin building activated land nodes of regenerative village living that can serve as functioning models to the rest of the world on how to live in right relationship with ourselves, one another, and the planet. So what are we waiting for? Let’s get connected!
- Get More out of your Time and Energy
When you add your energy, your time, your labor and your resources into the collective pool, you are able to receive greater abundance than is possible when working alone or in a small family unit. Some friends come to mind who live on a 7 acre plot of land with 2 homes, a guest house, a pool house, lush gardens, a tool shop, and a healing retreat center. Ten people co-own and share this space, and not a single one of them could have created this type of living situation for themselves on their own. Of course, this does requires a dramatic shift in thinking from a “Mine” mentality to an “Ours” mentality. Fortunately, this expansion of perspective has beneficial side effects for the planet as the door is opened for what some would call “Enlightened Self Interest”, which is simply an understanding that what’s good for the All is good for the self. When we contribute to the All, we receive far more abundance for far longer than when we act for the little self.
- Returning to the Heart
As we transition out of post-industrial society into the throes of the Information Age, our world has become highly intellectualized. Indeed it was our large brains and our capacity for complex thought that allowed us to evolve beyond the Sub-Saharan African plains and into nearly every climactic zone of the planet, however, as we settle into a place of authentic reflection of where we are Now, as a species, we may notice something very important missing. Feelings are denied or manipulated, empathy is an art left untaught to the masses, IQ tests and SAT scores are given precedence over more nonlinear and emotional forms of expression. The villages of tomorrow will rewrite these priorities and be designed with an understanding of the multi-dimensionality of our humanness. Empathy as a practice and as a way of being will be taught and valued. Unexamined wounds will be given the loving attention that they deserve. Personal growth and healing are encouraged and facilitated to enable, empower, and activate whole communities of heart-centered homo-sentients.
- Reconnecting with the Land
Dig your hands in the dirt. Plant your feet firmly on the earth. Nap under the shade of an oak tree while magpies chatter overhead. Take your child on a walk with a butterfly net and study insects. Appreciate the bountiful harvests and healthy lifestyles possible when embracing community gardening. Learn the names of animals that share the land with you and watch the way they live their lives. Observe the ways the seasons change in the place where you live. When we get off the concrete and into the meadow at dusk, magical things happen. Seriously.
- The Meaning of ‘Family’ Changes
Family takes on a whole new meaning when you share living space with people intimately. It becomes more inclusive and includes more of the people you love who are always around you. While lineage, bloodline, and ancestry are important as means of understanding who we are as individuals, the concept of family will extend far beyond those directly genetically connected with you when you live in The Village. It’s difficult to explain much more than that, but when you feel it, it will make sense. Ultimately, we are all One Human Family.
- Be Supported in Living your Purpose
The Village understands that everyone has their place and purpose. When we are taught to do the soul searching necessary to truly arrive at a clear understanding of what we have been put on this planet to do, it makes it easier to recognize and to align our lives with this purpose when it shows up. When collaborative groups embrace this as an ideal and consistently hold space for people to operate from their highest, the outcome is a mutual uplifting of the collective (See Reason #1). You know your community is winning when it’s people are able to give their greatest gifts, to sing their deepest heart song, and to radiate the true joy of their being
- Wisdom is Transferred from Elders to Youth
Would you like to be able to raise your children in alignment with your core values and know that these values are being impressed upon them because they are regularly learning from your elders? The Villages of tomorrow will make intentional spaces for these interactions as a normal part of everyday life. This simple transmission from Elder to Youth (and vice versa) is the way stories, knowledge, and cultural wisdom has been passed from generation to generation for millennia. Yet, for some reason, our society is marginalizing our elderly into the cultural zones of ‘assisted living homes’ and ‘retirement communities’ instead of bringing them more fully into the center of our multi-generational circles. It is time we remembered how to honor those who have come before as much as we put our energies into paving a bright future for those who will come after.
- Resilience, Resilience, Resilience
When communities become less dependant on external systems they become less vulnerable and increasingly resilient. The capitalist economic world system, the global food system, the electrical grid, the military industrial complex, and a wide variety of other non-local systems each hold us in some varying degree of dependence. By identifying these dependencies, and actively working to disentangle them through capacity building, we develop resilience. Resilience as a term and concept is currently experiencing an overwhelming amount of attention within the scholarly literatures of many fields of study. For the purposes of the village, resilience refers to a group’s ability to prepare for, mitigate, and bounce back from systemic ‘shocks’. The more interconnected we are, the more resilient we are. The more food we grow ourselves, the more resilient we are. The more knowledge we are empowered by, the more resilient we are. The more we generate energy from alternative sources and compost the majority of our waste, the more resilient we are. Even though its a rather elusive and invisible concept, resilience is an extremely important thing for communities to have, especially when the you-know-what hits the fan!
- Shared Resources, Knowledge, Models, Tools, and Templates
With so much amazing work being done building the villages of tomorrow, we don’t have to create alone . There is no reason to fumble around in the dark for new concepts and processes that have already been tested by candlelight elsewhere. This cross-project sharing is the primary objective of the ReInhabiting the Village project, a multi-media resource hub that will support the growth and expansion of an entire network of Villages. We urge you, reader, to take a moment and watch the kickstarter video for this project and become a backer if it resonates with you.
- Creating New Culture
We have an amazing opportunity to look at the concept of creating culture as a dialogic process. With an awareness of how cultural processes and social conditioning work, we can be active creators of our reality and our futures rather than passive bystanders constantly having the 10,000 things of the world happening to us. What are the new stories of human life on planet Earth that we want to pulse into the imagisphere? How do we codify these stories into shared core values and grounded daily practices? Bring these stories and songs, these rites and rituals, with you when you arrive in councilship for your village. And so shall we create a new culture, a new way, and a new world, TOGETHER!
Now if you’ve read all these reasons and you don’t feel called to ReInhabit the Village, there’s one last thing that might. Watch this video and see if you get it!