Over Thanksgiving, at our friend's home in Citrus Heights, I pondered the "X" factor that makes community out of individuals. I've realized it's far too complex a thing to quantify, but I can see that there are some basic tools that allow it to blossom: eating together, talking about shared values, demonstrating shared values, tolerance around when someone has a way of expressing his or her values that doesn't match 100% or even 70%... the list goes on, but in practice it's really simple. Get people together, give them something to do, and let them sort themselves out.
At our home, I'm about to implement a series of workshops and seminars designed to help those who are curious about living in community, to determine if they are ready, willing, and able to form their own villages. The success of the beekeeping workshop is encouraging. It's time to have a sit-down with the house members and make sure I hear all the concerns about becoming a destination, a learning resource, before I really launch in. But if all goes well, we could be hosting a natural-building apprenticeship as early as January!
I'll be contacting (and hopefully attracting!) people who have been interested in this experiment, and even might be part of the way along an experiment of their own, to see who wants to participate. This is it, folks, the thing I've been working towards for a while: initiating the process for others to self-select into core communities so we can take our pooled resources and continue retrofitting suburbia (and urbia) into eco-villages.
This is a fun, fun ride. More will be revealed.