Life is full of surprises, and I can’t say with any certainty what I’ll be working on tomorrow, much less a year from now. But as I mentioned in my last entry, I’m filled with an incredible passion for life that exceeds anything I’ve ever felt before. I want to live, to dance, to sing, to play, to work, to reach all of my aspirations in life, and to dream of wondrous dreams that others would not dare to imagine! All of this inspiration is starting to come into clearer focus now, to the point where I can narrow it down to three major projects that I’ll likely be working on in this new year.
The first project is my career as an author and public speaker. I didn’t used to like talking about it as a career for a variety of reasons. I’m obviously not in it for the money, and I will continue to speak and write about topics near and dear to my heart as often as I can, even if doing so leaves me penniless. But really, since this is my life’s work, and since I do endeavour to earn a living by it on a good day, it’s my career, or profession, or whatever else you might like to call it.
I’ve put off finishing up Gaia’s Orphans for at least a few more months while I work on developing a clear and effective plan for building my effectiveness within and beyond Southern Illinois. In the past, most of my books and speaking events have been very minimally promoted, either through word of mouth or simple methods such as flyering. This was because I spent all of my time focusing on the creative work and none of it focusing on distribution. From this point forward, though, I’m going to put much more effort into grassroots communications, promotions, and distributions. I have a good deal of important information and inspiration to share with the world, and it would be a shame if that didn’t happen just because I didn’t take the time to engage in enough outreach and networking. That’s a part of the revolution too, right?
My second big project is my goal to live in an intentional community no later than 2010. I believe that I first announced this goal publicly back when I released my first book, Revolution of One. Now, as the date approaches, I’m feeling increasingly worried about the prospects of finding or creating such a community here in Southern Illinois. I’m a very stubborn person, though, so rather than accepting defeat and fleeing to the West Coast, I’ve decided to devote the next three or so years to the task of finding the community I’m looking for right here.
Really, there are two angles to this search. In the short term, I’ve been gathering together the bits and pieces of this would-be community that already exist here in Southern Illinois. I’ve been spending more social time with a few of my friends who I really feel share a lot of good values in commmon — values such as independent thinking, love of true freedom, openness to visionary perspectives and actions, kind-heartedness, the ability to have fun, dedication to the service of good causes, and a love of the Earth and all beings who live here. I’ve also been spending time in organizations and activities that embody at least some of these values, and serve as good practice for any future community living situations.
In the end, though, my mind keeps coming back to how these short-term efforts may fit into the long-term goal of creating community. I really can’t help it… I don’t know if I was born with it, or if my fellow revolutionaries drove it into me, but I can’t help thinking strategically about short term successes and how they may serve long term goals. Even when I’m out dancing to my heart’s content, fully lost in the joy of the moment, I’ll get flashes of insight into how the current experience may relate to the eventual creation of revolutionary communities and societies.
So, in addition to all of the daily efforts to explore community as it exists on the ground today, I’m also examining ways to work toward the creation of an intentional community.
How, then, do we create an intentional community? That’s a question that I can’t answer alone. To be honest, if I seriously intend to stay in a region like Southern Illinois that currently has nothing like what I want to live in, then I’m pretty much at the mercy of other people and their interest or non-interest in intentional communities.
What I can do, though, is help to build groundwork that others may eventually use as a foundation for the creation of our/their intentional community. Along those lines, I have two big strategies for exploring this one big goal of creating community.
First of all, I’ve decided that I’m going to adopt the personal and community practices that I would like to see adopted by individuals in my desired community. This includes a variety of aspects such as a personal fitness practice; daily meditation and spiritual practices; community service work; regular interaction with the non-human natural world, ecological study, practice, and teaching; and plenty of spontaneous, creative, downright ecstatic personal and social activities to balance out all of that discipline and routine. [If you live here in Carbondale, and you haven’t seen me out dancing yet, you probably will son!]
Really, when it comes to communities, I’m willing to settle for a lot less than the very clear and specific personal vision that I have in mind. I know that not everyone in Southern Illinois is interested in becoming an anarchist pagan monk, and if I can’t find enough of us to start our own ecstatic activist monastic community, then I’d be happy to live in a much more broadly defined community. But in the meantime, I may as well start with what I truly desire most and go from there, eh?
My second big strategy for preparing for community living is to seek out others who are interested in forming a housing collective. It basically entails forming a group, then having our group either rent our buy a house (or houses, or apartments) that we will live in together. It’s a much simpler and more mellow process than trying to form a community… in fact, it’s pretty much just like having roommates. The only difference is that you meet regularly (once a week, or once a month) to discuss house issues, and you share in house responsibilities such as cleaning and often some shared meal planning. It’s an excellent experience, whether you see it as a fleeting moment in your life or preparation for further adventures in cooperative or community living.
Anyway… yeah. My career… my search for community… those are two of my big projects for this new year. What, then, is the third?
The third one is…
…a top secret project. 🙂
Hah! Oh, wouldn’t you like to know… seriously though, it’s not a terribly secret project. I’ve spoken to about a dozen people about it, and it’s a group project involving at least two other people currently, so it’s not entirely secret. But I don’t want to mention any of the details until it’s ready for the grand unveiling sometime next year. In the meantime, let’s just say that it’s a very creative and pioneering project that will let people have lots of fun while also possibly learning about and supporting good causes.
For a while, there was also a fourth project — an idea to start a specific local business here in Carbondale to fill a niche that isn’t currently being filled. However, for a variety of reasons, I’ve put that one on the back burner. I’d love to see it come to pass, though, so if you know of any enterprising spirits who share values at least remotely similar to my own, then feel free to direct them my way.
ANYWAY… yeah. Career, community, and Project X. Hopefully, there will be a bit of romance in there somewhere too… but if not, then I’ll just vent all of that extra energy on the dance floor and in my creative projects. If you have any ideas or other input about any of these, you know where to find me. In the meantime, I’m going to head out into the world in search of good food, good fun, and more inspiration for the revolution…