daytimeTreeSizedJoy to the world! Our Christmas tree, which I talked about its falling in my last blog post, has been resurrected! We found, a new stand, so the tree, could be put back up! To us, it looks just as beautiful as before, minus the loss of a few ornaments and bits and bobs here and there. If Scrooge could be here now, it might warm even his cold heart.

Hope you enjoyed my story about this, AND I realize that, besides the part about how we fixed and reused our tree, the link to what exactly this has to do with the environment is not clear. As to then how exactly this all relates, well…I will get there. First though I will ask you for some patience while I share why this story is so important to me.

Present-ing my intentions

The telling of my family’s story about our Christmas tree is, to be honest, a “coming out” of sorts. It is a coming out for me to talk about my intentional community, the “Upstart Collaboratory for Collaborative Culture Designing” (which up until now I have mentioned only briefly).

In case you have never heard of an intentional community, generally speaking such communities place an emphasis on social cohesion and the sharing of resources and responsibilities. While some types of intentional communities involve living together, as in the case of eco-villages, that is not the focus of my intentional community. Facilitated largely by our key “wisdom-keeper”, Jean Robertson, our aim is instead to create a common cultural ‘platform’ (about which I’ll describe in a moment) from which to operate. Our shared intentions around this are what make us an intentional community.

As to what is the goal of this cultural platform, it is nothing less than to be able to collaborate effectively together to work towards bringing about a world in which we not only can survive, but also thrive. To me, nothing could be more exciting!

Developing our gifts

The “work”, as we call our efforts to develop our selves and our community, is impossible to completely describe here. Especially since, in order to effectively bring about the change we seek, we place a strong emphasis on learning from a wide range of material. Psychology (including the book on child psychology I referenced earlier, Honey I Wrecked the Kids), anthropology, human physiology, economics, business management, philosophy, and systems thinking are just some of the topics we explore.

We also tend not to think of our learning as happening on an individual basis in ‘silos’, and rather as an activity that we do together. Doing so provides perspective, understanding, and both accelerates the process and maximizes the impact of what we are learning given how we can ask each other questions when we are feeling confused as well as share what we have learned with others in the community.

So much do we recognize the importance of learning in community that we often refer to it as ‘co-learning’. In a similar vein, my community sometimes refers to the work that we do together as co-practicing and co-generation of value, to further emphasize how our impacts can be amplified by working together.

The gift of acceptance

Just as with our learning, maximizing the desired impact of all our efforts is important to what we do. In fact, to say this would be an understatement. For us, a central piece of the work is learning how to better manage our impacts with each other by responding to situations in ways that makes deep sense.

By responding in ways that make deep sense, we mean doing so in ways that bring about the results we truly need, want, and value.  For us this is based on what I said previously, as to how only by doing this, can we create the world in which we not only survive, but also thrive!

giftSmallerA central guiding principle to help us manage our impacts is to try and avoid the tendency, so pervasive in mainstream culture, to judge both others AND our selves. My community aims instead to adopt what we call a ‘post-judgment’ mindset, in which we try to *accept* others, and ourselves too, as they/we are without ever assuming that we are better than than anyone else.

In the process, we withhold from assigning judgmental labels to people such as ‘good’ or ‘bad/evil,’ ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, and ‘success’ or ‘failure’ etc. Which, having personally been on the receiving end of this acceptance from others in my intentional community, I can tell you is truly a gift!

More to come…

Although I could say more about this, I hope for now though that you will understand that exhaustively exploring the ideas presented here in one post is simply not possible. My aim though is to provide more on all this soon, along with eventually how all this relates to the environmental theme of this blog.

Suffice it to say for now that my community aims to ensure that no one, (sorry Santa!), gets put on the naughty list! That includes Scrooge, and a few others that may come up too. Not to mention, of course, my daughter, whom I could say was quite happy to see that Santa still visited her this year!

Before finishing here, I’d like to explain why we still talk about Santa in our home despite me having these ideas. To that I will say I try to talk to my daughter about how Santa and his elves (Yes! She has an elf too!) are more concerned with her welfare than deciding whether she is being naughty or nice.

I will admit that, at times, I wish I could take such a shortcut to getting the behaviour from her that I want! AND I want her to be developing a central locus of control within herself, because eventually she will need to be able to determine what makes sense to her on her own without my guidance!


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