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After a six-month hiatus Twin Oaks is slowly opening up to visitors and new members. The first trial “Let’s see how this goes” visitor group starts October 22nd. (This group is already filled.) Future visitor groups have not yet been scheduled. So if you have been waiting to visit Twin Oaks, or you know someone, go ahead and send an email now. Due to stopping the visitor program for so long there are now plenty of spaces for new members.
Twin Oaks is also making a small opening to sort of a back-door path to membership. It is possible, if you are already friends with someone at Twin Oaks, to write to your friend and come to Twin Oaks as a guest. That initial letter is posted to the community and there is a pre=approval poll before someone can come as a guest (This is a new process step here at Twin Oaks.) Once here as a long-term guest Twin Oaks is making it easier to become a visitor and then a member without having to leave the community.
As far as we know there has been no cases of covid-19 at Twin Oaks and we aim to keep it that way. Everyone coming into Twin Oaks, visitors and guests included, must quarantine for two weeks first. Most people quarantine here at Twin Oaks, but there are some exceptions.
So, if you have friends at Twin Oaks and are interested in being here for some months, write to your friend. We could use some new faces here!
Many communards are avid dumpster divers. Here’s what you get if you let a bunch of folks from the communes loose in a city. As Theresa says on the blurb that she wrote on the Commune Life YouTube channel: “food waste is real, friends”.
Some people love the work that they do. Here’s Edmund Frost (2018 Tony Kleese Awardee) of Common Wealth Seed Growers (the business of the Mimosa community) explaining why and how he does his work with squash plants.
Edmund lived at Twin Oaks for years and is now at the Mimosa community.
In early September, I had just reprinted on Facebook the piece I wrote here about the importance of relationships. I was looking for something to write the next day and decided to ask it as a question:
I got several comments and here are some of them. I particularly like the last one.
“You build relationships by showing up, even when it’s hard.” Yes, indeed.
Here’s a great intro to East Wind and communal living. Thanks, Sumner, for shooting this.
From the East Wind Community YouTube channel:
This is a short overview meant as the “Channel Introduction.” There are nuances to membership and the way of life at East Wind that are not covered in this video. Visit the website for more information and feel free to post questions in the comments. The most liked questions will be considered for videos of their own!
This is the second part of a piece focusing on how adrienne maree brown’s six elements from her book, Emergent Strategy, apply to commune building. My last piece focused on commune building as Fractal, Interdependent and Decentralized,and Non-Linear and Iterative. Here I will focus on why we need to build communes to be Adaptive, Resilient and Transformative, and in a way that Creates More Possibilities.
In Emergent Strategy, adrienne maree brown talks about Intentional Adaptation–that is adaptation with intention. She refers to this process as “how we change”. And communities need to be open to change and changing. A community that can’t change, dies. But any community that simply goes with whatever changes happen isn’t going to last long either. The key, as amb puts it, is to have an intention, a goal or end point in mind, and to make sure that any changes, whatever adaptation we do, keeps us moving toward that goal. And in order to have that goal, a community needs to have a vision–what is it that we want to move toward? And, as we encounter each place that we need to change, the community needs to ask itself, what changes will move us closer to our vision? What changes will move us away? This is an ongoing process, because we will always need to keep changing and we don’t want our vision to be static. We need to keep dreaming (collectively) of where we want to be and keep updating our vision and our goals as we go through each change.
This is very related to the next element, Resilience, which adrienne maree brown refers to as “how we recover and transform”. Some of the changes we will encounter may be relatively simple, but sometimes a commune will encounter things that are more challenging and may cause real problems for the community and sometimes within the community. We may need to do more than adapt, we may need to recover from traumatic disruptions. We may need to collectively heal. We may need to change in ways that transform the commune. The question always is, how can we transform the community in ways that are of service to our vision? In the book, adrienne maree brown talks about the principles of Transformative Justice to keep in mind as we make the changes that we need in order to heal the community. She quotes Shira Hassan, “In order to resist one size fits all justice, we have to resist the idea that every process looks the same.” I love amb’s advice here: “Relinquish Frankenstein. You are not creating people to be with, or work with, some idealized individuals made of perfect parts of personality… Stop trying to make and fix others, and instead be curious about what they have made of themselves.” Communes aren’t made of perfect folks, they are made of flawed people struggling to build something together. Again, quoting adrienne maree brown, we need to “Commit to being in each other’s lives, and doing whatever is needed to ensure that in the long term.” What great community building advice!
Her final element, and I believe perhaps the most important, is that we work toward “Creating More Possibilities.” This is why I am so happy that there are so many different flavors of communes out there and only wish there were more. If we see community building as a way to explore social change, we need to acknowledge that we are not trying to build a perfect alternative. Rather, we are trying to build many different alternatives, with the realization that no one way works for everyone. Certainly income-sharing communities aren’t the only way to go, but even among communes, there should be differences and there should be support for folks trying even more new things. There is a reason so many of us love rainbows–all those different colors existing together. As we create a communities movement, as we support organizations such as the Federation of Egalitarian Communities and the Foundation for Intentional Communities, we are building the small scale version of the world we want (going back to amb’s Fractal element), one in which there are many different possibilities and we are working to create more.
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