Local Mystic

from  Your Passport to Complaining, November 19, 2017

Sometimes we get lucky.  Sometimes people find us who we are so pleased are spending time with us it not only restores our faith in humanity generally but also that it makes sense specifically to invite people we barely know into our homes as extended guests.

23331272_10212127849130448_7806888791146210264_o Zoja is from Zagreb (her name rhymes with Soya).  She self describes as someone into plants, herbalism, spiritual healing, holistic medicine, photography, music, yoga, art, and mindfulness. She found Cambia online, corresponded with us for some weeks and just arrived last week.  We have quickly fallen in love with her.

This is not just because she is upbeat and willing to chip in on whatever is happening around Cambia.  For me at the core of it is that she brings compelling ideas to this deeply philosophical community.  Specifically, she qualifies as a mystic by my definition.

A mystic is someone who asks you to think of the central question in your life at this moment and then explains to you why that is the wrong question.


Zoja is a world traveler, it will be months before she returns to her home country of Croatia.  A tour which will take her through several continents and advance her experience of new cultures.  We are already sad she will only be at Cambia for three weeks.  But the key with shooting stars is to be in the moment with them and let them go gracefully when they head off to their next adventures.


Local Mystic

FEC Assembly, Fall 2017

pictures from Rejoice

Cabin at Cambia
Walking across a bridge to the cabins at Open Circle
The East Wind van arriving at Acorn with buckets of peanut butter
FEC delegates and Acorns in our greenhouse plucking peanuts
Another pic of the peanut work
And another!
A baby!
And the schedule…
FEC Assembly, Fall 2017

Love of the Small

by Maximus

This video comes out of an ongoing conversation we are having at Cambia about minimalism and functionalism. The two ideas are not necessarily opposites, although sometimes a minimalist ethos can prevent things from being as functional as they could otherwise be. But is function always necessary? How much skill, and sophistication, and access to resources do we really need to live a good life? Perhaps, if we focus too much on function, we miss opportunities to connect with each other.

But, ultimately, it doesn’t matter if we build our community according to minimalist or functionalist principles. Either would be fine. What matters is that we take the time to really listen to each other, and develop robust empathy for each other’s values. That’s what community is all about.

Love of the Small

Visiting Cambia and Mimosa

by Raven

A couple of weeks ago, Caroline (from the Midden) wrote on Commune Life about attending the Communities Conference and then visiting Acorn and Compersia.  I also attended the Communities Conference and did some commune visiting.  This is my report on the conference and spending time at the new communities of Mimosa and Cambia.

The Communities Conference is an amazing collection of people from various communities, people looking for community, and lots of workshops.  My favorite part is the Saturday morning Meet the Communities event.  This year there were lots of new communities that I learned about, many talking about income sharing, and some of which I hope that we’ll feature in upcoming posts.

After the conference, I hung out in Louisa.  I’ve spent a bunch of time at Twin Oaks (and did more on this trip) as well as Acorn and have had several visits to Living Energy Farm.  This year I decided to spend significant time at the two newer communities, helping out and learning more about them from being there.  Here’s my report on them:


While we’ve had a lot of posts from Cambia before (here are three), here is my take on what they’re about and a sense of what it’s like to visit there.

More than anything, Cambia is an experimental and educational community.  This makes it sound a little like Living Energy Farm, but Cambia has a whole different flavor.  Where LEF use unusual technologies to move past fossil fuels and demonstrate how we could move past their use, Cambia has set up a series of kid friendly (but adult interesting) hands on exhibits in their forest, to show things like how much land each American requires to live, how our carbon usage could be balanced, how the ground and water table work, and (on a very small scale) how to use various alternative construction techniques.  (The last was in an exhibit called ‘Barbie’s Ecovillage’ which featured a timber framed doll house that you could create straw bale or cob walls for.)

image1The boat at Cambia

Cambia is a community that seems to attract academic types.  Ella and Gil are lovely folks who are focused on how to educate others, especially children.  (And they have one child, Avni, who also lives there.)  Maximus, the newest member, is a grad student  who is studying communities as an alternative to mainstream life, and using Cambia as a case study.  And, former member Telos, was there visiting while I was there–and he is very interested in the social and political aspects of community.

One of the biggest things about Cambia is their willingness to try all sorts of things.  There was the cute little pond they built to demonstrate how plant can clean water.  I helped them work on the boat they bought to use as guest space.  They seem to have endless ideas on how to repurpose everything.


Where Cambia is relatively new (two years old at this point), Mimosa is brand new.  Mimosa took over the buildings and land of a commune that didn’t make it (Sapling).  It’s located almost halfway between Twin Oaks and Acorn.

IMG_0578Me with Aurora of Mimosa–picture by Peggy Brennan

Mimosa is focusing on the work of agriculture, seed growing, herbalism, and activism.  They only have a few members at this point and are trying to figure out their membership policies.

I got to hang out with them and help out.  The place is beautiful and they are creating new spaces where people could stay.

I felt very welcomed at both Cambia and Mimosa and I was excited to learn the nitty-gritty of running a small new community.


Another picture showing the boat and the main house at Cambia, sent by Telos



Visiting Cambia and Mimosa