(Note, this is from four years ago and information is probably out of date.)
A week ago Monday, we got to visit yet another community, this one in La Plata, 40 miles away from Rutledge, called the Possibility Alliance (and also known as the Still Waters Sanctuary). I had hoped to visit it after I was done with my Dancing Rabbit visit because the train station I was being dropped off at is in La Plata. However, I was told the only time we could visit was in the middle of our DR stay (because they’re in a ‘retreat year’), so I figured it wouldn’t happen. However, it turned out that most of the visitors group wanted to check out the Possibility Alliance and a couple of people had cars so a whole bunch of us went off attend their community tour.
The tour was led by Ethan Hughes, their charismatic leader. (At least one person at DR warned me about him–but for our brief visit he seemed fairly easy-going.) He began the tour by citing the mission of the Possibility Alliance: “Living for the upliftment of all life and reaching for our highest human potential.” He also claimed that the PA was guided by five practices: 1) Simplicity–he said others called it ‘radical simplicity’ and he thought of it as ‘necessary simplicity’, 2) Service–many different kinds of service, but one that’s often associated with the PA is their ‘Superhero Bike Rides’ where people dress up as superheroes and ride into towns offering to help in any way that’s useful, 3) Social Engagement and
Nonviolent Activism, 4) Self Transformation, and 5) Silliness, Celebration, Gratitude, and Joy. Finally, after quizzing us on things like dying people’s regrets and what our most passionate wishes were, he led us on a tour of the sanctuary.
We got to see his house and the new timberframed/straw-bale home that they
were building, the very mellow draft horses that they own, the pond that they’ve recently tranformed, and the land and how they’ve been taking care of it.
Life at the Possibility Alliance is extremely low-tech. They don’t have electricity (they use candles, they also don’t have a website although they do have a phone). All the building done there is with hand tools rather than power tools. They try to apply permaculture principles to their work.
They also run on ‘the gift economy’–taking what is offered but not charging for all their courses and workshops, including a permaculture design certification course which other places often charge enormous amounts of money. We all enjoyed the tour and the place, although we were clear that this was only a taste of what the place was about.
For another view of the PA, see this post by leavergirl on her blog Leaving Babylon.
Quote of the Day: “What we would like to do is change the world. Make it a little easier for people to feed, clothe, and shelter themselves as God intended them to do…. There is nothing we can do but love, dear God–please enlarge our hearts to love each other, to love our neighbor, to love our enemy.” – Dorothy Day (as quoted in the Possibility Alliance newsletter)