If it’s about relationships…

by Raven Glomus

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.

If it’s about relationships…

Another Question of Size

Sometimes, size doesn’t matter.

I realize that I have asked questions about commune size twice now. In the first one I asked about the optimal size for a community. I only got four comments.

I suspect that I forgot about that. This time I asked whether someone would rather live in a large or small community. I got exactly two comments.

Here’s the post:

And here are both of the comments. At least it is interesting that one voted for large and one voted for small.

Feel free to comment, if you have an opinion but, based on my Facebook feedback, I don’t expect much (or maybe anything) in the way of comments.

Another Question of Size

A Question of Cleanliness

So here is the next in my series of Facebook questions. Having lived in several types of communities (communes, co-ops, ecovillages, and at least one hybrid community) I noticed a re-occurring problem in all of them was caused by the fact that different people have different standards of cleanliness. Given that, how does a community set a standard. Here is what I wrote at the end of February:

While there weren’t a lot of responses to the question, I thought that what there was displayed the spectrum of where different people in the communes fall.

I realized that I never added my own comment–I will just say that at this point, I have decided that I am willing to clean up after people.

One of the differences between co-ops and communes that I often point out to folks is that co-ops have chores and communes have work. I believe that in a co-op living situation, everyone puts in a fee which they take from whatever they get from working outside the home. Since most people (and everyone in many co-ops) have outside work, the only way to get things like cleaning done is to make them chores.

In a commune, since all money is equal, the currency is the work you do, and all work is valued, money earning or not. So cleaning is just another type of work. I happily clean up after people because I view this as my job, just as other people are working hard doing other things to keep the commune going. If I start feeling resentful, I simply think of all the things that they are doing that benefit me, and I see all that I am doing as just another piece of that work. And I happily take on cleaning up the messes as the work that I have chosen to do.

A Question of Cleanliness

A Question of Couples

For the last Facebook question that I posted on the regular Friday posts, I chose to skip ahead and do the one on communes as family. I decided to skip the one that I wrote for Valentine’s Day about couples in community. (Wow. Doesn’t February seem so long ago now? It really was a different world back then.)

So, as I return to reposting things from Facebook on this blog, I thought that I would start with that question, romantic roses and all:

I didn’t get a lot of responses, but here are a four of them:

I did wonder why I got so few responses, whether people were burning out on the questions (a format that I recently abandoned) or this was a subject that folks weren’t interested in, or maybe just didn’t want to touch. I think that it’s interesting that there were two positive responses, one that I would see as neutral, and then, only the last one, looked at how coupling can fracture a community.

You are also invited to respond. I am still curious about the pros and cons of couples in communes.

A Question of Couples

A Question of Family

This is the last, for now, in a long series that I’ve been posting here on questions that have gone up on the Commune Life Facebook page. Unfortunately, I am putting this blog on an indefinite hiatus as of Monday

Here’s the first question we reposted, from way back in November, and here is the latest and ninth. This final question was posed by me (Raven) in mid-February and came about because of the reactions that I saw in some of the communards at the Communities Conference in 2018.

The first response was from someone who moved into a collective in Syracuse and was surprised by the responses she got:

This was followed by some short takes from people:

Before Rejoice chimed in with a very, very long response:

Rejoice finished off this comment and then offered an additional reflection:

This invoked two additional comments, from Theresa and Kazmira, the original commentor, both reacting to what Rejoice said:

A Question of Family

A Question of Size

This is the next in a long series that I’ve been posting here on questions that have gone up on the Commune Life Facebook page. Here’s the first question we reposted and the second and the third and the fourth and the fifth and the sixth and  the seventh, and, from last week, the eighth

At the very end of January, I posted this question that I have heard others talk about:

I don’t know if this really isn’t a subject that a lot of folks are concerned about or whether people are just getting burned out on so many questions, but there weren’t a lot of comments. However, I thought that the four comments that this question got, were interesting:

I realized that I (Raven) never responded to my own question. I will put my thoughts out here.

I agree with Theresa that a large network filled with communities of all sizes is ideal, because I think that different sized communities appeal to different people. I also think that there is such a thing as too small and, perhaps, too large.

First of all, I think that less than four people is not a community. Three people is often just a couple plus a friend, or possibly a three-some. I think that you need to have at least four folks to have a real community. (And sometimes, even then, it’s just two couples.) But I also think that having four or five members is still a very brittle community. If you lose one or two members, the entire community can be gone. (This is something that I have experienced and find it useful to think about. I think that I will post more about this on Monday.)

On the too large side is Dunbar’s number. I think that there is a reason that Twin Oaks has not quite reached a hundred adult members and many communes and communities fall far short of this. I know that Dancing Rabbit has talked about wanting to be a village of five hundred to a thousand people. As far as I know, after twenty years they have never had more than seventy people. They keep getting new people but I think that they are also losing folks at a similar rate.

I think that once you get to over a hundred people, it really seems less like a community and more like a village. I think that many people want the intimacy of smaller communities, even if they also want the diversity that is possible in larger communities.

Feel free to chime in, in a comment, if you have an opinion about the ideal size of a commune.

A Question of Size

Questions of Gender

This is yet the next in a series that I’ve posting here on questions that have gone up on the Commune Life Facebook page. Here’s the first question we reposted and the second and the third and the fourth and  the fifth and this is the sixth one that we published two weeks ago.

In mid-January, I (Raven) brought up a question related to some policies that a few of the communes had:

I believe that it was Rejoice that responded with an actual policy:

Unfortunately, since these are photographs of the Facebook page, the next link doesn’t work. Here is a link that does.

Pretty soon we were well into the question of non-binary folks. Fortunately, Rejoice had some answers.

And that, of course, gave folks even more ideas about gender ratios:

Questions of Gender

A Question of Longevity

This is the next in a series that I’ve posting here on questions that have gone up on the Commune Life Facebook page. Here’s the first question we reposted and the second and the third and the fourth and finally the fifth and latest.

In early January, I posted this question on our Facebook page:

Here’s a sampling of the responses that I received:

My comment at the end of the thread is actually a response to Lucy Perry’s question at the beginning of it.

Honestly, I wish I knew a magic formula to guarantee longevity for communities. It is possible; look at Twin Oaks. But, as Julia points out, even longevity brings its problems.

A Question of Longevity

A Question of Hierarchies

We have been putting questions on our Facebook page and getting a lot of responses. I (Raven) am now putting them out as Friday reposts so that blog readers can see what we’ve been doing on Facebook and some of the comments that we have gotten. Here’s the first question we reposted and the second and the third and the fourth and most recent.

In this back and forth, Theresa raises the question of the place of hierarchies in egalitarian communities. Is this a paradox or an admission that a flat playing field isn’t completely possible, even in communities that struggle for it?

This got lots of responses, beginning with:

This led to a back and forth between Shari McRae and Gil Benmoshe (with contributions from Theresa and Nicole Bienfang:

This was where the dialogue ended, but the question is still open: in ‘egalitarian’ communities, how do we deal with the fact that some folks will always have more experience than others? Do we reward it, or try to contain it?

A Question of Hierarchies