When you hear the word "commune" I bet you invision dirty hippies in the sixties smoking pot and living on love. Would it suprise you to find out that they are still going strong and there is a thriving community of forming and established communes?
Sure some of them probably live up to that stereotype, but most of them are doing great things, and offer a variety of altnerative lifestyles to those seeking change.
Once upon a time, I was a 20 year old who was very disappointed (ok completely overwhelmed and & pissed) with the condition of the planet and the state of humanity. We (dave, ex husband and myself) found an article in the Riverfront Times about communes and immediately knew we had to research this intriguing concept and visit as many as possible! I honestly thought communes were a thing of the past until we found that article! So we wrote letters, sold everything, packed the van and off we road into the sunset with the intentional community directory as our guide.
The term intentional community is a more apt desciption of these havens for free thinkers. They are in fact, intended. "An "intentional community" is a group of people who have chosen to live together with a common purpose, working cooperatively to create a lifestyle that reflects their shared core values. The people may live together on a piece of rural land, in a suburban home, or in an urban neighborhood, and they may share a single residence or live in a cluster of dwellings.
This definition spans a wide variety of groups, including (but not limited to) communes, ecovillages, student cooperatives, land co-ops, cohousing groups, monasteries and ashrams, kibbutzim, and farming collectives. Although quite diverse in philosophy and lifestyle, each of these groups places a high priority on fostering a sense of community--a feeling of belonging and mutual support that is increasingly hard to find in mainstream Western society."
Here is a video of one such commune that ROCKS. They were just a fledgling community when we were in the heat of our home search. Have you seen or if your lucky..tasted East Wind nut butters? Yum YUm. Well East Wind is you guessed it...a intentional community. And they got it going on too. You might be suprised how industrious some of them can be.
I want to stress that the variety of purpose is vast within the movement. There is everything from freakishly cultish (although not usual) to anarchy to miliant to gay to sustainability etc etc. If you can dream it you can do it. What I love about them as they offer another way to approach this life. IT doesnt have to be 9 - 5, white picket fence, owning 1 of everything. You can shake things up a bit and do it different.
So WHY...dont i live in a commune right now? There is a glimpse of the answer in my profile....but overal...its because Im not that good at living with people, and beyond that I found everything i cant stand about politics in community too. However...I never lived at one for more than 3 months...and I would also like to add that I was in an unhealthy relationship, was unstable myself and didnt have a dime...so that was scary. If you have a trust fund...it can be less stressful (unless of course you are in an income sharing group). There actually are a lot of trust funders doing the commune thing believe it or not. But thats besides the point. We might still give community another shot in the future. It would be one where you own your house and share common ground, work, events etc. The farm is a good example of residential land trust arrangement. An urban cooperative is another intriguing set up.
I must go for now...more to come!