Governance by Focus Groups - Long Version
As presented in The Next Evolution by:
TABLE OF CONTENTS Printer Friendly Format
Imagine looking out and seeing unspoiled nature with clean air and a stream running by with clean drinkable water. Imagine at the same time that you are in the middle of a Community where people are living and working together as one family. The residents here increase their abundance by sharing Community resources which allows everyone access to a full range of recreational, educational, and creative interests. A purpose of this Community is to support individuals in their growth so that they can make their dreams a reality. It is also the aim of its members to find peace and harmony within themselves, with others, and with nature, in hopes that this will assist in bringing peace to this earth.
This is the vision shared by the members of the Community Planet, which is bringing forth a planned cooperative Community. We are designing an environment that enables us to live in greater harmony and balance with ourselves, each other, and our environment. In this Community it is necessary that our life-style not only has abundance and success but is also nurturing and fun. In creating such a model Community, others will be able to see how we can all cooperate and enjoy a higher standard of living. Others can learn from sharing our experiments and experience through publications, seminars, workshops, and temporary residence in the Community. Eventually we envision that the replication of our Community or similar models will have a transforming effect on individual and world peace and the prosperity of all mankind.
Our first challenge is to create that initial successful model. To do so we believe that the key area to focus on is how we live together. We consider issues such as how to incorporate the latest technology and how to live in harmony with nature to be very important. However, our primary concern is how we interact and relate with one another and how we make decisions that include and involve everyone.
Without this we would be missing the essence of what a Community really can be - a loving and joyful support group for all its residents.
To capture the essence of what we want in our Community, we created this affirmation:
We are living in a Community, a home of peace and loving, dedicated to:
· Demonstrating harmony with all life.
· Nurturing and supporting each other.
· Sharing our wealth as one family.
· Listening to the truth within each other and responding with kindness, consideration, and loving honesty.
At first our plan was to describe the Community through focusing on areas like economics, agriculture, education, recreation, etc. Instead we chose to focus on more expansive questions involving how people live together:
1) How do we bring forth inner wisdom?
2) How do we vitalize ourselves?
3) How do we coordinate what we live to do?
4) How do we beautify our environment?
5) How do we interact with our environment?
6) How do we enrich ourselves?
7) How do we nourish ourselves?
8) How do we enjoy ourselves?
9) How do we share our abundance?
10) How do we communicate?
11) How do we reach consensus?
12) How do we expand our Community?
To see how much more expansive these “How do we...” focus areas are, notice how the areas of health involves so much more when we consider, “How do we vitalize ourselves?” Likewise with food production and preparation, when the question is
“How do we nourish ourselves?”, it makes us think about all the aspects that are important in nourishing ourselves rather than just putting good food in our bodies. We see how the twelve focus areas are all interrelated, and we think it is important that, as we move into a New Age of cooperation, that we begin to consider our lives as a whole rather than to compartmentalize them.
As we explored the twelve focus areas, we intentionally tried to avoid making hard and fast rules; we wanted the individual to have as much freedom as possible. At the same time we realized that everyone in the Community would have to have a commitment to the Community’s well-being and its mission for it to succeed.
There are three parts in describing each of the twelve focus areas. The first is a short overview. Next are “Essence statements”, which are the ideals we feel are the essences for that focus area. Last, we list the guidelines, which are the standards we will observe and the explanation of how our Community functions with respect to that focus area.
HOW DO WE REACH CONSENSUS? Top
Perhaps the most essential question for Community living is “How do we reach consensus?” We decided that in our Community we would all have a direct role in the ongoing decision making. The key to doing this is that all residents belong to hubs of about a dozen people. In addition to being a support group, these resident hubs are where the key issues of guiding the Community are explored and decided. There are also twelve focus areas which deal with the work and planning of the twelve questions of how we live together. People working in the same focus area also form a second grouping of hubs called Focus Hubs. To prevent special interest groups and individual personalities from taking control, we have a set of checks and balances. With everyone belonging to both a resident hub and at least one Focus Hub, the Community has the benefit of many perspectives. Also, all the information about what is happening within the Community is available on Community linked computer so everyone can be informed about all Community proceedings and activities.
Since everyone who joined the Community has shared the vision and agreed to the guidelines of the Community, there is already a strong basis for consensus. However, when differences of opinion do occur, we value the importance of working to resolution so we can all move forward in cooperation and a greater oneness.
ESSENCES: How do we reach consensus?
· By creating a positive atmosphere for people to communicate and participate.
· By involving everyone in the decision making.
· By encouraging the natural leadership of each person.
· By making participation in decision making creative, spontaneous and fun.
· By supporting and assisting individuals in reaching their personal goals.
· By making decisions that support the Community affirmation.
· By creating decisions where everyone wins.
· By keeping the guidelines dynamic, flexible, and simple.
· By listening to the truth within each other and responding with kindness, consideration, and loving honesty.
THE DECISION MAKING STRUCTURE:
· Essence Hubs -- Each resident belongs to a small decision making support group.
· Main Hub - One resident from each of the Essence Hubs participates in the Main Hub on rotating basis.
· Focus Hubs - - Each resident belongs to at least one of these hubs. There is at least one hub for each of the twelve focus areas. These Focus Hubs make up the entire working structure of the Community.
· Management Forum -- Representatives from the twelve focus areas make up this group.
· Deal with Community essence issues and the generalities of the working of the Community.
· Consist of a suggested size of about twelve people maximum.
· Can consist of family members who choose to be together.
· Must have representatives from at least “x” different Focus Hubs and may not consist of people all from one Focus Hub. (“x” = 1/3 of the total number in the group.)
· Deal with the specific details of how to implement the vision and direction of the Essence Hubs (through the Main Hub).
· Are support/coordination groups for accomplishing the work within the Community?
THE DECISION MAKING PROCESS:
· Community decisions are coordinated at the Main Hub and represent each person in the Community through their Essence Hubs.
· The ideas, questions, and suggestions the Community considers can be generated by either the Main Hub or the Essence Hubs. The information exchange and decision making is therefore a two way process.
· Community consensus is reached by unanimous agreement of the Main Hub members after those members have received the unanimous agreement of their own Essence Hubs.
· To aid the Community to come into consensus, a communication system is available which allows anyone in the Community to address the Main Hub while simultaneously the proceedings of the Main Hub can be shown to all the Essence Hubs. (See “How do we communicate” for details.)
· Main Hub has the final say on all decisions.
· Management Forum coordinates the efforts of the twelve Focus Hubs in implementing the Community plans and activities.
· Management Forum and the Focus Hubs work under the direction, guidelines, and budget passed by the Main Hub.
§ Main Hub decides upon an annual vision to establish a direction and budget for the year(s) to follow.
· Management Forum proposes and presents an Annual Vision to the Main Hub.
· The Annual Vision can also come from the Essence Hubs.
· “Annual Vision Time” starts a week long vision/conference/event where everyone gives input through their hubs.
· The Management Forum works on the practicality of the Vision.
· The Main Hub may change the vision/budget at anytime that the conditions warrant.
THE HUB GROUP MEETING FORMAT FOR SUPPORT:
§ To create a harmonious atmosphere at the start of each meeting by “calling in the Light” and having a time for personal sharing so each person is heard and supported.
§ To give everyone the experience of being listened to and understood.
CHECKS AND BALANCES:
§ Decisions are unanimous.
§ Each resident is a member of both an Essence Hub and at least one Focus Hub so there is a duality of perspectives.
§ There is an Annual Vision and Budget with allocations to each focus area.
§ The Management Forum reports to the Main Hub on a regular basis and a monthly financial statement goes out to everyone.
§ All transactional and meeting notes are Community accessible on computer or other media.
§ An accountant(s) (in the “Consensus” Hub) monitors the Community expenditures.
§ Budgets may include one time (one check, one item, and/or one payee) spending limits above which one must get approval from the Main Hub.
DISPUTE RESOLVING FORMAT:
· Win-Win resolutions are encouraged.
· Personal responsibility is encouraged by looking within first with the consciousness that we create, promote or allow everything that happens to us. Then, if clarity is still needed between the parties involved, the disputes are settled by the following flexible options, always bringing in living and creativity:
a. Between the parties involved.
b. With an agreed upon third party.
c. Within the hub(s).
d. By the Main Hub.
This system is flexible with each situation, and the parties involved can choose the options.
1. Immediate situations (something requiring action within 24 hours, or until an emergency committee can be formed, whichever is less): The Main Hub chairperson calls the Management Forum chairperson, and they gather the expertise they need to deal with the situation.
2. Other Emergencies:
§ Main Hub chairperson declares an emergency and:
· Notifies residents of the situation.
· Calls an emergency committee (rotating Main Hub representatives on a predetermined rotation basis).
§ Emergency committee than finds short term solution(s). Short term solutions are actions to be taken, within a one week period, necessary to maintain the health and welfare of the Community.
· The committee recommends long term solutions to the Main Hub.
q The committee’s authority ends upon resolution of the emergency by the Main Hub.
q Main Hub or Management Forum may by a simple majority override the decision that there is an emergency.
q There are designated successors in case people for either the “Immediate” or “Other” emergencies are not available.
q There are set maximums of money that can be spent for each type of emergency.
q The committee’s authority extends to the short term solution, and they will make a full report of procedures, expenses, etc. to the next Main Hub meeting.
HOW DO WE SHARE OUR ABUNDANCE? Top
We in Community Planet operate under the premise that there is enough wealth on the planet for everyone to have a very abundant standard of living. Historically the problem in achieving this has been in the distribution of wealth. With people tying up so many resources in the accumulation and protection of possessions, much of the planet’s wealth goes unused. When we share a Community, we do not need tennis courts, swimming pools, and beautiful gardens of our own, we just need access to those facilities within the Community. Likewise, we do not need a car for every person, we just need enough cars so that everyone who needs to drive away from our Community has access to one. We can collectively save a huge sum of money by sharing our abundance on many levels. Possibly wealth in our times needs to be redefined as use and access rather than ownership.
We have also created a system in our Community where people with diverse economic backgrounds, choices, and life-styles can still participate together. In Community Planet, we think it is important to provide for these individual choices while at the same time capitalizing on the tremendous economic and life-style benefits through living cooperatively.
ESSENCES: How do we share our abundance?
q By supporting our growth through an attitude of dynamic openness.
q By sharing our wealth as one family.
q By sharing out of our overflow.
q By sharing on the basis of need.
q By being joyful givers on all levels.
q By recognizing that the source of our abundance is in our inner qualities of love and joy.
· The land, structures, and communally used or provided resources (i.e. vehicles, furniture, equipment, etc.) belong to and are the responsibility of all residents.
o Residents have ownership of their personal possessions which may include furniture, equipment, vehicles, etc. which the residents have individually purchased.
o The living structures belong to the Community and the residents may have lifetime tenancy.
· The Community provides basic human needs to all residents at a fair and reasonable exchange rate. These benefits include food, shelter, healthing needs, recreational facilities and equipment, communication systems, and transportation. Every resident working in the Community will earn enough to provide for their living and personal expenses.
o Residents working outside the Community contribute 10% of their income over “x” amount/month to the Community general fund. (“x” = the average cost of living per resident.) They have the option of contributing more than 10%.
q Residents working within the Community and also making money outside (i.e. through investments) contribute 10% of their Outside income.
· They have the option of contributing more than 10%.
· They do not receive the monthly income if their income
is greater than the amount of the cost of living plus the monthly income.
q Requisitions are available for emergencies, trainings, education, etc.
Excess Community income, by the process of consensus, can be put into the general fund, put into special projects, or used in any other way that the Community decides.
· Incoming residents give a nonrefundable entrance fee to the general fund of the Community. The guideline is that the fee is large enough to show commitment but not too large as to exclude people.
· When a person chooses to leave and get reestablished outside the Community, the Community, to the best of its ability, will support that person with a payment not exceeding the amount of their entry contribution.
HOW DO WE INTERACT WITH OUR ENVIRONMENT? Top
We are creating a Community that is in harmony and balance with nature. In designing the Community as a whole, we can plan for its growth and limit its size to that which the area can naturally support. Our design will include the recycling of resources and the fostering of a positive relationship with our environment. We will also make maximum use of the technologies that work in harmony with nature, minimizing those technologies that pollute. Ours is a Community where people, nature, and technology work in unison to create an environment that works for the benefit of all.
ESSENCES. How do we interact with our environment?
· By respecting and living in harmony with our environment.
· By keeping as natural an environment as possible.
· By utilizing innovations in technology to preserve our natural environment.
· Limit the number of people in the Community to that which the area can naturally and sustainably support.
· Maintain as much natural surface area as possible and respect the flow of
· Minimize concrete surfaces. (Use natural pathways instead of roads.)
· Encourage natural wildlife in harmony with space and nature.
· Build on the basis of need.
· Utilize multi-purpose buildings.
· Require justification for individual housing space (square footage and number of rooms).
· Keep pollutants from going into the environment.
o Recycle waste materials.
o Recycle water.
o Use biodegradable products whenever possible.
o Use natural pest control.
o Minimize noise pollution (i.e. have noisy machinery underground).
o Limit nocturnal lighting.
o Eliminate overhead lighting.
o Utilize unobtrusive indirect lighting for pathways.
· Self-produce as much natural energy as possible by using the most efficient,
non-pollutant energy systems available.
o Maximize solar heating and cooling.
o Recycle energy (i.e. exchanges between heating and cooling systems etc.)
HOW DO WE BEAUTIFY OUR ENVIRONMENT? Top
Imagine looking at a Community and being struck by the natural beauty of the environment. Imagine also walking in a natural setting along natural paths surrounded by trees and hearing birds singing even in the Community center. We can design a Community that is so integrated with nature that, not only is it visually pleasing, but also the disruption of nature is kept to a minimum.
With people sharing resources and having the Community as their own, both the number of structures and the amount of personal space needed diminishes. Without fences and boundaries, we are left with beautiful vistas and the uninterrupted flow of nature.
ESSENCES: How do we beautify our Environment?
o By being in harmony and balance with nature.
o By creating esthetically pleasing structures and landscaping while harmonizing with the natural beauty of the area.
· Have houses and structures make the least visible impact.
oMake them an extension of the environment (i.e. depending on the area, they could be partially underground, integrated with the trees, ivy, etc.).
oUse building materials natural to the area.
oBuild on the basis of need.
§ Community structures are multi-use in nature.
§ Individual houses are built on the basis of need in terms of rooms, square footage, and design.
o Honor the environment and climate.
§ Utilize visually non-obtrusive agriculture.
· Avoid using big blocks of land that would disrupt the environment.
· Use hi-tech production methods such as growing underground with fiber-optics, etc.
· Use edible landscaping.
§ Encourage the wildlife natural to the area.
§ Encourage the vegetation natural to the area.
§ Keep the landscaping (i.e. trees, water areas, etc.) in harmony and balance
§ Plan recreation areas within the landscaping.
· Allow no vehicles within the Community unless needed for
construction, people with mobility limitations, emergencies, etc.
* No concrete or asphalt roads or walks within the Community -
use all natural surfaces while at the same time main areas and structures are accessible to all.
* Parking on an outskirts area.
· Utilize no above ground wires.
· Keep outside night lighting to a minimum.
HOW DO WE ENRICH OURSELVES? Top
When we consider enrichment, we are looking at two main areas of wealth: material wealth and the enrichment of the quality of our lives. As we look around the Community we are creating, we find that the most striking form of wealth comes from the integration of technology, the sharing of our resources, living in harmony with nature, and the caring support that we share with each other.
At the same time, we view our Community as an enterprise where the value of our exports must equal or exceed that which we purchase. To do that, the Community will have a variety of businesses and we will produce as much as is practical for our own use. This often has side benefits such as being able to consume the freshest and most natural food. Also, the Community will realize the savings that come with planning as a group and sharing our resources.
ESSENCES: How do we enrich ourselves?
· By being dynamically open to all possibilities of enrichment.
· By building time for communion with Spirit into our daily lives.
· By focusing on the quality of life within ourselves, with each other, and
· within the environment.
· By sharing our wealth as one family.
SOURCES OF INCOME
· Encourage a variety of income producing businesses owned by the
· Receive contributions from residents working and/or earning income from
· outside the Community.
· Secure grants and fund-raising (i.e. through fostering research, etc.).
· Receive contributions and fees from seminars, workshops, publications, and educational programs both inside and outside the Community.
GREATER EFFICIENCY AND QUALITY THROUGH COMMUNITY SELF-PRODUCTION
· Produce consumables (i.e. food, energy, etc.) and other needed products
· when feasible in terms of expense, energy, and time.
o The quantity of our production must not detract from the quality of our lives.
o Our production is through the consciousness of excellence.
o We will constantly strive for innovation and efficiency.
SAVINGS THROUGH SHARING RESOURCES
· Pool our abilities to do various tasks and projects.
· Eliminate non-productive jobs (i.e. middlemen, bureaucrats, etc.).
· Create group purchasing power.
· Share structures designed to be multiuse and multipurpose.
ENRICHMENT OF THE QUALITY OF OUR LIVES
· Focus on the quality of life rather than overproduction and overbuilding.
· Plan time into our daily lives for communion with Spirit.
· Enjoy the beauty of and harmony with nature in our daily lives.
· Enjoy quality and simplicity rather than over consumption.
HOW DO WE COORDINATE WHAT WE LOVE TO DO? Top
Consider the possibility that the work that you do in life could be a source of constant upliftment, learning, and joy. Imagine being a part of a team where all the members not only strive towards excellence but also share a family feeling where group support and fun are built into the workday. By constantly incorporating flexibility, innovation, and technology, we can also create greater freedom through efficiency.
We can do all this when we all work together as a Community and when we focus on the quality of life of the people involved. Knowing that people want to be contributing members of society, the Community will provide meaningful and useful work for all its members. As an example, older residents will not be forced to retire but encouraged to continue to contribute and share their wisdom.
ESSENCES: How do we coordinate what we love to do?
· By focusing on Spirit in all that we do.
· By being flexible and innovative.
· By incorporating simplicity and efficiency in what we do.
· By encouraging service as a source of growth, balance, love and joy.
· By bringing fun into our work.
· Every facet of the work within the Community is divided into the twelve focus areas, and the Focus Hubs within each area are responsible for the work.
· Some focus areas may have several hubs (i.e. “How do we enrich ourselves” may consist of several Hub groups in that focus area).
· Hub groups do the work as a team.
· Focus Hubs are responsible for focusing on joy, love, and Spirit as well as the accountability for their work.
· Focus Hubs begin the day with sharing and are responsible for supporting each member.
· People of all ages and abilities continue to be involved in the Hubs.
· Older residents are encouraged to continue to contribute, and they have the option of “retiring”.
· Each member will have vacation and health leaves which are coordinated by the Focus Hubs.
· Focus Hubs leadership is rotated.
· Focus Hubs consider all twelve focus questions in the work they do.
· The Community encourages “job” rotation while respecting each person’s inner knowing and their abilities.
· Openings in Focus Hubs are filled through the process of the
· applicants listening to the description and deciding amongst themselves by consensus who gets the position.
· People working outside the Community are also in Focus Hubs.
· Focus Hubs record pertinent information of their activities in the Community computer bank.
*The Community and teams focus on the Spirit in which the “work” is done.
o We encourage love, joy, and learning in all that we do. The work is done in a positive environment (i.e. with singing, music, and laughter).
o Focus Hubs decide the degree of support for individual time allowances to pursue ongoing education and research including time at the Community creative centers.
o We take a look at the least desirable work and find a creative, useful approach to do it, do it as a group, or eliminate it.
o We make sure that we understand the purpose and value of everything we do in order to come into cooperation with the work.
o We encourage flexibility in how we do the work and constantly look at bringing in new innovations.
o We create freedom through developing low maintenance work wherever possible.
o We include long range planning in what we do.
o We coordinate what we do with the seasons.
o We recognize the underlying principle of taking care of ourselves so that we can take care of others.
o We encourage service as a form of balance.
o We give recognition and acknowledgment to individuals and teams for their work, contributions, and service.
o We bring the consciousness of fun into all that we do.
HOW DO WE VITALIZE OURSELVES? Top
If we look at our well-being in a holistic way, we see that health services in our Community involve much more than medical services. We have chosen the word “vitalize” in order to consider the area of health in the broadest sense. For instance, in preventing and treating “dis-ease”, it is just as important to treat the causes on the emotional, mental, and spiritual levels as it is to treat the physical symptoms. In our Community we will continually focus on peace and harmony both within ourselves and with each other. In addition, on the physical level, we will treat our bodies to the finest available air, water, and food and will create time in our daily lives for exercise, fun and inner attunement. We also will have a fully equipped health care center that not only treats people for specific complaints but also focuses on preventative medicine and health care education.
ESSENCES: How do we vitalize ourselves?
o By respecting the body.
o By stimulating the body, emotions, mind, and spirit to create the energy and enthusiasm for greater growth and health.
o By vitalizing ourselves in a holistic way.
o By clearing imbalances and disharmony on all levels.
o By providing loving support for ourselves and each other.
o By emphasizing positiveness in our thoughts and feelings.
o By working with the Light in all we do.
o The Community has a Health Center which coordinates the health services of the Community members.
§ Health services are also available for paying non-residents.
§ Community members have group insurance for medical costs at outside facilities.
§ The Health Center treats the whole person by combining modern
§ Western medical technology with non-traditional practices in a spiritual perspective.
o The Health Center focuses on a preventative approach to health
o Educational workshops on personal growth and development.
o Regular holistic check-ups for residents.
o Training on body awareness.
o Proper breathing techniques.
o Sharing practical health tools.
o Nutritional consultations.
o The development of individual inner knowing and individual responsibility on how to take care of one’s self.
o We will consume the purest, freshest, and highest quality food and water that is possible.
o We recognize the importance of exercise and fun in vitalizing ourselves.
o We will build recreation into our daily lives through:
o walking on the earth and natural pathways.
o organized and individual recreational activities available daily.
o Looking at “work” as a form of both fun and exercise.
o We utilize the environment for self-nurturing through the healing qualities of:
o Beauty in our field of vision and in our surroundings.
· Pollution free surroundings.
· Working and eating in attunement with the seasonal cycles.
o We recognize the importance of balancing ourselves mentally, emotionally, and spiritually by:
· Loving ourselves and each other.
· Speaking kind works to each other.
· Keeping clear and balanced with ourselves and one another.
· Encouraging individual responsibility to health.
· Using the hubs as support systems.
· Having time built into our daily lives for individual spiritual
· Keeping spiritual attunement as a priority in our daily lives.
· Having a retreat area available.
o Allowing no smoking or recreational drugs within our Community.
HOW DO WE NOURISH OURSELVES? Top
In nourishing ourselves, we will coordinate in the same Focus Hub the food we grow, purchase, and prepare. When we plan our nourishment as a whole Community, we have the resources to utilize the technology now available to produce our own food. In doing so, we benefit by being able to eat the freshest natural food and we eliminate preservatives and chemical insecticides. In keeping with our respect for the environment, we will also replenish the earth in natural ways to keep it bountiful.
ESSENCES: How do we nourish ourselves?
· By blessing the food we grow, harvest, prepare, and consume.
· By respecting the earth and the environmental balance through the foods we grow and the animals we raise.
· By providing nutritional education and encouraging inner wisdom in nutritional choices.
· We will grow as much of our own food as possible with the following guidelines:
1. We will plant and grow what will naturally grow in our environment.
2. We will create artificial environments to produce foods not natural to the Community’s environment.
3. We will import food not available naturally or which cannot be grown in an artificial environment in an efficient and economical way.
· We will use the best and most healthful means available in producing our food. These options may include:
· High quality water purification including a watering system that will not build up salt in the earth.
· Waste recycling.
· Natural pest control.
· Natural fertilizers (i.e. composting).
· *Crop rotation.
· Edible landscaping both outside and inside (individuals have the
· option of growing food in their own homes).
· Animals for consumption.
·Naturally fed, no artificial substances to stimulate growth.
·Space to move without overpopulation.
·High health standards.
· The Community will coordinate the purchasing of the food with the
food production and will offer communal eating.
· The Community purchases food in bulk that we do not produce.
· We observe healthful standards.
· Individuals purchase personal preference items on their own.
· Every resident has the option of having their own kitchen in their
· home and/or eating communally.
· The Community may have restaurant(s) both for residents and visitors.
· The Community has a large will-equipped kitchen(s).
· The Community has a large food storage areas with emergency food and water storage.
· The kitchens are designed to be energy efficient.
We will encourage good nutrition through classes and individual consultation which are available through the Community Health Center.
HOW DO WE BRING FORTH INNER WISDOM? Top
An essence of the educational process is bringing forward the inner wisdom that each of us has within us. We see learning as a life long process in which there is value to be gained from all our experiences. To facilitate our inner wisdom, we encourage creating the time in our daily lives for inner attunement.
A major aspect of education is the Community itself. With all its innovations, the Community is intended to be a school of life to explore how the people of this planet can live in greater peace and harmony with each other and with all life. Utilizing the latest educational techniques, we offer classes, workshops, and shared learnings in an atmosphere of joy and loving support. In addition, both children and adults will be given the opportunity to learn by doing through participation in various aspects of the Community.
ESSENCES: How do we bring forth inner wisdom?
· By recognizing life as the classroom where we are learning all the time.
· By utilizing the Community as an educational laboratory.
· By supporting and respecting the inner guidance in each of us as a source of
direction, learning, and truth.
· By encouraging all positive expression and experiences leading to inner growth, self-knowledge and expansion.
· By encouraging learning by doing and by being of service.
· By using everything for our advancement.
· By encouraging natural curiosity and creativity.
· By making learning joyful, entertaining, and available.
· By acting and sharing with loving, honesty, and integrity in whatever we do.
· We will consider several educational options:
· Students may attend public or private schools outside the Community. (This encourages broader experiences and perspectives.)
· Depending on our resources and on Community choice, we may have Community schools.
· Parents have the choice to send their children to whatever schools are available.
· There may be a student support group.
· Child care is available and emphasizes inner wisdom, responsibility, learning skills, group interaction, communication, creativity and fun.
· Community members can explore vocational choices by participation in various aspects of Community life.
We recognize that inner wisdom is brought forward through inner attunement which we will focus on by:
· Making it a priority in our Community.
· Building time for it into our daily lives.
· Creating a retreat/meditation area.
· We recognize that every situation or circumstance throughout our lives is an opportunity to learn and grow.
· To facilitate bringing forward inner wisdom, both individually and collectively as a Community, we will encourage:
· By maintaining an openness for change and improvements.
· By making our Community a haven for new positive technology.
· By using the newest and best educational techniques.
o The acquisition of learning skills.
o The recognition that people learn at different rates.
o The availability of learning resources including a resource center.
o People sharing their wisdom
· By inviting in resources from outside our Community.
· By offering learning experiences to people outside our Community.
· Spiritual awareness and inner attunement in the educational process.
· Opportunities for being of service.
· The acquisition of effective communication skills.
· Learning about cooperation, sharing, and fulfillment.
· Learning about being in harmony with our environment.
· Learning by doing
· By participating in various Community activities.
· By becoming aware of how our Community works.
· By focusing on teaching through “hands on” experience in addition to “classroom learning.”
· By rotating to different Focus areas so people have the option of having different experiences.
HOW DO WE COMMUNICATE? Top
The cornerstone that makes our innovative ideas on “consensus” and “sharing our abundance” work is communication. Effective, open, and loving communication creates the bonding, the respect for one another, and the willingness to act in consensus. To facilitate this process, we will offer ongoing training and practice on communication skills. Workshops on personal growth and development will emphasize how we as individuals and as a Community can act for the highest good of all concerned, while at the same time realizing personal needs and goals. We will also utilize technology to make information and communication easily accessible to all residents.
ESSENCES: How do we communicate?
· By listening to the truth within each other and responding with kindness, consideration, and loving honesty.
· By creating a safe space to communicate.
· By having workshops to continually improve our communication skills through emphasizing personal growth.
· By calling in the Light.
· By respecting confidentiality.
· By recognizing our oneness with everyone and everything.
· By having Community information accessible to all residents.
· By acting in consensus.
· By keeping communication fun.
· We will use the best available communications technology to make information easily assessable to all residents.
o There will be a Community linked computer within each home or hub that will serve several functions:
§ A bulletin board for announcements about activities, news, innovations, etc.
§ A log of all Community and Hub records and meeting notes so that all residents have access to all Community information.
o There will be a Community communication system so that residents can talk to one another within the Community at any time and anywhere.
o To facilitate the process of Community consensus, we will have an audio-visual system with the capability to:
§ Telecast live and taped Community consensus meetings.
§ Telecast presentations from any of the Essence Hubs to both the Main Hub and all other Essence Hubs.
o There will be a shared information center/library that also contains tapes of all Main Hub meetings, Community records, etc.
o We will provide training on specific techniques and methods for effective and loving communications.
o We will offer ongoing training on personal growth and development.
o We will encourage an atmosphere for consensus by:
· Giving each person the chance to be heard.
· Recognizing all ideas as having value.
· Using the concept of “P0” (putting ideas not in consensus on hold).
o We will communicate on many. different levels including creative endeavors, cultural activities, growth exercises, etc.
HOW DO WE ENJOY OURSELVES? Top
We feel that it is important to set aside time in our daily lives purely for enjoyment. We also believe that we can facilitate experiencing joy in every phase of our lives. To accomplish this, the “How do we enjoy ourselves” Hub coordinates a variety of opportunities for creative expression, interactive play and viewing pleasure with participation being an individual choice. This Hub looks for ways to create fun in all facets of Community life. An enjoyable aspect already built into our Community is the beauty and tranquility of our natural surroundings. It is our experience that we can have joy in every phase of our lives and that enjoyment all starts with how we relate with ourselves and having loving communication and supportive relationships with each other.
ESSENCES: How do we enjoy ourselves?
o By recognizing that joy is a way of life, rather than an activity.
o By encouraging creativity.
o By encouraging uplifting humor.
o By having all recreation within our Community freely available to all members.
· The Enjoyment Hub will generate, plan, and coordinate activities including:
o Organized sports and play time.
o Plays, music events, etc.
o Time and resources for group and individual creativity.
· The Hub will also:
o Receive and act on ideas from Community members.
o Requisition items for enjoyment.
o Encourage and suggest ways to bring fun into all Community activities.
· Our Community has natural opportunities for enjoyment built into our daily lives through:
o Walking and cycling everywhere within our Community on natural pathways.
o Enjoying the beauty and serenity of nature.
o Loving communication and sharings.
· Our Community will have recreation facilities including:
o A multipurpose theater with a seating capacity for the entire Community population. This structure is designed to have many uses including meetings and conferences, movies, plays, etc.
o A multi-use building with hardwood floors for sports, exercise, dance, etc.
o A natural outside water area (i.e. lake), if possible, and/or an Olympic size pool.
o Kids’ play area and equipment.
o Resource centers where one can pursue creative pursuits - i.e. artistic, inventive, etc.
HOW DO WE EXPAND OUR COMMUNITY? Top
Our purpose is for the Community to serve as a living laboratory for demonstrating a successful model for living - one in which there is harmony with ourselves, each other, and our environment. This Hub has the responsibility of sharing with the world the concept, experiences, and acquired knowledge of our Community, screening applicants for membership, and expanding the concept of our Community to other locations. To support the integrity of our Community, the entrance requirements for a new member include having a willingness to cooperate with the focus areas’ essences and guidelines and having an enthusiasm for participating in the vision we are creating. To give applicants the information and experience they need for choosing to apply, the Expand Focus Hub will offer a variety of opportunities for participation.
ESSENCES: How do we expand our Community?
· By sharing a successful model of Community living with the world so that the vision can expand.
· By accepting new residents who share the concept of our Community and have a willingness to participate.
· By making the Community experience available to all people regardless of race, color, nationality, or age.
· We will share with the world our Community’s structure, workings, goals, experiences and acquired knowledge through:
o A visitor’s center.
o An internship program - i.e. quarterly programs where people can come and study Community living, and other areas of innovation.
o Housing available for visitors.
o Seminars, workshops, and presentations both within and outside our Community.
o Publications of our research and our experiences - both successful and unsuccessful.
o Public relations outreach.
o Area service projects.
o Sharing innovative technologies that can assist the world.
o Assisting others to start their own communities.
· The “How do we expand our Community” Focus Hub sets the criteria for screening new members and creates an application which may include letters of recommendation, employment histories, credit checks, etc.
· The focus hub may create and/or coordinate classes and workshops for prospective members to come for a week or weekend in order to experience the Community and give the Community a chance to experience them.
· The focus hub may also set up opportunities and experiences for non-residents to be participant-observers.
· The focus hub is available to set up procedures for new residents to ease their integration into the Community, if needed.
*Entrance requirements to be a Community member include:
· Sharing the vision of the Community and a willingness to participate enthusiastically.
· Being willing to cooperate with the essences and guidelines of the twelve focus areas.
· Agreeing to the financial guidelines of “How do we share our abundance”.
· Agreeing that the Community is their primary residence.
· Agreeing that if they work within the Community that they will be available to participate for a certain minimum amount of time.
· Agreeing that they will treat Community property with respect and be responsible for any damage they may do.
· Agreeing that parents are primarily responsible for their children
· A non-resident marrying a resident must meet and agree with the same guidelines as any other resident.
· Meeting the entrance fees (see “How do we share our abundance” for details).
· Meeting their financial obligations to others. (An applicant whose financial and legal obligations could not be met by living in the Community would not be accepted.)
· No applicants will be accepted over the preset maximum of residents per space in keeping with living in harmony with our environment.
· Members may be asked to leave the Community for falsifying their application, conviction of a serious crime, or failure to cooperate with Community guidelines. When dismissal is being considered, the Expand Hub investigates and presents (only when making a recommendation for dismissal) findings to the Main Hub for consensus on whether or not a person remains a Community member.
In the essences and guidelines of the twelve focus areas, we have described a life-style which to us represents Community. We have created a blending for people living in abundance with a support system that enriches our lives even more through loving, caring, and the opportunities for joyful group interaction on all levels. In contrast, as we look at our world, we see that isolation and alienation have become rampant in a society not dealing with the idea that the needs of idea that the needs of every individual are the responsibility of everyone.
We believe that the keys to world peace and prosperity are recognizing our oneness with all life, having a consciousness of sharing and cooperation, and acting in loving. If we lived in those ways, we could eliminate hunger, poverty, and the isolation and alienation of those who are perceived as being different from ourselves. The idea of Community has come forth to provide a working model and an educational laboratory to pioneer and demonstrate ways of living together in greater harmony and fulfillment.
A Community such as the one we are creating is not a prerequisite for changing our planet, but imagine what will happen as people see that they can create similar communities to this one. As people see the joy and abundance of our Community, more and more of them are created in this country and around the world enabling people to be free to live, learn, work, and belong everywhere within a brotherhood of mankind.