Someone asked me recently how I choose my guests for the 60 Mindful Minutes podcast and I responded that the process is actually really simple and completely organic. I think of something I am curious about and I go looking for someone who would be really great to have a conversation with about that topic.
That’s exactly why I connected with this week’s guest.
My knowledge of and experience with intentional communities before this interview was pretty limited, but I did know that more and more people are leaving their subdivisions or changing their city blocks to make massive shifts in their sense of community, belonging and contribution. I wanted to know how and why, which led me to Sky Blue, the executive director of The Fellowship for Intentional Community.
Yes, that’s his real name, and ya, I guess you could say he’s sort of a hippy, if by hippy you mean completely tuned into what it means to live humanely, respectfully and sustainably.
Before the idea of intentional communities starts conjuring up images of 60’s communes, I invite you to listen to what today’s cooperative living movement really looks like.
Sky has spent the last 20 years living in, working in and consulting on numerous communal and cooperative groups in the US and in Europe and has centered his work to be focused on furthering the larger cooperative movement in all sorts of iterations.
And here’s the good news: a return to a village-like social system doesn’t mean we have to move to a farm in the middle of rural Tennessee… although it could. Intentional community living takes all sorts of forms, and anyone could start taking action today.
1. In Sky’s words, an intentional community creates relationships of sharing, with both social and economic dimensions, in a geographical location and with an organizational structure and set of stated values that contains and defines its membership. In other words, it’s a group of people with a shared and defined sense of purpose and connection.
2. Today’s intentional communities movement isn’t, for the most part, about escapism or isolation. It’s about regaining a sense of connection and belonging that has been lost. It’s about creating a more humane and equitable society that honors our common humanity above money, amassing more stuff or getting ahead at the cost of others.
3. While intentional communities can take on many forms, a key element is sharing, including space, resources, skills, food, childcare and/or senior care. They are designed to facilitate collaboration and connection with its members with scores of social, economic and ecological benefits.
4. This type of living requires us to take into account the need to balance what is going to be good for me with what is going to be good for everyone else. It calls on a person to consider being a part of something bigger than themselves.
5. If this idea resonates with you, know that you don’t need to move to a rural community to start cultivating the spirit of intentional community living. You could simply start by making small changes in your own life that begin to create a sense of belonging among the people you are already close to and care about. Maybe you could start a monthly pot luck on your street or gather the moms together at your kids’ school for coffee once in a while.
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This was one of those conversations that had me pause and really take it in. The night after I recorded it, I sat with my husband Marc and told him how fascinated I was by this idea of returning to a village. My mind was swirling with ideas for how we could create an intentional community in our life, without moving.
And that’s my hope for you, with this episode and with every episode of this podcast. I want to get us all thinking about how we can live better together.
A big thanks to Sky Blue for being my guest this week. You can learn more about The Fellowship for Intentional Community at https://www.ic.org/, where you can find a great blog, tons of resources and books, plus the magazine we referred to a few times in this interview.
If you loved this conversation, share it! Or leave a five-star review in iTunes. I would so appreciate that.
Until next time,
(photo credit: The Fellowship for Intentional Community)