Another common question, probably due to folks’ inability to separate our community from cults in their imaginations, is what kind of drug use goes on in our community. We’re not drinking “the koolaid” and we’re not taking MDMA and having orgies. We’re not microdosing mushrooms to better explore our outer minds. We’re not eating tabs of acid and trekking through the desert for ayauasca.
We do, however, advocate for the use of cannabis and use it fairly regularly. This is America in 2019 after all! There is very seldom alcohol use in our community because we don’t find it to be a productive use of inebriates.
Many of our members stopped taking recreational substances altogether when they joined us, finding that these substances were helpful in getting through their “out there” lives but are no longer helpful here. And for those who do continue, well that’s none of my business and we try not to police one another’s lifestyles!
Ok ok ok I got some flack for the last post and I want to take a moment to clarify my meaning. I respect modern living, I respect the hustle and career moves required to be successful in our culture. And I must be honest – to a degree, I maintain a financial safety net accumulated from my former life that allows me to live more freely out here off the grid. I am aware of the negatives and positives of living in modern society.
I though chose to leave that. Maybe one day I will rejoin it. But leaving it has worked really well for me and I have found a new kind of happiness that I never knew to be possible and that has expanded my consciousness in interesting ways.
Again. Not everyone is able, willing, interested in doing this. Not everyone wants to drink one cup of mushroom tea before yoga instead of a 16-oz skim latte on the red line. Not everyone wants to use home grown and processed shea butter for hair, nails, face, and body moisturizing instead of Kiehls and Aveda. And for many people, this version of happiness is perfect!
We all choose our choices. To advocate for mine is not to disparage yours.
Living off the grid and mostly off of farm fresh fruits, vegetables, and responsibly sourced animal products means that the majority of our community members are healthy, nutritious, and well-balanced. What we lack in our direct diets, we make up for in teas and tonics that community members develop to promote healthy living.
I have friends – former friends – from outside of the community who shop at GNC to supplement a diet of frozen meals, fast food, and Starbucks.
I have no judgement – the real world “out there” is fast and is not designed to keep people healthy, it is designed to keep people productive. Eat your meals on the go, drink your coffee on the go, instead of eating foods that give you what you need, take that in pill form and keep living on preservatives and pills. This is what capitalism does to humanity. I was a part of it for decades and I was a version of happy.
Like any community, our members are subject to life changes that may take them away from us. We are always sad to see people go but we always support our community members in whatever endeavors they choose to take.
Anyone who wishes to leave is encouraged to first speak with the current dry-getter as that will be their first opportunity to have a ride out of the area. We then ask that they speak to the community at large – justifying their decision to leave, outlining their plans to follow, and clarifying whether or not they’ll be in touch with us thereafter.
For those who expect or wish to stay in touch with us, we do a big SEEYALATER sendoff exchanging contact information and expecting to see them in the near future. For those who want to sever all ties, we do our best to sever all ties and send them off quickly and quietly.
Just like a Fortune 500 company offboards folks immediately who choose to resign as to not poison their view of the company, we like people who want to leave to do so quickly to allow them the greatest opportunity to reach their potential elsewhere!
In our community, we don’t believe in things like locks, closed doors, passwords, or secrets. Part of living in our community is openness and honesty. We encourage relationships, growth, development, but we encourage that it be felt as a community rather than experienced by an individual. We don’t believe that individual success is success unless it is shared with a community. We don’t believe that mourning is effective when undertaken as an individual. And we don’t trust anything that happens behind a door.
This is not some L. Ron Hubbard hiding in a saferoom beneath commune houses cult. This is a community of likeminded do-ers who are working together to build an environment where everyone supports everyone. If I have water and you’re thirsty, I will give you my water. If I am thirsty later, we will solve that problem later.
We do, however, have safety and security measures to protect our goods from community outsiders. We have no judgement or beliefs about those outside of our community, but we do understand that food and goods can go a long way with a hungry individual.
If we catch any outsiders trying to steal food and good from us, as has happened only thrice in our lifetime, we first offer that individual a space within our community letting them know that they will be rationed whatever they need as long as they remain a contributing community member. This worked with one of the individuals.
We have had almost no crime in our Community since I joined in 2012.
Once, a friend and neighbor had a visitor from the city and he absent-mindedly left some cigarette butts in a common area. We approached them the following day and asked that they just clean them up. They did. That was the whole story.
Another time, some visitors got drunk and stole a bunch of candles from the gift shop at the petting zoo. We lost about $65 worth of products. We had a Community meeting and decided that maybe we should just staff the gift shop, put out testers of everything, and have the actually products kept behind the counter. Allowing people to try the products first has actually increased our revenue so we’re happy to have changed this process and not involved any law enforcement individuals.
As a community, we believe in crime but we don’t believe in people as criminals. So we don’t deal with law enforcement agents – whose primary function in society seems to be making criminals out of survivors.
As you may be wondering, why am I blogging about the Community I suggest to be so perfectly contained and populated. Well we recently had a CL Community Meeting where we discussed some new ways to mitigating the cult-vibe people feel about us.
We thought that some blogging about our beliefs and processes would be a good start. I was tiring of my role as Dry Getter, and I studied writing in school before finding my way to the Community, and I believed myself to be a good ambassador of the whole Community.
So I guess I’m here mostly to convince you that we’re not crazy people, we’re not here against our will, we have no plans to travel to South America with a vat of kool-aid, and we’re not a constant dirty farm orgy. We mostly just got sick of 7-11s and trains and dirty railings, Christmas music on the sidewalks in October, door buzzes, prime deliveries, Dunkin Donuts, swiping or inserting debit cards, surfing the web, listening to podcasts, etc.
We just…. left. And we make good products. And they are available for sale! That’s the extent of it!
Our community doesn’t have a name – it creates too much of a familial connection when really we simply identify as a community of individuals. We’re not the People’s Temple or the Children of God or the Wives of Moses or anything, we’re just a bunch of individuals on the same land. For that reason, we call ourselves The Community.
Our products for sale are titled things like, “The Community Lavender Soap” or “The Community Smudge Sticks.” And we call one another friends and neighbors. We don’t identify as a religion, so we pay taxes and value our status as Americans.
We also include a brief description of our community on the labeling for all of our goods. We certainly want to nip the cult thing in the bud if we want to keep making sharing and earning. So the description is as follows:
Thank you for visiting The Community today, we are so pleased to welcome you to our Community of farmers, growers, makers, doers. When we’re not trading and sharing with one another, we love to welcome visitors to try out our products and share a cup of tea and a story or two! Come back real soon!
I get this question from many of the community visitors – what is the family structure within the community? That’s easy to answer, we don’t have a family structure because we don’t have families. Everyone in our community is single, lives on their own, and respects the tenant of our belief system that while it’s ok to have momentary company – courtship, romance, and companionship are not valuable.
As one can imagine, many of our community members are divorcees who learned only during marriage that marriage is not of value. Many of our community members are simply single folks who have always been single and needn’t be convinced.
Because we have a community of single people, there are no families or children. There have been sexual relationships between members – which we understand to be a physical expression solely based upon the importance of orgasm. We don’t assign any emotional or romantic connection to it. And of course, members have become pregnant. In these cases, that members is encouraged to make a choice between leaving the community and raising the child or terminating the pregnancy and remaining a single person in the community. We don’t push either way, we celebrate either choice, and encourage the autonomy of such a choice.
The community here does have a strong shared belief in innate human goodness, this is what binds us together as a community. We see one another’s inherent goodness and worth, we celebrate it, we reject the cruelty and passivity of the world we all left behind, and we pose no threat to anybody.
The minute I begin to tell anyone that I live in a chosen community with a chosen familial group and we share common beliefs about the world around us, they begin to question my safety and sanity. I know it sounds like a cult. I’ve studied all of the cults, all of the cult leaders, all of the different world religions. I understand the difference between cult and religion just as I recognize the difference between community and cult.
We have a weekly mutual worship session – we’re split into groups and discuss our lives with a therapeutic sense. The purpose of these groups is to have friends and neighbors validate our concerns that we would be afraid to even voice in a less evolved group. It is also a way to heighten the sense of community and dependency of the community members. It is important to us to remember that people need us as much as we need people. For this reason, it is very uncommon that someone leaves the group.
We get the occasional tourists in town on the wine trip who don’t feel comfortable visiting or paying for goods at what they consider a cult. Once anyone is convinced you’re in a cult, anything you say sounds to them like gaslight scripted jargon. But most are more than happy to throw their money at us!
This hipster homemade trend works very much in our favor.