Intentional Communities Research Project for Regenerative Living
Article by Mayra McCullough & Photos by Dr. Janice Kalec and Mayra McCullough
Were to begin telling you about C2E’s evolution and how my heart has been drawn since day one to a very BIG PICTURE vision of Conscious Evolution?
Let’s begin with a list of C2E Vocab for this article…I have stopped assuming that most people know the meaning of a lot of words, and even if they know the words, we have such a Rainbow of meanings we personally attach to each word, that I think in order to establish clear communication, I’ll set up the stage by laying out what is my favorite meaning I attach to a specific word. These are NOT from the Dictionary, but from my collective gathering of years studying this concepts. The familiarity or lack there of with this words has nothing to do with intelligence or higher education, but with how each individual has been drawn to a specific planet of idioms that describe their interests and passions.
Intentional Community: A group of individuals living in proximity with a common purpose who believe that with INTENTION is how we create the world around us.
Intention: The new FOCUS, the new GOAL. A purpose we individually attach to an action in order to drive it forward with energy so that it can suddenly appear in your life when you least expect it!
Regenerative Living: Is the new SUSTAINABLE, which taps to our ability as living organisms to regrow, and bring itself into a renewed existence. Here is where we can start to expand beyond our capacities.
Sustainable Community: A group of individuals aware of how much they have been wasting resources for years and decide that is time to be wise stewards of what has been given to them to take care of. It is about having just enough of what you need without wasting or lacking in any way, shape or form.
Conscious: Being 100% aware of who you are in all the components within yourself.
Conscious Evolution: The natural process of growth, development, and maturity of a species. The next step forward if the genus is not extinct. The point in time we find ourselves in today based on the HISTORY, DATA, and PATTERNS collected through time which clearly state that crisis preceds transformation. As a species we have developed our capacities and powers to have the ability to be 100% Conscious of who we are, in other words, we are capable today to reach wholeness, the next step is Expansion, which is exactly what Evolution is all about, that is, IF the species doesn’t go into the extinct path.
Now with all that said and established, let me share with you one of the most transformational experiences I’ve had this year. Last May a mini-intentional community of four students of Conscious Evolution and Regenerative Living took a 7 day Field Trip, searching for answers and playing the mantra, ‘We Must Go and SEE for OURSELVES’ by Jacques Cousteau. Our common bond, finding our Heaven on Planet Earth (H.O.P.E.).
Our intention was to visit 3 intentional communities in Arizona and New Mexico to clarify the picture of our own vision as we take in what others are doing, what they have learned and what are their key challenges and blessings.
It all starts in Joshua Tree, base camp to our field trip with the sweet hospitality of Jill Giegerich in her soon-to-be-Oasis in the desert, where her and her business partner Tim DeLorey have developed their techniques on Water Harvesting in the desert through their company Eden Regenerative Design. Experts in water harvesting, the word Oasis is not metaphorical in this context. They literally know how to make an arid land yield TONS of water and life!
Our approximately 8 hour ride from Joshua Tree to Tucson was filled with education from Tim & Jill who know the desert fauna like the back of their hands and instead of stopping at 7/11 for road snacks, we would stop on areas filled with Palo Verdes and Mulberry Trees that yield to delicious snacks along the way. Tim had a delicious batch of Mulberry Chips that he had prepared in the desert.
Earth lover Barbara Rose, founder and Mother of Bean Tree Farm, a 20 acre saguaro/ ironwood forest farm & learning center, supplying local desert foods to the community in and around Tucson, Arizona, welcomed us to my first intentional community ever! Rammed earth architecture, home made tinctures, recycled bottle walls, cob thrones, and a fearless permaculture goddess welcomed us to a tangible version of what I’ve been seeing for years. I didn’t imagine desert lands, but I did imagine the joy, health, vibrancy, and connection to the earth my heart was pulling me towards since I left Equinox fitness 5 years ago (my corporate job as a Personal trainer). I remember feeling this knowing that, for my growth, I needed to connect more with nature (I’ve always been a City girl! Even in Puerto Rico!! I was the one who seldom left San Juan!!). At that point ventured to a discovery process that lead me to include Nature Connection as part of C2E’s Well-Being Wheel. I figured going to monthly Yoga Sunset Hikes and the occasional hike would suffice….but the more I sat with Barbara Rose and sensed her intriguing fully liberated energy, the more I understood that the closer you LIVE to the earth, the more ALIVE you feel. Even though she had me at “Hello!,” the confirmation of our kindred spirit was when I saw her enthusiastically preparing for her three awesome young interns, and sealed it when she said that she enjoys and maintains classes, intern programs, with small groups of people. Her literal Oasis (notice that I call C2E an Oasis of Transformational Fitness!) was a magical experience for me. I’ve been collecting vision boards of this reality for years…now I’m here…closer than ever! Bean Tree Farm in Tucson has desert permaculture down!!
Desert treasures, swales and berms marking the genius of early permaculturists in the 30’s who dug huge trenches with horses and buckets in order to harvest water and create a desert forest. (And it worked!) The pictures above show the vast green in the Desert Fauna Jungle in the middle of the Desert of Tucson, Arizona. Oasis, again, is not a metaphor.
The rooms we stayed at in Bean Tree Farm were comfy, earthy, clean, creative, aesthetically gorgeous. I seem to be missing a bunch of pictures from this interior decoration POV, which I love, and is kind of bumming me out. I’m also missing pictures of a short and sweet interlude with my cousin Molly & her husband Ryan, who so happened to live 15 minutes from Bean Tree Farm and came for a quick visit. Barbara Rose happened to meet someone in Ryan who was eager to know how to work with earth architecture. Go figure!
Close to 500 acres of Heaven on Planet Earth, Hummingbird Community and Living School hosts a work weekend quarterly for those interested in exploring their co-creative model of living in community. We stayed at their beautiful Ease house right across from their community home Grace, close to a geodesic dome greenhouse, as well as Dancing Colors yurt-like studio, a biodynamic garden, and next to a lovely and serene creek that lullabies the land constantly. After driving 12 hours from Tucson, landing HOME felt like the perfect reward. We arrived right on time for their Pot Luck Feast where we were deeply WELCOMED. Janice and I were both tickled to see the co-creative practices we have been learning and using for our bi-weekly POD meetings (POD is our Co-Creative Practices Lab inspired by Barbara Marx Hubbard and the book she recommends in her Sacred Journey of the Conscious Evolutionary Class both Mayra and Janice have taken. The Co-Creator’s Handbook by Carolyne Anderson and Katharine Roske has been our guide to put some of this concepts in action, and meeting and working with Katharine (right there below on the left, digging away!) was like I enjoy saying, Vision Accomplished!! Carolyn and Katharine where two of 20 founders of Hummingbird Community more than 20 years ago.
Labyrinth, fairy circle, and a collection of perfect campground sites, were all part of the lovely meadow city, home to a medicine wheel I had the honor to revive through weeding and tending after a dormant season. I was thrilled to see this kind of operation so thoroughly organized . There was a lovely balance of scheduling and order combined with flow, improvisation and a pretty 90% consistent ‘All is well’ vibe that was palpable in every interaction. Bridging the gap between heart centered guidance and planning ahead is one of the challenges in any intentional community. Seeing the graceful hybrid of structure and intuition among those who play with the concept that time does not exist, was great inspiration to our POD at C2E.
Hummingbird Community has a collection of different type of ‘sustainable’ kind of shelters, such as the Dome below. This one is a wood frame structure but they use the same material I use for mine for covering, polycarbonate. Being inside a Green Living Dome was spectacular!
Homesteaders (people who build a living space from scratch using earth materials ONLY!) Sunny & Sequoia are the permaculture arm of Hummingbird Community. True mastery at living harmoniously with the land is evident through their cob houses, goats, food crops, indoor/outdoor bedrooms & kitchens, ingenious creations & innovative solutions. Their highly advanced skill set in living with the land make them in our book one of the most prepared people to live in this planet in the times we’re in. Here below is the cutting edge of permaculture, these are the people who are not messing around with 100% OFF THE GRID. Hummingbird Community has the whole spectrum of sustainable and regenerative lifestyles, and it was fun to see all of us be drawn to various colors within the spectrum.
After 3 lovely days at Hummingbird Community and Living School, it was time to leave what did feel like a very like-minded group of people that really have their center within themselves as well as with the world around them. Helping them through Work Weekend was absolutely delightful! We liked it so much, Janice & I are planning to go again in September 8-11 for a Deep Immersion in Living Co-Creation. We were inspired to launch a Fundraising Campaign to to help us bring this valuable information and the co-creative process to our Community here in Woodland Hills as well as globally.
Our next stop was Taos, 1 hour, Yeayyy!! Taos gave us a warm welcome with its amazing local coffee World Cup, beautiful Rio Grande river as well as its love locks and messages of hope.
Taos is the world headquarters for our third and last intentional community, the cutting edge Earthship Biotecture education, design, rentals and community center. A self-guided tour takes you through an innovative form of architecture using recycled materials and survival technology for water, power & plumbing systems. Their motto “we will always survive” sings the song of this army of terra firma-nauts eager to transform shelter to Gaudi meets Mad Max regenerative style!! I would love to stay in their Earthships for a few days some day. Even though we missed seeing some trees in the surreal landscape of miles and miles of this highly sculpted, creative and functional homes, the barren land, solicited the question…maybe we are on Mad Max and is not that bad after all.
The picturesque and quaint town of Flagstaff, Arizona offered a lovely closure to our field trip. Homey coffee shops, steampunk thrift stores, a zombie store and a bakery that looked like grandma’s kitchen continued to paint for us the great spectrum of community that connects people heart to heart and makes us feel like one big happy family!
As we drove back home we couldn’t help but understand how a mini-intentional community in the context of a road trip to uncover our future could experience that heart to heart connection that allowed us to walk harmoniously every day with amazing wonder, ease, and a sense of flow that was even a bit hard to describe. The best way I can describe it is that we were behaving like a living organism in itself. Where Natural Intelligence moved us without anybody having to lead. What we were inspired to do is what benefitted the whole. It was almost thelepathic in the most non-invasive way. It was a natural magnetism of goodness that took us to back to Joshua Tree feeling like we could do it all over again right there and then!!
I would like to thank Tim, Janice, Jill, Barbara Rose, Katharine Roske, Masha Roske, Amanda, Sean, Sunny, Sequioa, DaBo, and all the Hummingbird Family we can’t wait to see in September for a weekend of Deep Immersion in Living Co-Creation.
May every step we take in understanding and implementing how to live regeneratively, bring the magic of resonance, and heart to heart connection to all who have the ears to hear the calling of what is the potential of our species. May our ability to be a loving, creative, witty, and emotionally intelligent species make us every day more and more capable of infusing love to our powers.
I so agree with a scripture in the Bible that says ‘We were created for times as such as these.” Regardless of the paradox of the times, the light will always overtake the darkness.