Blood, sweat, tears, laughter, and beers. That’s the conclusion a Rabbit and I came to over coffee one morning. We were having a chat in the Common House, talking about what has gone into creating Dancing Rabbit over the last 21 years. For me, the Visitor Program was a real look into the building of Dancing Rabbit and the people that have done the work, as well as a short immersion into what life at DR would be like for new residents. I arrived for my two-week stay with a strong feeling I would pursue becoming a resident at DR, unless any unpleasant surprises warned otherwise. I found surprises, but they were most pleasant! There was no bait-and-switch or hard-sell or too-good-to-be-trues. It felt like a genuine look into the busy, everyday life of the community.
I mentioned pleasant surprises. I knew meals were included in the program, but I did not expect the delicious variety of clean, organic, home-cookin’ that was the norm, meal after meal. Eating with the residents of DR, in addition to other visitors, was another pleasant surprise. As Rabbits opened-up about themselves—which seemed to come naturally for most—I was fascinated by the life experiences they brought to the table. Great food AND great company.
The educational workshops—two or three each day—occasionally felt like too much of a good thing, especially in the late afternoons as my hammock was calling my name. I was up at 5 am most mornings (thank you birds, roosters, dogs, sun, trains, and a resetting internal clock) and had just finished a big lunch, don’t you know. The reality was that none of the workshops were superfluous. For those of us considering applying for residency, each workshop fit into the overall picture. Workshops on communication or conflict resolution were unexpected, but, “Duh!” Living in community necessarily involves both.
I appreciated the mix of discussion, whiteboard notes, real-life exercises, and getting out on the property for sessions. I recommend that you bring your hiking shoes because a jaunt around the land or to Red Earth Farms or into Rutledge will be a few miles round trip!
I appreciated the openness of the community. As a guest, I was invited and welcomed to all the community events. I took part in morning yoga/meditation, Song Circle, swimming in the pond, Men’s Group, karaoke, Movie Night, Pizza Night, and Game Night. Sadly, I was only a spectator at Ultimate Frisbee, but it looked like a blast and A LOT of exercise. There was more going on than I expected all around the village all of the time.
I’ll wrap up with a few words about “shoulds.” I imagine all humans have them. I should recycle more; I should eat healthier; I should spend more time doing the things that feed my face and my soul; I should relax; I should use less water; I should live more simply; I should reconnect to Mother Nature. I should exercise more; I should read more; I should take more naps; I should leave this job; I should laugh more; I should move to the country; I should be a better friend. I should hug more; I should sing more; I should get some sun; I should build my own house; I should put up a solar panel; I should ride my bike more and not drive as much. I should, I should, I should, I should . . .. It occurred to me that Dancing Rabbit is a place where “shoulds” go to die; Rabbits are living with fewer “shoulds.” That’s my plan anyway: the Shouldless Dancing of the Rabbits. Sounds good to me. It felt good to me; maybe it will feel good to you too. I double-dare you to give it a try.
I’m Troy, or “T” if you like, and I’ve waited 20 years to come to Dancing Rabbit. Over the last 20 years, I got sober, started a couple businesses, and answered the call to be a substance abuse counselor. I believe silly is a state of grace and my personal motto is “Just love people.” Going forward, I plan to write life-stories for folks, build custom chairs from reclaimed materials, stop “shoulding” on myself, and continue doing what I believe to be the next right thing.