Greetings! Tereza here, with all the doings at Dancing Rabbit, or at least all the doings I know about…
Seems like it was a super busy week, so in an attempt to not forget anything important, I’ve decided to go backwards in time. Our first visitor session of the season ended Monday, but since three visitors have decided to make the transformation into work exchangers and/or residents, we didn’t have to say goodbye to too many awesome people. I’ve really enjoyed this batch of visitors, and am looking forward to getting to know the ones who are staying even better in the weeks to come.
Sunday was a mellow day to top off the busy week, with only our regular weekly meeting, a fun music jam at Bluestem, and a movie plus discussion at the Mercantile in the evening. Saturday, on the other hand, had a lot going on. There was a big impromptu garden work party in the morning that I didn’t manage to see, but it sure sounded like they were having a lot of fun!
After that we got as many of us together as could make it and took a group photo as part of 350.org’s Connect the Dots campaign, an international climate change awareness project. There were serious poses and silly poses for the camera, and all in all it was a brief but enjoyable interlude. For me it’s always impressive to notice how much bigger our group pictures have gotten through the years!
Saturday also marked another fabulous May Day celebration at Sandhill Farm. Lots of Rabbits biked, walked or carpooled over to spend time sharing food and drink, contra dance with live music, a maypole dance, and much socializing with friends and neighbors. There was also frisbee, face painting, chanting (and sweating) in the sweatlodge, singing, music playing, and the eternal favorite of kids young and old, swimming in the pond.
As if all that wasn’t enough, Saturday was also Clint’s birthday. It’s only a rumor, but I heard he attended the garden work party in the morning to celebrate.
Friday and Thursday we had several hours of meetings, with the help of an outside facilitator, to discuss power dynamics at DR. We try to be proactive in addressing hard issues and potential conflicts, and this topic has come round a few times in my 12 years here. People naturally have varying levels of power in any community, and that power can be based on many things. It can come from being a founder, having a charismatic personality, being outgoing and articulate, possessing skills that the community needs and values highly, or even just being around long enough that you know how things work here, and how to present your issues and ideas in group process effectively.
Problems can creep in if some community members start to feel like the folks they view as having more power aren’t respectful of them or their opinions. Since we pride ourselves on openness, fairness and equal opportunity, it can be hard to talk about these kinds of feelings, and hard to hear that others are having them, which is why we went with an outside facilitator– so that everyone could focus on what was going on for them in the meetings.
So we spent several hours over the two days getting into the nitty gritty of power dynamics at DR, and while we aren’t perfect and things felt hard much of the time, it was amazing to watch people for the most part being open, saying hard things, listening well, and being compassionate with each other. It was intense, and a lot of issues were touched on that we’ll need to wrestle with some more, but I for one think we made a good start and am proud of us for tackling such a tough topic and being committed to looking at this stuff.
Wednesday was Bri’s birthday (Happy birthday, Bri!) and our usual weekly song circle. Tuesday was tri-community potluck, with a short story reading afterwards, and in the morning our Red Earth neighbor Alyson gave a workshop on basic consensus for long and short term folks alike. I always learn a lot when I attend these trainings. We try to have them at least once a year, so new folks get some formal training in the process we use to make decisions.
Last Monday feels like a very long time ago, but as I recall there was both parts singing and sewing circle in the evening. As for what else happened this week, I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume there was a fair bit of gardening and building, meetings (of course), not to mention parenting, cooking, trying to get laundry done around the rain, socializing, and all the other things we do that make our lives here rich and full.
As for me, I’ve really been enjoying having more home grown produce again– I’ve been eating radishes, thinnings from the greens patch in the garden, pea shoots, and walking onions, not to mention Dan’s fabulous greens and salad mix. Mmmmm! Wishing all of you good food, good friends, and good times as well.
Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage is an intentional community and educational nonprofit in Rutledge, northeast Missouri, focused on sustainable living. We offer free tours at 1:00 pm on the second and fourth Saturdays of the month, April through October. For more information visit our website, www.dancingrabbit.org, or give us a call at (660) 883-5511.