Joy and Meaning: My Dancing Rabbit Life

Hi folks, Vick here. I hope you enjoyed your week; we at Dancing Rabbit have been living the high life of the summer season. Things have been vibrant and lively in the village for the last several weeks, because we’ve had back-to-back events with Singing Rabbit, our annual Open House, and a natural building workshop, followed very soon by a four-day weekend and and our final visitor session for the year. Shwew! It has been a blast entertaining so many guests. 

Some of the beautiful, smiling faces of Dancing Rabbit.

Here’s the final piece in my series about the top five things I love about living in this magical village, reason number one:

1. I accidentally stumbled on a path to living a life filled with joy and meaning.

I know, it sounds like hyperbole, but when I’m in my most optimistic and constructive state of mind, I really believe it: my life here is filled with joy and meaning. (Acknowledging good things can take a lot of mindfulness on my part — another of the many things I’ve learned while living at Dancing Rabbit.) For me, it boils down to all the little things; innumberale, ineffable, and invaluable. I didn’t come here looking for them, I suppose because, at the time, it wouldn’t have occurred to me that they were possible.

The joy variable of the equation is easier for me to nail down. My week is filled with lots of opportunities for fun, regularly scheduled activities that I get to pick and choose from as the days roll by.

Monday evenings, for example, are set aside for one of my favorite things in the world: playing board games. (And I don’t mean your mama’s tired old Monopoly, I’m talking about the cutting edge of cavorting with cardboard; games like: Blockus, Carcassonne, Spirit Island, Evolution, and more. I admit — somewhat sheepishly — that I have a collection of over sixty games.)

On Tuesdays I get to join all my friends and neighbors for a grand potluck meal, which often involves locally made/grown foods, like fresh garden-grown salad greens, pastured poultry, or halloumi cheese made from the milk of a fuzzy beast raised right here on our land, by one of my neighbors. I’ll never forget the chicken Mae served to my visitor group one evening for supper; it was an all-black Ayam Cemani, or some similar breed. You never know what you’re going to get, and I like that. (At least, I do most of the time — one year, after her second child was born, Mae brought her own placenta to potluck, liberally sauced with ketchup and mustard. Lots of folks tried it, and many thought it was a taste sensation, but I love Mae too much to eat her flesh. Ask me again when the zombie apocalypse kicks off.) 

Wednesday is a doubleheader: writer’s group in the morning, where I get to meet with my fellow logophiles and play with words, and song circle in the evening, where I can show up to hear some lovely a capella tunes. I have the voice of a toad, so I don’t sing, but hearing others weaving intricate melodies in unison is a wonderful experience. It’s not unusual for a song to bring me to the verge of tears. (The chorus of one of my favorites is: “the heart is not a room, with space to fill; the heart is a door, that opens to more and more”. It gets me every time.)

Thursday is the culinary highlight of my week. (I’ve never been one to shy away from a full plate.) The folks at the Milkweed Mercantile, DR’s very own eco tavern, dishes out a mean handmade pizza, but dessert is the main event as far as I’m concerned. Alline and Lauren make some of the most blissful cheesecakes, brownies, fruit pies, cookies and other goodies that you’ll find anywhere. 

So it goes for the rest of the week. There’s yoga, meditation, gardening, discussion groups, and more. Recently, Hassan hosted a party where we got to make mosaics out of piece of glass tile, which he will use in the house he is currently building, called the Tea Cozy. All the pieces get arranged on a length of plywood, and lightly secured with gaffer’s tape to keep everything in place until they’re ready to be installed. My favorite was Arune’s abstract face, made in black, red and orange tile. 

The downside to all this is that I often have to choose between two things I REALLY want to do, that are happening at the same time. I also have to be more conscious of self care than I did once upon a time — it’s easy for me to get carried away in group activities, committee work, talking shop with my fellow non-profit staff, and all the rest, because everyone is right here, all the time. I have to be mindful about setting time aside for the all-important solitude I need to recharge. 

The sense of meaning I feel here is a little harder for me to wrap words around. It would be disingenuous of me to claim that I feel anything remotely close to self-actualized (taking for granted that such a thing is possible in the first place, outside of academic theory), and I’m certainly not going to make the claim that moving here is going to solve anyone’s existential crisis. I feel confident saying that I’m closer, living here, to a purposeful life than I’ve ever been anywhere else. Your mileage may vary.

It wouldn’t surprise me if my lifestyle before coming to Dancing Rabbit sounds familiar. You know, the usual first world problems: trading my time, at a job I hated, for dollars I didn’t have much use for; apart from paying for the car I needed to get to work, and the house I didn’t spend any time in, anyway. I could count my close relationships on two hands — one of which was a fiancee, with whom I shared little more than an unspoken agreement to carry on clinging to a warm body and splitting the rent. I spent most of my time passively consuming vacuous entertainment programming, (in the interest of candor, I still do my fair share of that, but I no longer feel like it’s the only worthwhile pastime I have at my disposal). All the while, I pined away, wishing that my life was more fulfilling.

What changed for me, here? Good question. I suppose if you sketch all the things I’ve mentioned into some sort of holistic picture, you’ll get an idea of what I’m driving at. Living at Dancing Rabbit has made any number of minute improvements to my mindset, my emotional state, my general perception, my awareness, the opportunities available to me, and a host of things that exist somewhere in my peripheral vision, just on the tip of my tongue. Somehow, in the aggregate, I feel empowered to live in a way that seems meaningful and rewarding, to me. The double-dog-downside, existentially speaking, is that I don’t have any excuses anymore. If I’m not living the life I want, it’s on me. I reckon that’s the way it should be. 

By the way, the colossal privilege I have in being able to live the life of my dreams isn’t lost on me. But I’m not special. I’m average in every respect. The magical gestalt of Dancing Rabbit, and the hope it represents for the world, makes all the difference. My simple claim to you is that it’s accessible. All you have to do is take the first step. (Another of my favorite song circle songs goes like this: “you don’t have to know the way; the way knows the way.”)

If you’re ready to experience the wonders of Dancing Rabbit firsthand, meet lots of like-minded people, enjoy some wonderful food, learn some new skills, and have lots of fun along the way, you have two ways to visit us. Each is designed and intended for different types of people. I’ll go over your options, briefly, so that you can decide which program is right for you..

First, we have our two-week visitor program. This option is principally intended for folks who have decided that living in an intentional community is right for them; generally, they are looking for a community to move to, or they are focused on learning the ropes so they can start a community of their own. In this program, you’ll undertake several structured workshops on a variety of topics, ranging from renewable energy to conflict resolution, as well as spend lots of unstructured time exploring, schmoozing with people, and relaxing, soaking things in. 

Second, we have our condensed ecovillage weekend experience. This option is for folks who have busy schedules and can’t get time off work to come here for two weeks. In essence, the content is the same, but it’s restructured in a high-density, fast-paced way so that you can get the maximum benefit out of a weekend stay. 

Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions. One of my roles with our non-profit organization is to help folks understand our community, our workshops, travel logistics, and anything else you might need to know to feel confident in your plan to visit Dancing Rabbit. I can’t wait to hear from you!


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