Reaching In and Reaching Out: My Dancing Rabbit Reflections

Reaching In and Reaching Out: My Dancing Rabbit Reflections

Over the last 20+ years, countless people have crossed paths with Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage. From time to time, they tell us about how their experiences here — the things they learned, the people they met, and the fun they had — changed their lives for the better. Often, they leave inspired to live more in harmony with the Earth, and they inspire us to keep striving in our mission to promote global environmental sustainability. Here is one such story from a wonderful visitor, Deena:

Deena and her fellow visitors.

“Deena here, I originally visited Dancing Rabbit for a two-week visitor session.  I was there with 16 other people and I quickly forged new friendships. Quite simply, my experience transformed the way that I view the world.  I have long been environmentally aware and mindful of our impact on the world around us, but I learned so much more. I came back with a list of 67 things to do, not do, or investigate.  Moving forward from that experience, I tended to examine the various systems in my life to determine if they are sustainable. I often found myself asking, “What would the rabbits do?” when I was trying to figure out a better way to do something.  

I consider myself something of an ambassador.  I often refer to my experience as I am going about my life as a teacher and involved citizen.  I am told that I light up, talk faster and that I am more animated when I tell of my time at Dancing Rabbit!  Quite often I hear, “Tell me more about this place!”

One of the classes I teach is Media Production.  For one project, I had the students look at sustainability.  I shared an overview of DR and I talked about some of the systems that Rabbits have in place to be more sustainable.   I created a short example of a video with ten things that I do, such as composting, biking, and collecting rainwater. Afterward, I asked for questions and one student raised her hand and said, “Do you really live like that?”  This year, I am organizing a green locker clean-out to minimize the waste that comes at the end of the school year.

Midyear this year a new position was added in our school office so I left the classroom and became the Student Support Leader.  I decided to have a conversation with every student. I went in to each of the English classes over a two week period and I spoke of kindness and community.  I gave the presentation 24 times to all 600 students. I discussed DR as an example of a community by sharing the six covenants. That led to a discussion on what we needed to agree upon to be defined as a community of kind learners.

I am part of the leadership team at school.  I have discussed with that group the consensus and power level model.  Having a system in place that allows for input while protecting the need for quick decisions for the good of the community in times of crisis, is imperative.

I took part in several Writing Workshops at Dancing Rabbit and I am signed up for another this August.  Dancing Rabbit provides an ideal setting for the reflection that leads to good writing. Being able to spend five days with others who enjoy words and the craft of writing is wonderful.  I began writing a blog as an outcome of one of the workshops.

The people are what makes Dancing Rabbit special.  Whether they be residents, members, or visitors, the conversations are memorable.  To have an entire community of people who listen, value and hold space for others is unbelievable.  Rabbits, as a whole, are the most genuine and inclusive people with whom I have come in contact.

My favorite memory comes from July 4th during my visitor session.  My daughter always hated fireworks. Personally, I have long been bothered by the noise, the waste and the disruption.  For years, my daughter and I have wondered if you could find anywhere in the U.S. that you didn’t hear or see them on July 4th.  Well, on that day, a couple of us walked to Sandhill for the potluck and about dusk I walked back to DR. As soon as I got back, I walked down to the pond and sat alone in an inner tube.  The only fireworks I saw were stars and fireflies. I texted my daughter later that I finally found a place.”

“I originally visited Dancing Rabbit for a two-week visitor session in 2017. I was there with 16 other people, and I quickly forged new friendships. Quite simply, my experience transformed the way I view the world. I have long been environmentally aware, and mindful of our impact on the world around us, but I learned so much more during my visit to DR. I came back with a list of 67 things to do, not do, or investigate. Moving forward from that experience, I tended to examine the various systems in my life to determine if they are sustainable. I often found myself asking, “What would the rabbits do?” when I was trying to figure out a better way to do something.

I consider myself something of an ambassador. I often refer to my experience as I am going about my life as a teacher and involved citizen. I am told that I light up, talk faster and that I am more animated when I tell of my time at Dancing Rabbit! Quite often I hear, “Tell me more about this place!”

One of the classes I teach is Media Production. For one project, I had the students look at sustainability. I shared an overview of DR, and I talked about some of the systems that Rabbits have put in place to be more sustainable. I created a short example of a video with ten things that I do, such as composting, biking, and collecting rainwater. Afterward, I asked for questions and one student raised her hand and said, “Do you really live like that?” This year, I am organizing a green locker clean-out to minimize the waste that comes at the end of the school year.

Midyear in 2019 a new position was added in our school office, so I left the classroom and became the Student Support Leader. I decided to have a conversation with every student. I went in to each of the English classes over a two-week period and I spoke of kindness and community. I gave the presentation 24 times to all 600 students. I discussed DR as an example of a community by sharing the six covenants, which led to a discussion on what we needed to agree upon to be defined as a community of kind learners.

I am part of the leadership team at school, and I have discussed with that group the consensus and power level model. It is imperative to have a system in place that allows for input, while protecting the need for quick decisions for the good of the community in times of crisis.

I took part in several Writing Workshops at Dancing Rabbit, and I am signed up for another this August. (If you would like to attend as well, call our local B&B, the Milkweed Mercantile, to register for the workshop: (660) 883-5522.) Dancing Rabbit provides an ideal setting for the reflection that leads to good writing. Being able to spend five days with others who enjoy words and the craft of writing is wonderful. I began writing a blog as an outcome of one of the workshops.

The people are what makes Dancing Rabbit special. Whether they be residents, members, or visitors, the conversations are memorable. To have an entire community of people who listen, value and hold space for others is unbelievable. Rabbits, as a whole, are the most genuine and inclusive people with whom I have come in contact.

My favorite memory comes from July 4th, during my visitor session. My daughter always hated fireworks. Personally, I have long been bothered by the noise, the waste and the disruption. For years, my daughter and I have wondered if we could find anywhere in the U.S. that you didn’t hear or see them on July 4th. Well, on that day, a couple of us walked to the nearby community of Sandhill for a potluck meal, and about dusk I walked back to DR. As soon as I returned, I walked down to the pond and sat alone in an inner tube. The only fireworks I saw were stars and fireflies. I later texted my daughter to tell her I had finally found a place.”

If you are craving ways to change your life for the better, and to make a positive impact on the world around you, join us for a two-week visitor session, where you will delve deep into sustainable living.

Deena teaches English and Media Production to grades 7, 8, and 9 at a junior high school in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. She lives on 3.5 acres of land five miles north of the city and five miles from the western shore of Lake Michigan. She is an avid bike commuter, gardener, reader, and sunrise photographer.

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