Are you a Chubby Squirrel?

Paxus asked me to write a guest blogpost giving impressions of the
pre-conference Chubby Squirrels meeting and the in-conference info
meeting.These are scattered impressions and hardly comprehensive.

Though we weren’t a large group, everyone got a lot out of the main
meeting on Friday. I’m a communes neophyte so I learned a huge amount
in a short time about some of the many, many variables possible in
commune personality and functioning. Some of the more experienced
people who were there told me later that they too felt like they
learned a huge amount.

The most information-dense part of the afternoon was a long brainstorm
about the principles and qualities we’d like to see in Chubby
Squirrels. The qualities and principles that would induce us to join
the founding team and to live there. Off the top of my head, some of
the principles most essential include: income sharing, consensus
decision-making, radical hospitality practice, and a culture of mutual
emotional support, caring, transparency, and warmth.

Also essential: a welcoming place to activists and to single moms and
their kids, and dumpster diving/dumpstered food processing as a
community practice, if not business. We talked about the other
possible business ideas (taking up an Acorn Community seed business
overflow/spinoff and helping to run a conference center), about a free
school for the kids, and had some sillyness thrown in (including
trampolines and rooms with all-mattress floors on our wishlist).

Just letting ourselves dream our dream community was a delight. (I
invite you to try it! and maybe leave your list in the comment boxes.)
I left the meeting refreshed and excited.

The most moving part of the afternoon for me was when we did fluid
sculptures (a playback theater game), led by Abigail. A few people
took turns naming their biggest fears and visions around community
life. And then groups of three took turns enacting these. To a one,
the teller teared up both at the enactment of their fear/past trauma,
and the vision of seeing success and loving support manifested before
them. This is beautiful and cathartic practice. I highly recommend it.

The in-conference meeting was super promising. A really nice turn-out
and lots of genuine enthusiasm, both from prospective Squirrels and
from supporters. The list of principles was pretty universally
embraced (especially dumpstering!) and a few things were added. One
was desire for a community that includes a strong contingent of
artist-activists. (I liked this one a lot.) Another was that the
community offer and encourage some kind of  community-wide
very-ecumenical ‘spiritual’/mindfulness practice (quaker meeting?
silent sitting? singing together?) Nothing mandatory, but part of the
community’s intentions.

The biggest point of contention remains… the name ‘Chubby
Squirrels’. So many pros and cons. Me, I’m a fan of its charm.  Feel
free to weigh in.

Yours in warmth, eye contact, and affection!