Is Community Living For You?

June 29th, 2010 by Jennifer Grainger

On Sunday, June 27, 2010 I made a presentation on Community Living to a small group of Pioneering Souls who gathered in my home. We decided we wanted to continue to meet to start creating a closer knit community among ourselves. I also see us as a welcoming hub for anyone seeking to grow personally and spiritually who wants to explore community living in whatever form best fulfills their heart and soul’s desires.

If you’d like to receive notices of activities like Game Night, Karaoke Night and whatever other fun, community-building things we come up with, go to http://www.SpiritualGrowthCommunity.com/events and click on the link to register to be on the email list.

What follows is the general overview of the multi-dimensional arena of community living and a listing of resources for further investigation that I presented to the group. Once you begin exploring the concept of community living you find the choices to be beyond what you ever could have imagined!

There are two broad categories of community living: cohousing and communal

Cohousing is more for people who want to have their own private living space, (house, apartment, condo) while also sharing common facilities and participating in neighborly connections. The economics of a Cohousing community is similar to living on your own. Your income is yours, and so is your mortgage. The community may share some resources like cars or tools, and they share community activities, but each person is responsible for their own livelihood and their financial contribution to the shared facilities and activities. It is usually less expensive than living on your own, but it is not usually substantially less than living on your own. The main objective is the value of community.

Communal Living covers a continuum of financial arrangements that range from 100% income and chore sharing, to a core group of people who run the place and rent out rooms to people who want to have the advantages of communal living without the responsibility of chore-sharing or the burden of income sharing, the advantage being lower living costs.

As you explore different communities you will find that each community develops their own system that works for their members.

Within these two broad categories are more narrowly defined categories:

Ecovillages are generally communities with a strong ecological focus.

Co-ops are generally communities that are expense sharing, often urban, shared housing communities. Many are focused on college students.

Off the Grid generally on land purchased by the community with the intention of being self sustaining.

Organizational structures include:

•Guru Directed
Example: Ananda Village, Nevada City, CA  www.ExpandingLight.org

Organizational, Top Down, Majority Rules
Example: Omega Institute for Holistic Studies  http://eOmega.org

•Consensus Based where everyone must approve a change before it is made.
Example: Morehouse www.LafayetteMorehouse.com

Visions of Utopia is a 2 volume DVD produced by, and available from, Fellowship for Intentional Community  www.ic.org

Volume I – 94 minutes
Gives an overview of 2500 years of shared living, and insights about what works and what doesn’t. Includes interviews of 7 communities

Volume II – 124 minutes
Consists of interviews with 11 communities

(So far) this is my vision of my ideal intentional community:

A community of pioneering souls on a path of conscious evolution that embraces diversity of people, customs and view points. What we have in common is a desire to transcend ego and victim consciousness. We recognize ourselves as co-creators of our lives. We value transparency, authenticity, integrity, accountability, allowing, and tend to focus on what is working and making it better, while letting what is not working dissolve from lack of attention.

We value humor, fun, and the full range of being human, including our sexuality in whatever form consenting adults find pleasurable that does not negatively impact non-consenting adults.

As I explore various communities these are some of the features I’ve encountered that I want in my community:

1. Consensus based. Nothing happens unless everyone agrees. The philosophy behind this is that in a small community, having even a few disgruntled people diminishes the happiness of everybody. My (admittedly untested) philosophy is that it is possible for everyone’s needs to be met, and no one has to sacrifice something important to them, as long as having everyone’s needs met is held as a desirable community value, and that every interested party is willing to keep thinking outside the box until an acceptable solution is reached. (Notice I said everyone’s needs can be met, not necessarily everyone’s wants, which is an important distinction.)

2. Living joyfully is important. No matter the task at hand, I’d like an underlying focus of “how much joy can we experience in accomplishing this task?” be part of the equation.

3. I am inspired by Lafayette More House community whose only rule is “don’t do anything you don’t want to do.” I’d like our community to agree that if one cannot give a whole-hearted “yes” to a request, they have the courage to say “no” rather than perform with resentment.

4. My ideal community supports a high-level of clear, non-judgmental communication skills. I like the Non-Violent Communication guidelines put forth by Marshall Rosenberg as a possible communication blueprint. It fosters a partnership approach to relationships as opposed to hierarchical relationships based on reward and punishment.

It is my opinion that we are in the midst of an evolutionary leap and the current economic situation marks and end of an era, rather than a recession from which we will recover. Most of the jobs that have left this country are not coming back. This is our opportunity to shape a new way of living that nourishes our hearts and souls and lets every person contribute according to what they passionately love to do. No more wage slave jobs to earn money to buy distractions to numb the heartache that comes from doing soul-sucking work eight or more hours a day, five or more days a week!

Besides, Earth’s resources are dwindling as population grows. Conserving and sharing resources is inevitable. History has shown that large populations of “have-nots” lead to revolution!

Once examined closely, the benefits of community living become, not only apparent, but desirable . . . imagine a community of people who love and care about you, who share your values, who need the gifts you have to share, and share their gifts with you that fulfills your needs.

Our task is to evolve in consciousness to the understanding that, at essence, we are all one, and what we do to others, we do to ourselves, and we darn well better learn how to get along!

Jennifer Recommends
Better Off, by Eric Brende  —  This book takes a look at the “simple life.” The question is posed “what is the least we need to achieve the most?” The answer will delight and entertain you. This book will cause you to seriously reconsider what you currently think of as “the good life.”

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, by Barbara Kingsolver  —  The author and her family abandoned the industrial-food pipeline to live a rural life—vowing that, for one year, they’d only buy food raised in their own neighborhood, grow it themselves, or learn to live without it. Part memoir, part journalistic investigation, this book will open your eyes in a hundred new ways to an old truth: You are what you eat.

Quote

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”
Eleanor Roosevelt

What are your thoughts on community living? I would love to have you leave a comment below!

Thanks.

Love and light,

Jennifer

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Don’t Be a Rat!

June 23rd, 2010 by Jennifer Grainger

I read about an experiment in which a group of lab rats were born into “rat hell”. They received random electric shocks. The food was unappetizing and the supply was unreliable. They were overcrowded, and room service was terrible. OK, just kidding. They didn’t have room service. Suffice it to say their living conditions were miserable.

When the rats matured they were transferred to a nearby environment which had been designed as “rat heaven”. Beautiful, peaceful environment, great food whenever they want it, comfortable temperature, soft music, fine wine, Cuban cigars (OK not the wine and cigars, I am just painting a picture here).

Would you be surprised to learn, that given the choice, the rats chose to return to rat hell?

I know people are not rats, but there might be some correlation that would explain why so many people willingly tolerate suffering in their lives. Bad marriages. Crappy jobs. Ill health. Their mantra that supports this suffering? “That’s just the way it is.”

Really . . . what a load of baloney! But then, that is the American culture to suck it up and do what is expected. If we complain we are told “life is hard, it is no picnic, and you just gotta do what you gotta do, whether you like it or not, otherwise we will call you selfish and label you a bad person and tell you that you ought to be ashamed of yourself!” (Or was that only me who was programmed that way?)

It’s easy to look with dismay, judgment and sometimes horror, at someone from another culture living up to a value we consider barbaric. A father suspending his young son by his thumbs as punishment for a misdeed. A mother and aunt of a 12 year old girl performing female genital mutilation on her so she will be an acceptable bride. A father, to preserve the honor of the family, killing his daughter because she kissed a boy.

Yet we willingly mutilate and punish our own hearts and souls so we can live up to our cultural beliefs about what makes a “good person”.

How did we ever buy into that, when the truth is life is intended to be Joyful and struggle-free?

Who knows? And, really, it doesn’t matter why we bought into it. The only thing that matters now is that we extricate ourselves from our unconscious, programmed conditioning and start living On Purpose as our Authentic Selves.

My first response in 1989, when my spiritual teacher, Judy Reis, encouraged me to follow my heart was, “You gotta be kidding! If I just did what I wanted to do, my life would fall apart!”

It would be laughable, if it weren’t so sad, that my first reaction to freedom from “rat hell” was resistance!

Fortunately, I was so mesmerized by Judy’s unconditionally loving heart and her ability to see and know things that I couldn’t see or know at that time, that I started letting my heart have a little say-so in my life every now and then.

Guess what? Nothing bad happened! In fact, my life kept getting better and better.

It has taken twenty plus years of expanding my awareness and building my consciousness to really get the hang of operating from my higher mind, and trusting my natural knowingness of what is right for me.

The children born today are already wired to operate from their higher mind. They are not so easily programmed to “adapt” to the culture they were born into. Most know “rat hell” when they see it, and they are not buying it!

Those of us who have been around a while will need to consciously make the choice to wake up to the reality that we are living in the midst of an evolutionary leap designed to create heaven on earth.

We either recognize our programming, which usually shows up as fear, and transcend it, or stay unconscious and go extinct.

BOTTOM LINE: Don’t be a rat! Wake up and know life is intended to be Joyful and struggle-free. If yours is not, you are not in alignment with who you truly are, and you need to begin making the changes you know you need to make!

TIP: Our unconscious self (ego) will resist every effort to change. Get support in making the changes you know you need to make. Read books, take classes, hire a spiritual growth coach, join or create a group of people consciously on a path of spiritual growth. Settle for nothing less than creating a life that is Joyful, struggle-free and full of FUN!

P.S. In order to transcend fear, you first have to acknowledge it. The next step is to sincerely ask “what do I need to change?” and then follow your guidance in taking just the next step. I like Jack Canfield’s analogy of driving at night with only the few feet ahead of you in the light. You can have the same confidence in your spiritual journey. All you really need to see is your next step. Take it and the next step will come into view.

Are you getting close to the “last straw” in some area of your life? If you feel trapped and like you have no choice, look for just one tiny step that can take you in the direction of what you want for yourself? (Notice I didn’t say take a step away from what you don’t want! A subtle, but significant difference.)

Please enter your comments below. I’d love to hear from you.

Posted in evolution of humanity, expanding consciousness | 1 Comment »

the new money system

June 9th, 2010 by Jennifer Grainger

In my continuing research on communal/community living I stumbled across a plethora of sites on creating alternative currencies. I loved this phrase: “today’s economy is not in a recession, it is an end of an era.” Amen to that.

To learn more about what’s coming up in new currencies check out these websites: www.flowplace.org (it is a French site, so first click on English, then click 10 droplets), www.symbionomics.com, www.metacurrency.org.

This evolution of humanity is definitely in the birth canal. (The labor pains are a bit much, I must admit! haha)

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Sink or Swim

June 9th, 2010 by Jennifer Grainger

Let me fill you in on why I missed the publication date for the last newsletter. (You did miss it, right?) For the whole week leading up to the publication deadline I was in the midst of making my way through another labor spasm of birthing into becoming a 5th dimensional being. It was one of those experiences of “what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger!”

I just couldn’t get a newsletter together. I felt like I was drowning. Since what I teach is “how to surf the chaos and navigate the flow” during this evolutionary transition of humanity, it was a humbling experience. Fortunately I am back on the surfboard again, and I want to share just one of the amazing experiences.

The recurring theme that was up big time for me (and appears to be fully released now) is “no matter what I do, it is never good enough.” During one of the emotional clearings triggered by a perceived criticism that I wasn’t measuring up to the other’s expectations, I had a very strong desire for a cigarette! Well, I haven’t smoked for over 30 years. That told me that the emotional energy being released was at least 30 years old, and could possibly have gone back to as early as when I started smoking at the age of 15. (If you’d like more information on how unresolved emotional energy gets stuck in the body, read The Molecules of Emotion, by Candace Pert.)

Anyway, I feel so fortunate to know that these emotional clearings are “blessings in disguise” otherwise I would think I was totally losing it!  These clearings are being triggered by the higher, finer frequencies impulsing humanity to evolve into our next level of complexity (5th dimensional awareness).

As I have written before, this is a “shift or die” time in human history. We either wake up and make our conscious connection to our Source, and realize the oneness of all of life on earth . .  . that what we do to others we do to ourselves . . . or we will destroy our habitat and go extinct.

Whatever your spiritual practice(s), this is the time to draw upon them to make it through this birthing. (The labor pains are hell, I know!). For me it is journaling and running my Light Body energies. I also took the Memorial Day weekend to work through the Light Body consciousness material to expand my ability to see beyond the illusion of 3rd dimensional “reality,” and to “work the energy” of situations rather than meet them head on and tangle with them in the illusion of 3rd dimensional reality.

When all else fails I anchor myself in my belief that everything that happens TO me is happening FOR me. If it weren’t for my highest good, it wouldn’t be happening. Do I KNOW without a doubt that this belief is true?

No.

But since I am free to believe anything I want, I choose beliefs that make me feel good . . . I mean, really . . . why choose beliefs that would make me feel BAD?!

Here is a powerful affirmation from the book, Spiritual Economics, by Eric Butterworth that was  one of my lifelines:

“I know that this is the best thing that could have happened to me, for I know that in the happening there is revealed a new lesson to learn and some new growth to experience. I know that within me is an unborn possibility of limitless potentialities, and this is my opportunity to begin to give birth to new ideas, new strength, and new vision. I accept the reality of the difficulty, but not its permanence. I am not at the end of anything. I am simply between opportunities. I know that life is in constant flow and something wonderful is on its way to me far surpassing anything I have ever known before.”

BOTTOM LINE: So there you have it, pioneering souls, this birthing is a b**ch, and there is no turning back. So we may as well carry on with as much Joy and fun as we can muster. When you find yourself in struggle, just STOP and grab your nearest spiritual tool or skill and start working it. If that one fails, grab another one. Keep at it until you have moved through it. When all else fails . . . BREATHE!

TIP: When you find yourself emotionally overwrought over an issue, you can be sure there is an unhealed emotional trauma at the root of it. Ask yourself, “when have I felt like this before?” Keep asking until you connect back with the original event and can look it square in the face. Once this is brought into the light you have a chance to heal it.

P.S. This healing work can be quite intense at times. Be sure to seek help from a spiritual practitioner when you get overwhelmed. There are no extra points for choosing to do it the hard way! Whoever said that it was lazy or wimpy to take the path of least resistance was an idiot. (Just my opinion, of course.)

Is your life resembling a roller coaster ride, too? What is your take on what’s happening that is creating this? I’d love to hear from you.

Posted in evolution of humanity | 2 Comments »

Otmon says . . .

June 3rd, 2010 by Jennifer Grainger

At my Wednesday night Gathering for Pioneering Souls, my guide, Otmon gave us some good advice that I thought I’d pass on to you. He said that any place in our life that we felt at the effect of someone or something (meaning feeling oppressed or like we had no choice) that was a symptom that we have given our power away in that situation.

The solution, he said,  is to simply decide to take your power back. You don’t even have to know how to do that. Just decide and then ask your Higher Power for assistance, and you will be shown the way, step by step. 

He also said that in this time of great change it was imperative that we make changes in the direction of what we want to create rather than making changes to get away from something we don’t want. He said whatever our focus we will create more of, so if we are making a change to get away from an unpleasant situation we will simply recreate it in some other form. Better to get clear or what you DO want and take steps, no matter how small, in that direction.

This is a powerful time in history to be launching new projects. Everything is in flux and we have the best possible chance to shape how things settle out. Great time to dust off you dream and get crackin’

Love and light,

Jennifer

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The Gift of Quiet Time

June 1st, 2010 by Jennifer Grainger

I had a lot of things I could have, and should have, done during the Memorial Day Weekend. For one, I’m on a mission to clear out the spare bedroom in my home to make room for someone (or a couple) to share my home as a way of exploring living in community, because I am seeing that living in community and sharing resources will be the only way humanity can survive.

Those of you who remember the communes of the 60s know most of them didn’t last very long, but we have learned alot about human psychology since then, and for those who want to learn how to live pleasurably and comfortably with a diversity of people, there is plenty of education available, and I have become a student.

So, anyway . . . I “should have been” clearing the clutter, but instead, early Saturday I was drawn to download an advanced Light Body course called Exploring Connections with Light Body Consciousness,  and I spent most of Sunday and all day Monday listening to the meditations.

While I am extremely grateful that I have the space to do that, I am also grateful that I trust my guidance enough to do as I was guided, instead of what I “should do.”

The result was that I woke up this morning feeling like today was a new beginning. I felt refreshed, renewed, rejuvenated and energetic to get on with the tasks that had previously been a burdened to-do list.

I hope this encourages you to follow your yearning for quiet time when it arises. These are whispers from your heart and soul, which when honored, struggle ceases, and joy abounds!

Love and light,

Jennifer

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