Tag Archives: commune living

LSS: Commune-ity

A friend alternately refers to our family’s house as “The Compound” or “The Commune.”
It’s been a joke for years. She laughs because so often we have people coming in and out or staying for the summer. We like it that way.
When a friend and her daughter recently came to spend a few days with us, I decided there could be a lot to learn from the concept of commune living. Our visiting friend moved from Lafayette to France last fall and knew her way around town. We ate meals together and visited, but she and her daughter were self-sufficient.
Their visit was a thing of beauty and made me reconsider my 1970s image of a commune as little more than a refuge for flower children.
She and I shared responsibility carting our daughters around.
My teenage daughter appreciated the chance to talk with a different adult — and she thinks my friend is much cooler than I am.
If my friend was running late, I could get the kids where they needed to be.
All in all, it was a more pleasant, manageable pace of living than the way we find life taking us all too often. We had each other’s backs.
The concept of having people nearby contributing to daily living is not new. It’s the way the world has operated throughout most of civilization. Why our generation and society is so determined to do it differently is a good question, because every parent I know out there realizes the truth — keeping up with everything we’ve got to keep up with is wearing us down.
And while I realize that most of us won’t take the drastic steps of moving to a commune or intentional community living as they’re called these days, it is interesting to note that The New York Times notes that the style of living that gained popularity in the ’70s is coming into vogue again.
In fact, according to the website of the Fellowship of Intentional Communities, an international organization that serves the growing communities’ movement, every state in the union and a long list of other countries are home to one type or the other of intentional community, defined as an inclusive term for ecovillages, cohousing communities, residential land trusts, communes, student co-ops, urban housing cooperatives, intentional living, alternative communities, cooperative living and other projects where people strive together with a common vision.
According to the website, the U.S. is home to 1,866 of the properties. (However, one of the eight located in Louisiana is a micronation called the Kingdom of Bahoudii, located in Lake Charles and founded by a guy named David Mevis, who crowned himself King David I.) The Bahoudii example illustrates why the concept is considered fanatical, outrageous and extreme. However, before we toss it out as complete lunacy, think about this: the parts of the journey that we’re on that are most fulfilling are the parts in which we’re working with others toward a common vision.
Granted, the commune idea takes that notion a little further and the idea of living on a bona fide commune may not suit the majority of us. Yet, the idea of living in a community comprising people who are striving together with a common vision, is certainly appealing. The reality is that the concept is all around us, but we don’t even notice it — that’s what makes churches places we want to be, that’s what makes the neighborhoods where people want to live and the places where people want to work.