Some friends and I were talking recently about the place of craftwork and cottage industry in our intentional community. I was talking some about my intent behind bringing a weaving business to this place and some of the symbolism involved.
Weaving is a perfect metaphor for an intentional community. Every thread in the weft touches every thread in the warp. These threads are inseparable from each other. They share the strain that's put on the cloth, with no one thread taking more than the others. The reason we put threads together is so that they can work together in a new form called cloth.
And the reason we bring people together is to work together in a new form called community. We come together to be together. Just like with cloth, we need to watch out for influences that would put strain on individuals, that would cut us apart or that would isolate a few of us from the others. The question we need to be asking ourselves is this: "would the item/action/behavior in question bring the community closer together?" If not, we should reject it or, at the very least, be wary of embracing it.
The thing that gives me energy for my day-to-day work is a greater vision. I am focused on an intentional community of nature-loving craftsmen where everyone takes part in the work that supports us all. Everyone is doing the additional work that it takes to strengthen themselves individually and to remain woven in with the others. My drive comes from focusing on something bigger than myself and putting substantial energy every day toward its creation.
The rest of my energy goes into supporting the people and the place where I am now. Who would believe me if I said I didn't have energy for community until the community was exactly how I wanted it?
Actually, I don't expect to ever see a community that's exactly what I want, and I'm glad for that! At its core, community is about shared vision and there are many people in my life with better ideas than mine about how to create it. Yay, diversity!