Willow, Hawina and i drove up Staten Island and are staying at our sister community Ganas today. Every community has different rituals that they use to keep themselves together and to solve logistical or social problems.
At ZEGG in Germany, the central ritual is singing. They learn lots of songs from different languages and they sound quite good. ZEGG also comes together around their self expression tool called Forum. The dark green eco-villlage in Missouri called the Possibility Alliance does a group morning check in and meditation and the service oriented super hero bike rides. At Twin Oaks i would have to say our unifying activity would have to be holidays, there is lots of smaller scale connection around work, but our choices rarely bring us all together (or even half of us) at one time.
Here at Ganas for years it was feedback learning which i experienced when i first came to Ganas some ten years ago in which extremely personal topics are explored in a context which includes people who had just walked in. I always found this both daring and nearly magical. A smaller and less formal version of this continues these days called “planning”. We went to planning this morning where they were nominally talking about pricing at the furniture store. But really they were talking about the relationships between the store managers. But what was amazing about this conversation was that (like a good transparency group) people were talking about their own fears and faults, taking responsibility for their part of the problem as well as making requests of their co-workers. t made me long for such conversation at Twin Oaks.
It is a much smaller things which inspired this post. The Food Chain.
On Tuesday after dinner a van full of food is unloaded. A chain of people crosses the street, goes up the steep Corson Street steps and into one of the 8 residences at Ganas. Members and guests carry food bucket brigade style to the next person in the chain and hands it to them. When i paused at one point a member told me “we always keep moving on the food chain”. The process takes perhaps 20 minutes to move 100 packages and boxes of food the 100 meters from the street to the residence. Perhaps 30 people make many short walks laden with food.
There was (for me at least) quite a little sense of accomplishment in this group task. In part because of the significant volume of food moved. In part because of the inclusive nature in which many participate to solve the problem. It is at the core of community values that many hands make light work.
Other collective rituals include: