Since I committed my life to following the nonviolent teachings of Jesus in 2001, I have wanted to live with other Christians who support each other in following this path. The realization that a loving God would not send people to eternal damnation along with studying Christian Universalism helped me realize that I want to be working with people who share this belief.
I am profoundly grateful to Will Tuttle, author of the World Peace Diet, the folks at Direct Action Everywhere in Berkeley, especially Paul Darwin Picklesimer and the late Michael Smith, and my best friend, Barbara Hulley for their inspiration and example to help me finally realize the importance of freeing all animals from their lives of torture and abuse.
- People are expressing interest. I think the reason that my dream never came together was because I was not conscious of the driving force behind my desire to have a community where we could use our love and intelligence to transform the world in a profound way. I needed to attract people with the same values, and even though I have been vegetarian for 45 years, and vegan for 2 years, I still was not completely devoted to the cause of world peace through animal liberation.
- When I was 21, in 1975, I first heard the term “intentional community” and from that day on I dreamed of living in an intentional community. You can learn about my history with intentional communities in a blog post here.
- I’ve also been looking for my “niche” ever since I decided to travel. I was 18 when I had the revelation that I needed to get out of the cultural indoctrination I was experiencing in college, and 19 when I left on a 13 month trip that helped me see that the only way I could be happy was to serve using my gifts. I have been looking for a cause ever since then.
- I would keep thinking that I would find a cause including sustainability, electing good politicians, being an environmental activist, promoting unschooling and attachment parenting, teaching nonviolent communication, and helping people live more simply. But finally, after 44 years of searching I have found my niche, my cause. It is helping people wake up the devastation that our cruel treatment of animal causes–pyschologically, physically, environmentally, and spiritually.
- Even though I have been a vegetarian for 43 years, and a vegan for two, I still didn’t make the connection that Dr. Will Tuttle makes in his book, World Peace Diet. I was still enmeshed in the culture, brainwashed to think that if I just abstained from eating animal products, I was doing my part. Meeting my friend Barbara, who has the wonderful website http://www.ecofaction.org, and who is one the most compassionate and loving person I have ever met, helped me to see how I had become numb to the plight of animals. When I heard about her long history of having a deep connection with nature and animals, my love for nature and animals was awakened more fully. This is the power of example and of sharing stories.
- Then I met Paul and 4 other people involved with Direct Action Everywhere at at a Kingian Nonviolence workshop. When I spoke to them during lunch and found out they all lived cooperatively with other animal rights activists, I was intrigued. I attended two of their meetups at their new Animal Rights Center, and I was hooked. I am convinced that I have finally found my tribe and my niche. Wow! That’s a lot of blessings!
- For the past 41 years, I have consistently been doing at least one of the following:
- Living in a communities
- Studying about intentional communities
- Visiting communities
- Dreaming about and yearning to live in–a healthy intentional community
- I have never given up on my dream of living in an intentional community after four decades, even after countless failed attempts and disappointments. I understand now that I am not alone, and that even leaders in community living have found disappointments and tragedy in finding the best intentional community. But I think I failed because I was not focused enough about the purpose of the community.
- I used to think that I should not be too specific about the purpose of my community. But now I am feeling hopeful that by being very focused on one cause, that wonderful people will be drawn to come here. You see, when people allow themselves to be vulnerable enough to empathize with the plight of animals, this often translates into them having empathy with humans. Also, activists tend to feel so passionate about their cause that they are willing to work through challenging relational issues because they see a bigger picture. Finally, by having a common diet, this alleviates so many challenges, and promotes our health on all levels.
- I love what the Direct Action Everywhere folks are doing here in Berkeley. They are becoming like a mecca for animal liberation activists, and drawing the best and brightest folks here to live and work together creatively to help one city which has historically been the center of powerful social change movements to be meat free and animal friendly.For the past 42 years–ever since I heard the words “Intentional Community–I have been living in some kind of cooperative living situation, including a number of intentional communities. I have never given up on this dream of either living in or helping to create a community. After being in the Bay Area over 4 months, I am getting ready to return to the Ozarks to the land that my family and I own to build community.