By Suwindi Kadir
In the first week of June 2015, Rory and Suwindi Karina made their way to Slovakia through the incredible Carpathian mountains in to appear as guest speakers at a workshop called Running Small Communities.
This wonderful gathering was funded by Visegrad and invited experts on small communities to share and exchange valuable information.
As the only international, intentional Ecovillage in Poland, we were invited to speak about our community, sustainable living, Homa organic gardening and to perform Agnihotra at sunrise and sunset.
Here is an excerpt from Suwindi Karina’s Community speech:
“There are many reasons why people join or start small communities. And the ones that last the longest and and work best, are the ones that are driven by a core belief that makes them stronger.
My community is non-denominational. We don’t follow one particular religion or set of politics. We are international and have come together with our own religions, opinions, and morals. But we do have a set of strong common beliefs.
We all want to live in harmony with nature. And we also see Nature as a living entity. A force that goes beyond ourselves. We practice non-violence which includes being vegetarian, taking very good care of our animals, and growing our food organically. We use ancient, Vedic farming practices. We try to step lightly on this planet and care for her deeply.
Because we all have this core belief, Ecovillage Bhrugu Aranya is able to accept and understand our individual differences, and move forward through even the toughest of times. A core belief is important to keep community alive. It is a foundation that holds us up and keeps us focussed on our goals.
I feel that for a community to be successful there needs to be a common belief, but not just a political or intellectual ideology, a strong emotional and heart felt belief that goes beyond the mind that drives our direction and goals. You need to love what you are doing. You need to be proud of what you are achieving together.
People form community because most of the time what they need is not provided for in urban or normal settings.
The social benefits are numerous. A strong and supportive functional family is mostly lacking from our lives. The support system of a group of people you can trust with your children and property is rarely found. In the right ecovillage, or small community, a functional family or tribe can be formed. And that group creates a safer place to raise your children. It protects, supports and inspires
Diversity in age groups and different levels of experience all help to teach individuals how to cope and deal with problems.Children in community learn to relate to all different ages of people, and they also learn from a diverse pool of people who can offer their individual gifts and knowledge. Relationships and the family unit have a greater chance at surviving because one has the added resource of a large extended, caring community.
A community forces us to learn how to develop communication skills and resolve conflict. Challenges are met face on and resolved for the good of all.
Every conflict and resolution is a positive step toward moving forward.
Being able to share resources is a wonderful part of being in community.
There are people in our community that work with the bees and do bee keeping. They keep themselves updated with the latest techniques and lovingly take pride in their work.
And the rest of the community benefit with gorgeous homa organic honey!
We have members who are skilled in art, music, building, small business management, psychology, herbal traditional medicine, gardening, hospitality, public speaking, child rearing, horse training and much much more!
We pool all of our skills and help each other whenever and wherever we can. We have all developed an attitude of service to each other as a result of being in a community. Service is such an important ingredient.
There are many motivations for starting a community. Our Ecovillage’s ultimate goal is to be entirely self sustainable. We are not there yet but we have the resources and skills to make our way there. It is a wonderful feeling to be a part of this positive revolution from the grass roots level.
I would encourage those who feel passionately about starting or joining a community to seek out others with similar ideals and goals. This is the time to pioneer a new way of living!
The question is not why do small communities form, but how can we encourage and support more of them?
There are so many of us now who are longing for a new way of life. People are finding it harder and harder to thrive in today’s society.
Forming small communities is like a pro-active protest. By starting or joining forces with a group who have similar ideals to you, and are developing an alternative way to live, you are actively creating a new future. You are not taking down a system or even fighting one. You are creating and nurturing a new world.”