I think the concept "Train Station Effect" is a good one, I'm going to add that to my vocabulary.
I would hate to live like that. That's why I'm not in a community, so I'm not a good data point for this thread.
For what it's worth to others reading it though: I have a public face, and a private face. And the public face is very hard to maintain sometimes, and my private face is not something I want to have people seeing. When I'm up and into it, I'd love the big meals, and I'd always love cooking them, but wouldn't want to have to see people every day. It's just too much effort. And dropping my public face opens me up to too much input I can't cope with. I'm not an introvert, I'm more very scared of being hurt, yet again.
I do not think that there is anything at all wrong with the woman from Lost Valley who left. Our lives are endless phases of learning something....about ourselves, about others. No phase is to be more important than another. More important, phases are just that......phases. If we spend our lives in a stagnant consciousness, unwilling to leave a phase out of fear...we become just like that stagnant lake which has no ingress and no egress. She may not understand why she no longer wants to be there....perhaps...if she continues to "know Thyself", she will look back and know, see, indicators or phases that ended and know why they did....and she will smile...knowing she heeded that inner voice. With this brings stillness...one is happy not to fill up the space with useless chatter.
As one who has spent many many years on this planet, I have gone thru endless phases...some I left willingly...some I left not of my own will...but screaming and kicking. Looking back down the road....I never left that I shouldn't have left. All those new open doors led me to better, more happier places that I was now ready to experience.
One of the greatest things I learned...finally...was that my beginning desires; that I tried to run away from....were the true nature of my being. I spent a lot of my life trying to fit in to society's rules, their concepts and it was not my way, never was. But yet I spent endless decades thinking something was wrong with me, felt guilty that I did not want what everyone else seemed to want. I was judging myself harshly.
I finally stopped trying to fit my square peg in their round hole. I live without other humans in my immediate space. I am happy, peaceful and joyous for each day. I often communicate on the web but for the most part I go long periods without physically talking or being with others. I like people. I am not introverted....but I desire to pick and choose when and who I will spend time with.
When I do go out into their world I try to listen rather than talk for that is what people seem to need the most now....everyone is talking and no one is listening. So in a way I think of being here at my property as a charging time. I am charging myself up so that when I do go out to be with others that I give what I have, who I am, silently...while listening to others talk of their toils and troubles. I rarely give advice. You would be surprised to know of the hundreds of times that someone has said "thank you for listening. You seem so calm, so happy". They may not say anything else but we both know I gave the gift and they received.
I truly wish the word introvert would be tossed in the fire where it belongs. It is a word that contains no concept of the silent people we are. This woman from Lost Valley....she heeded the inner voice. She will find her way and it may not be the ways of others....but her own unique path.
“Myself, if I had a place that I wanted to improve, I would never go interviewing the people that were leaving another place anyway. I would be more concerned with the positive, then the negative.”
I once watched a very successful company fall apart because management was not concerned with the negative. People were leaving and nobody asked why. Had they done a few exit interviews, management would have learned of a host of internal problems before critical mass caused the business to fail. But they were immersed in only the ‘positive’ and had no interest in problems that could have been addressed. In the end they were calling people and begging them to come back.
Information is the most valuable asset in any endeavor- a business, a farm, a family, a community. Finding out what doesn’t work, even in a different place unconnected to your own, can be valuable in avoiding the same mistakes. The alternative can mean learning ‘the hard way’.
When I was young, intentional communities were called communes. I never knew of one that succeeded long term. Different personalities, different visions, different goals (or approaches to those goals) lead to disharmony. Short term ‘internships’ work because people stay long enough to get what they want from the experience without getting burned out from the oppressive nature of communal living. I would never want to feel my option for eating in solitude was to heat soup over a candle! Some humans thrive on chaos, most don’t. People need space, some more than others, to recharge.
About a decade ago there was a local visionary who bought 50 acres to create an intentional community. It was promoted heavily. He is still trying to sell memberships. These things don’t work unless everyone is very attuned, and even then, most people change over time, and may not want what they did in the past.
Unless all the members are intent on a common goal, and happy giving over their lives to support that goal, it won’t work. Or, people stay but are unhappy.
That is also the flaw of worrying about what your friends and family think about you. That is no more a measure of success than what strangers think. I love my family, but have no desire for them to think I’m ‘cool’. I am my own person, and expect the same from family, friends and strangers. Be your own person, be a good person, and then your life succeeds. Needing to be ‘cool’ is ego. I know many families where one of the partners is under the illusion that they are loved, when in fact the other feels ‘stuck’ for whatever reason. Sometimes this is due to a woman not having the courage to be a single mother (or a man to be a single father) or because a religion says it is wrong to leave the situation, or because a person worries they will be considered a failure if they don’t struggle to make something work, and they swallow their self esteem and live a life of silent regret. This is the ultimate sadness, because we only get one life, and it’s relatively short.
I don’t think the woman Paul interviewed needed mental help at all. Perhaps just the opposite- she was strong enough to know when something wasn’t working, and made the decision to be her own person and move on. And I also don’t see anything wrong with someone trying different things all their life, moving to different places, having as many experiences as possible. Not everyone chooses to plant themselves in one spot for a lifetime. We all dream differently, and that needs to be acknowledged and respected. Maybe the people who see that as ‘odd’ are in fact envious of those who dare to chart a seemingly rebellious course?
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