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Community Observations Recurring Epiphanies

Manifesto To My Peeps

I love this place, and all of you.
I love lazy mornings in bed with Bob, and I love my job keeping an eye on things at The Plant.
I love walking in Tami and Lyle’s woods, and over to your houses for meetings and parties.
I love potluck, when we all bring something to the table, and laugh, and hug, and tell stories.

I love that we share so many of the same values.
I love how you acknowledge my strengths, and accept my shortcomings.
I love how we pull together when tragedy strikes.
I love how strong we look from the outside, and how tender we are on the inside.

I love when snow and ice have us all walking, often ending up at the same house for tea and cocoa.
I love looking at our footprints in the snow the next day.

I love the call of barred owl and coyote, the hawks, the jays, and the crows.
I love our collective voice in song.

I believe that heaven and hell are what we make of our lives, or are born into.
I’m incredibly lucky to have been born a white American woman in the age of birth control and internal combustion engines.
I’ve had the freedom to craft whatever the hell I wanted out of my existence on earth.
I can go where I want, eat as much as I like, work as little as I choose, and have the freedom to read whatever I like, and to write, and speak freely.

I believe honest work is the surest path to general well-being.
I believe that getting up each morning with a sense of purpose makes me shine with positive energy and good health.

I believe drama comes with the human package, and that, sometimes, gossip helps define problems and promote solutions.
I believe gossip can do a lot of damage.
I believe actions speak louder than words, but there are times when we have an obligation to speak our minds.

I believe we are all working on being the best we can be, and doing the best with what we have.
I believe in live and let live; in paddling my own canoe.
I believe in stepping aside to let others find their way because free advice is worth what you pay for it, and often ignored.

I believe in greeting everyone with as open a heart as possible, even strangers, and in the magic words, “please”, and “thank you”.
I believe I never know when I’m about to meet my next best friend.
I believe in following my heart, and I believe my heart led me to be here with all of you.
I believe in honoring time-tested relationships with loyalty.

I believe everything comes with a price, that every path chosen is a path not taken; that it’s never too late to turn back; and that “re-dos” are a first-world luxury.

I believe in grassroots movements, in bottom’s up change, and I’m indebted to the honest people working on legislation to make things better for the 99%.

I believe complex organisms, like our village here, rarely look as good on the inside as they do from the outside, and that we owe it to ourselves to see, through the eyes of our beholders, the beautiful safety net we’ve woven from our individual strengths and skills.

I believe we have nothing to fear, but fear itself.

I believe commitment is the glue that keeps us together, that communication is essential for keeping us on track, and that fun is the fuel that keeps us moving forward.

I commit to love over fear, to slow over fast, to mindfulness, and to savoring every bite of this rich life.
I commit to finding the happy medium between affluence and poverty.
I strive to live by my values, knowing full well that I leave a bigger-than-average ecological footprint because I was lucky enough to be born in the post-industrialized United States of America.

I’ve heard it called voluntary simplicity. To me that means; do a little less, spend less, eat less, sleep more, cook most of my meals, grow some of my food, leave the car at home for a day here and there, shut down my browser, and wander around the neighborhood, taking time to stop and chat.

I commit to being less judgmental; and more accepting, respectful, and supportive.

Our community, born of privilege, intention, and hard work is a priceless gem – polished on the outside, a work in progress on the inside, an enviable privilege, and a sacred responsibility.

We live in the perfect time and place to enjoy the fruits of a simple life.

We each contribute to the perfect whole of this community.

We need each other to be strong, whole, and complete.

Note: Once a month, Bob and I meet the neighbors in a clearing in the woods to share joys and concerns, sing, and read inspirational material. I prepared this manifesto for this purpose, and read it on October 29, 2017.

By Camille Armantrout

Camille lives with her soul mate Bob in the back woods of central North Carolina where she hikes, gardens, cooks, and writes.

4 replies on “Manifesto To My Peeps”

Love this post! Your community does indeed look magical. So glad to be a satellite! I’m trying to do this too: “I’ve heard it called voluntary simplicity. To me that means; do a little less, spend less, eat less, sleep more, cook most of my meals, grow some of my food, leave the car at home for a day here and there, shut down my browser, and wander around the neighborhood, taking time to stop and chat.” I walked to the store yesterday and enjoyed two conversations with neighbors and one with a cashier I’ve come to know. Travel has its merits but so does staying in place.

I’m always amazed at how much more time I seem to have when I walk. Seems counter-intuitive, but I’ve noticed I feel rushed when I drive, as if that speedy arrival didn’t save me any time at all.

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