---> Crossing a threshold
Okay, it seems to be time. Tides are rising. You're feeling the pull. The inner Yes. Packed and prepared. Notice given. Boom! The other shoe drops, and you're on the road to find out.
Remixing some metaphors: What will it take to float your boat from shore, and where will it come back to land? Who awaits you there? Who's on board with you know, and what kind of music in the air? Can you pick out a few stars above? Connect the dots?
Congratulations! The story just got a lot more interesting. Take good notes and a few fetching photos. You're going to make it, and inquiring minds will want to know how.
One more time before casting off for good, dip into the big or little Why of this adventure. When you look back here in hindsight somewhere ahead, what message did you give your present self? Write something down, a symbolic waypoint, expect it to shift and shimmy. Raise a simple, honest flag--keep an eye on it. Thank your ancestors, wink at your descendants, pinch yourself. And we're off.
Who will ever know what the reasons are that it came to this; that the sum total of human knowledge stagnated, quenched the burning ember of wisdom, and brought us all to the brink of destruction. That's for another story, another time. Stay focused on the crossing ahead. Wind is picking up, and it's not clear where to land. Signs of hostile hordes along these bluffs.
Where are you going? How will you know when arrived? Will they speak your language? Have the beginnings of a good story ready that anyone could understand and relate to, including grandma when she calls or the cranky neighbor you have to call on for help in a plumbing emergency.
What's just begun is a magnificent initiative, for all the right reasons. Let's ground them.
jump back to >>> Metamotivation
There's a lot to pay attention to, especially as you're looking for someplace to invest yourself and forge lasting relationship. Some of those signals and sensitivies take time and practice to develop, but anyone can set out here with a good set of basic tools and skills to help read the many more or less subtle landscapes that we move through in life. So what are you looking for? How will you know? Making a list and checking it twice?
Finding the place to be and do as you wish, in a way that connects and compounds the impassioned work of like-minded peers, addressing clear needs in the surrounding environment without becoming caught up by obstacles or letting go of too much that's important to you - look close and keep feeling it out as you go. There's no right answer. Sometimes the opportunity arises more or less spontaneously, sometimes that apparent stroke of luck is a tempting trick of fate.
Go with instinct, follow beauty, grab that chance, plan just enough in advance....
Keep in mind that the aim here is to engage with a thriving network of resources, opportunities, connections - and to navigate more agilely and deftly as a result. It's not an in/out all/nothing scenario. Find out how to begin, and allow the journey to unfold. Expect that new opportunities will arise, be prepared to meet them if you wish.
One of the biggest obstacles to launching a full-fledged, long term intentional community development project has been the acquisition of suitable land rights. In the mindset of inhabitants, that needn't be the case. There are many models and means of gaining access [link to land access section] to and usage of good land that will support communal living and livelihoods. Find the one that works, start simple.
As to the question of Where, exactly, as it does surely matter, several things to consider:
- climate: present and future, in all senses
- ecology: biological integrity, diversity, history, and utility
- economy: past, present, future; opportunities and capacity, support systems, resilience
- transportation: current infrastructure and realistic alternative modes
- politics: atmosphere and trends, openness, inertia etc
- population patterns: density, centers, clustering, transport, open space / wilds
- entertainment: how to have a good time, make friends, and influence people!
- safety: inventory of objective hazards; basic levels of security and stability
- land value: what's it going to cost, how will it appreciate
- aesthetics: how's it look and feel to be there
- ties, roots, legacy: what's it mean to you
There's many dimensions to consider. The map below pinpoints several pivotal transition regions within the US with promising characteristics and/or existing networks and initiatives. This needs more research, fine tuning, updates, and of course expansion to the wider world, but it's a start. Want to help?
There's a lot to be said for focusing attention in more progressive regions to help establish strong networks and begin to shift larger cultural fields with critical mass. At the same time, it's important in the long run to branch out and break ground in appealing if challenging/uncertain circumstance, making things easier for those to follow.
Could this play out bioregionally, redrawing patterns of settlement and commerce to fit the contours of the landscape itself? Certainly one set of guidelines to clue into there.
What kind of archetypal role do you want to play in the Shift Script? How big of an impact (or efflorescence) are you ready for?
Gather up at least half an idea what you're getting into, what you're setting out to test and achieve in the short term. Divvy into primary and secondary objectives. Choose a high end and a low end of the scale for possible/likely outcomes on each. What's it look like, if you put it together in an image, a depiction of your vision for reasonable success? Doesn't all have to fit in one frame.
Co-creating regenerative habitat is a fine art, developed through years of practice and study. Start small, go for little wins. Those early milestones and rewards are precious, and will help to feed the fires for longer duration work at larger and larger scales.
Creating an atmosphere of achievement - as well as honoring and acknowledging all that goes into that - helps create an attractor for much more positive energy, support, and participation. All good things, if you're ready for them. Be ready! Expect success, embrace failures (learn from them), and spread good will. In spite of the weather. Ensure your companions do the same.
If you want to go far, go together. Or, maybe train hard for ultra-marathons?
You may be ready to jump into something, and even have your sights set on what and where that may be, while still short of a quorum of colleagues. Question is, can you rely on a "build it and they will come" approach, or focus on forging strong collaborative connections first, wherever/whenever those may arise?
While an outstanding development opportunity may catch and hold your attention, entering into it with established relationships can be a tremendous asset. Better yet is the chance of support and guidance from a well developed local network and/or host site, perhaps an incubator, to help get things growing.
Team building isn't really shortcut-able. It's a mutual learning process, that takes time to discover natural roles, capabilities, and inclinations. Your team will probably cluster together in some areas, and be complementary in others. Set down some explicit agreements, including how to amend. Build an onramp for new contributors. Understand and embody the archetypes of a potent co-creative alliance.
Finally, the word "team" is a bit loaded and antiquated - giving the sense of binary in/out boundary, when in reality the 'social organisms' we speak of are multifaceted and polymorphic. What we're talking about here is the core group of collaborators who are committed to getting something new up and running together. It's tempting to use the word "founders" but the future implications of that kind of thinking and wording are problematic [link]
jump to >>> Altenative Constructs
What is actually going to hold things together as you come to ground and engage the work? Container here may mean a few things. It is most generally a vehicle for safe transport. It's a bounded space in which to operate under certain assumptions or agreements, in a state of trust. In some sense, this is the organizational form adopted for your undertaking. It need not be a formalized entity, such as an org or biz. It is a way for participants to merge or subsume individual identity to that of a larger being or collective. It could take the shape of a household, or an online project management platform.
It's something that will evolve over time, but a lot can be determined (for better and worse) by the initial form and structure as things are just beginning to develop.
jump to: WDO, culture map
After your initial strategy has been thoroughly digested and excreted by your newfound cultural field, unpack for another look.
This is not going to be an A to B to C straight line journey. Strategy may not be the right word to employ. Roadmap is a little better, because it allows that there may be multiple routes to choose from, and a variety of features and shifting terrain along the way. A plan is merely a reference document that connects some dots between where you see yourself presently and where you'd like to be. It's a step or three beyond holding the intention of going that way, and a measure of faith in making it work.
Strategizing, and then implementing and adapting, takes some mental horsepower. Not all fun, easier for some. You can approach as a game of chess, or an interpretive dance. Do approach. Create a roadmap or asset map or both: key elements of assets, entities, actions, objectives
Startup life is tricky and fun. There's a wide assortment of established business models to consider employing and stacking functions. Look at sequencing and staging development, as various systems, resources, and capacities come online within each node.
Remember, infinite games are meant to grow and evolve. Practice acknowledging the little steps and contributions.
Here's a roadmap template that might get the wheels turning: [link]
jump to >>> Weaving Together
Physics isn't too far off sometimes. Force required to get a new project off the ground is proportional to it's size and rate of growth. Capital is a form of wealth that is readily leveraged--applying force--to help you reach your goals in a straight line progress kind of way. But that's just a first, blunt approximation. You may not have much of the stuff directly at your disposal. There are many ways to play the field and tap into other kinds of latent or potential energy, other forces or resources that are aligned and available, including good old hard work.
The trick is to apply that energy/force wisely, and regeneratively, so that it builds up a reservoir for future applications. This goes beyond simple business planning. We're thinking in systems here. What kinds of value might accrue to your efforts over time? What 'flows' might you tap into or cultivate to help bolster overall capacity, throughout the system(s) you're operating in? What types of 'natural' capital will your work generate or restore, and how does this lend support in perhaps indirect ways?
Obtaining an initial reserve or line of credit can seem daunting, especially for youth and others with limited access or track record with such things. Look for creative solutions, and leverage the essence of your intent. Draw out a diagram of exactly where you want to apply these resources. Maintain transparency throughout. Help others to see the systems view. Help them enjoy it.
Yes! Find the others. Start to build out a network map of relationships that will play a part in the development of your narrative. There's a balance and rhythm to different styles of engagement. Sometimes you push, put things in front of people, spread enthusiasm, and sometimes you pull, draw in the ones who can sense that something new and interesting is going on. Certainly doesn't have to be all things to all people all at once. Gentle nudges, playful tugs. Put together a public interface of some sort early on, digital physical or both. It's important that people can reach you reliably when moved to do so. In some cases you might be in 'stealth mode' initially, for whatever reasons, but that doesn't prevent some kind of judicious broadcast and receptivity. Don't set yourself up to be seen as an enemy, a threat, an unknown off the bat, even if some people inevitably view what you're up to in that light. Don't hide what you don't have to; lean towards trust and generosity. It sets a tone that will favor future fondness.
If you set out into truly hostile territory, mounting a guerilla campaign of sorts, well good luck. That's a different gameplan. The model of Inhabit presupposes that you find or create favorable circumstances for healthy new community and enterprise to take root, and expand on that opportunity for future denizens in this vein. If you do not find yourself making any early allies, take a close look at your self, your operation, and your surroundings. Adapt, or transplant if needed. Find some other others.
As things proceed and a level of stability and productivity are achieved, more elaborate infrastructure / apps can be added to enhance flows at higher levels. The Metacurrency Project ideal of a landweaving society 'streamscape' of interoperable currencies for various privileges and stakeholding promises an exciting realm for development ahead.
Some specific target contactee groups to entertain are: neighbors, partners, audience, ecosystem, network, movement.
Objectives in mirror may be much further than they originally appeared.
Prepare to face your worst. Not the absolute worst there is, just the portion that was reserved for you specifically, as part of the process of maturation.
Self-guided expeditions through uncharted territory tend to bring you into contact with all the buried residue and unpleasantness of your being. The shadow, the repressed, the unconscious. It hurts, and not just you. Others bear some of that burden too.
Building emotional intelligence, resilience, and depth of character are part of the learning journey. Invaluable, and non-trivial. Endurance is one side of the coin. Improvisation another. Making it up as you go, taking it in stride.
Create rituals to mark progress and cycles. Fall in love with your work, and stick with it as long as it truly belongs to you and you to it. Make sure you're in it for the right reasons. Keep checking in with what you wrote down at the top of this section.
If it ever starts to feel like a burden, like a struggle, thankless and drab, stop and take stock. You can not produce living systems from dead aspirations. Find out what those around you are thinking and feeling; perhaps it's time to reorient, to gameshift it [link].
Sometimes, the most incredible magical rewards come from sticking out through the down spells. Stretch. Consult your oracle of choice, do what comes naturally. Belong to your story, as long as its a good one.
Ask for support, without shame or expectation. Be gracious, in failure and in fortuity.