Just over three years ago I became a father in every sense of the word. It’s been a wonderful journey with the family I hold close. I have discovered that part of being a father to me is taking seriously some of the challenges we face collectively. At thirty nine years of age today, I find myself growing into a certain degree of activism. This, to me, is a natural extension of concerns for social welfare and the environment my young son will inhabit as he grows older. I see this not only as something for us as a family, but for other families that have concern for our shared future.
Human habitation is my area of activism, and it manifests as ecovillages. It started with detailing my family’s journey towards a more ecologically responsible world on my blog. But even before that, seeds were planted when I visited Boom, a Portuguese psytrance festival in 2012. It was there that I experienced global village with 20,000 other people from 100 other countries. After that transformative experience, I wanted to bring some of that experience home and share with the larger human family.
Since last summer I have taken many steps towards this this admittedly numinous goal. It’s tough to figure out what can benefit many people without trying to run a campaign of propaganda.
Publishing the first issue of The Co-Creator, where I detailed the three main intentional communities in Manitoba was a big one. That started simply as a MailChimp email blast, and evolved into a print edition with a continually growing email list. Then, it occurred to me that it would make a lot of sense to get people from the intentional communities together and share what they do with a larger audience. That occurred on May 20th and took place in the venue of Sam’s Place, a social enterprise.
Ah! Social enterprise! Another key! The Gathering, an event of the local chapter of the Canadian Center for Economic Development had introduced me to the concepts of social enterprise this past October. All of a sudden, I was able to see ecovillages in a new light; as social enterprises. Providing healthy food, housing, jobs, quality education and more, ecovillages could help meet the Sustainable Development Goals as put forth by the UN in the Climate Accords.
NatureSummit is a convention that takes place at Camp Manitou every other year. The objective is to help early childhood educators learn how to pass on a sense of wonder in nature to their children. In response to my son’s daycare attendant looking to learn more about the philosophy behind ecovillages, I presented a workshop at NatureSummit last September, sharing what I had found. Feedback was very positive. It gave me a further sense of purpose in sharing what I know about ecovillages.
In October of 2017, I’ll be part of a team presenting a workshop about ecovillages at The Gathering. I’ll be offering a case study of Twin Oaks, an income sharing community in Virginia that has over 50 years of history and experience.
Not too long after the May 20th event, I was on CKUW talking about the newsletter and it’s corresponding website, ecovillages.ca. That gave me even more impetus and feeling that I am doing something that will result in positive action for a shared, collective future of cooperation and enlightenment.
Being a father has, I find, freed me to take action on the things that I feel are important. It lets me reach out indirectly to people I don’t see enough of, but still care for. I have many friends that I don’t see enough of, both young and old. It’s something that can benefit not only these friends that feel like distant family, but also their current families and future families, as well as people who I haven’t had the opportunity to get to know.
Meeting new people is also a component to this for me. By doing something that I feel is meaningful and reaching out into the community, I meet others who are also doing the same. It lets me share good, positive news of human cooperation during a time of great human divisions.
Integrating the father archetype (aka, being a father) lets me do things for a larger community in a way that being single never catalyzed for me. As the situation with my first son deconstructed several years ago, I found myself trying to do helpful things for him that were never received or even acknowledged. I felt I was not allowed to be a father, my treatment malevolent. Under immense pressure, I saw how many problems are simply social dysfunction. In order to emerge from a campaign of parental alienation by a narcissist, I had to let go of someone I care very deeply for. Through that I learned just how strong I am. Today as I walk a path of healing, it lets me be freer than I ever imagined. And if I ever see my first son again, I can tell him that while I wasn’t able to be with him, I was busy doing things that will benefit him, his world and his future family.