Contributed by Darren Beddard
A person I consider a very good friend declined my invitation to join the founding members at a weekend gathering. The evening before leaving for the meeting, this friend suddenly took sick and declined the invitation. Subsequently, an email presenting rather what appeared to be uncomplimentary perspectives regarding her refusal to attend, was sent out to the mailing list of participants invited. Rather than dealing directly with me, the individual extending the invitation, the objections were made public and admittedly, the perspectives caused me concern that others might be unduly influenced by the email. The following is an open letter addressing the points raised during this exchange. I trust they may prove valuable to readers.
I will begin by asking you how you would like to resolve this public statement. One on one, or in community?
As you have set the precedent, I'm in favor of opening this to a group forum if you are willing.
I will address the points you raised:
You point out that my leadership model will restrict your freedom as you profess a "fierce independence" and my leadership style from your perception would restrict you.
The stance of independence as opposed to interdependence is one that must be healed if we're to create heaven on earth. Going it alone is no longer the mandate for humanity and is precisely why Mandala Village is being created, to foster a healthy community-oriented culture. This is a fine place to start.
I heard you point out that my perception of what's best for Mandala Village is coming from my guidance at the exclusion of others' guidance.
You pointed out that so much work in planning the details of Mandala Village's construction eliminates input from anyone else
You made reference to my statements regarding Mandala Village as "my community" well, in a way it is, until I have taken it to a certain stage of development when the baby can walk on its own or has sufficient contributors making the type of commitment that will get it there.
With few exceptions, since December 30th 1984, it's been a journey of one. The ridicule and scorn I've endured from countless people has perhaps left me somewhat jaded in some of my points of view. Each of which I invite healing to.
You suggested the criteria for selection of candidates and residents and the ultimate selection of them is all my doing. I respond with the point of view that once people find out that Mandala Village residents have literally abolished poverty, I'll have ten million people beating the doors down wanting to join us, and few will have the consciousness to hold the vision of "Shambhala" as is needed to establish the presence of such a community in a lasting way. Deep scrutiny of the consciousness of all applicants will remain a mandatory requirement. The process will begin with the qualifying questionnaire we will include in the draft of the discussion paper. And please, remember it is a draft! And a discussion paper. Not a thesis or manifesto that I'm posting on the church door.
You described your experience having been involved in a failed attempt to create a community resulting in you losing a great deal of money
I suggest aspects of this experience have yet to be healed, and what better time than now to open to healing it. Creating sickness before coming out to join the founding members seems to me not to be the work of spirit, for a true sign of spirit's guidance in my experience comes from wholeness, and I admit I have no personal knowledge of your personal experience. I do understand though, that decisions made from a state not encompassing peace and wholeness usually result in some kind of error.
I'm reminded as I write this that whenever a decision invokes pain or discomfort, following the pain or discomfort deeply enough will usually lead to an opportunity to discover a splintered fragment of the self in need of healing. Is it possible that this is one of those times?
It appears there's a possibility that you are re-living that earlier community experience and projecting it into this one, thus creating a screen obscuring your view of the possibilities of healing this while creating community from consciousness.
In my perspective dear friend, you have exposed a situation that in the context of having an intention to develop a healthy and trusting interpersonal partnership with me, I would have preferred that you would have best taken this issue up with me directly. In contrast to this beneficial interpersonal approach, that of dealing directly with the person with whom you had a difference with, you chose instead to create a public forum over your sense of separation. I would encourage everyone to make at least an attempt to create "joining" over fear issues or separation issues, by first seeking healing or resolution with the party involved, directly. Then, if that failed to bring reconciliation, take it to group.
Having made the statements that my building design etc... was "inflexible, and written in stone", I remind you of a meeting at your home between your partner "Herkimer" and myself, when he was showing me his extensive and brilliant work regarding Sacred Geometry. From that meeting, we adjourned to my place of residence where you were visiting, and your partner viewed my drawings of the Mandala Village structures. He added his perspective regarding my, then 6-sided structures. His recommendation was that the buildings would have more dynamic and beneficial health qualities if it were an eight-sided structure... and other statements I cannot easily recall at this time. Suffice to report, I then readily accepted his superior perspective to mine, and redrew all the buildings I had previously drawn over a period of seven weeks. That hardly qualifies as a perspective written in stone.
In reviewing our talks about your history in experiencing the community you lived in, I heard you emphasize concern about the people who assumed leadership tasks while others were pulling weeds in the garden. That concern was strongly worded with substantial emotional content. I believe there are people whose great joy and passion is/will be to grow fine healthy gardens. I personally am not drawn to do that. I am however passionately dedicated to creating a new financial methodology and a community credit union that can allow for all of us to do what's in our hearts to do, without feeling like we're having to do anything for survival reasons. None of us, if we're to live this new paradigm, must do anything out of sacrifice and especially by following an antiquated model of performing in life from a plethora of roles and duties. My commitment will forever be to empower each and every person I meet to follow their spirits without hesitation. In addition to having a passion for creating a new financially empowered group of individuals, I also have a serious passion to create healthy, luxurious living accommodation for a fraction of the cost of the drab boxes humans are forced to live in as a result of unimaginative profit-motivated systems presently available. In my opinion it seems, while your passion in the area of creative writing was evermore in the forefront of your vision for your contribution to life, the overall plan for your failed community did not include either the resources or accommodate for enough of a variety of individuals who, by agreement were to follow their individual passions with a healthy perspective that held each various task as but a complementary and equally valuable contribution to your collective.
Within the framework of that earlier discussion, and during other conversations concluding with last night's hour-and-a-half long phone conversation, you expressed concern about me and my fancy BMW suggestive of a perspective that holds me in a less than desirable light, a "better-than" attitude.
I make no apologies for enjoying fine quality things. I also take great pride in my ability to see them as things and not the objects of my existence. They don't own me, and I realize they are things I take great care of because of my perspective of "right-stewardship". All in all, these revelations suggest the possibility of areas that may provide some fine insights about your beliefs, with a bit of personal reflection on your part and open the way to substantial personal growth.
When the concern was directed further to my leadership method prohibiting community involvement, I replied that my guidance suggested at the formidable onset of construction of the infrastructure development, consensus would make the time-table unrealistic and practically unattainable. I also mentioned that it didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that simply from the components spirit has brought to me to implement into the building methodology, it excluded most types of innovative, and inexpensive housing and building methods including specifically "straw-bale" construction. I might mention that I've been involved in building at all levels of construction and administration, literally thousands of homes and apartments over seventeen years and I qualify as an adept in this endeavor; hence Spirit's choice in selecting me for this monumental task.
As far as my leadership abilities are concerned, if anyone's looking for me to walk on water before joining in this endeavor let me say it now, "go somewhere else"!
I have several pronounced character flaws, besides being a stubborn, tenacious and often too wordy person, my gifts also stem from these qualities, some of which have kept me going in spite of the resistance and ridicule of many over these last sixteen years. My tenacity in life has had me perform admirably under the most difficult of conditions, conditions that have helped me mould sufficient character to not quit even though my humanness would have had me fold up many times.
I suggest before retreating from Mandala Village and a continued commitment to support this vision, a deep and serious review be contemplated of your personal history regarding the failed attempt at creating community, then committed to as an important step towards your self-healing. This together with a candid self-examination of issues of retaliation against a patriarchal-resistant mind-set, may yield growth opportunities for us both, if not in not all parties privy to this exchange.
After the first read of your email, I felt sad because I thought you might influence some of the supporters away from Mandala Village that you included in your email. Then I realized the gift you offered in sending it out without attempting to find resolution with me personally. This has prompted me to look at my motivations, behaviors and methods of "getting the job done", and from my perception, I'm doing just fine, and I do absolutely take advice from everyone I meet and share this vision with. I pride myself in the fact that I am able, willing and do in fact bow to any superior insight into any and every perspective I bring into this project, and every other part of my life for that matter.
I thank you for your objections for they have indeed provided valuable self-reflection that I and others may follow.