Greetings Ecovillage Supporters,
Welcome to the Michigan Ecovillage Blog! This will be a space for intentional creation that we hope to update monthly. The goal is for the Michigan Ecovillage blog to provide inspiration, thought-provoking ideas, and relevant information to the members of this community that we are building together.
Because an Ecovillage requires, “intention” as one of its focal elements (most ecovillages are also referred to as “Intentional Communities”), it seems like reflecting on what this really means makes a great first blog entry.
So what is intention? A simple definition might be that an intention is a kind of goal. If I set a goal to donate a further 5% of my income to charities in 2018, or to reduce my total weekly consumption of meat, this typically means that I intend to achieve the goal(s) that I have set. However, sometimes humans set goals that only carry intention behind them for a month or so. I’m thinking of the short-lived nature of many New Year’s Resolutions, that lead to hundreds of articles with titles promising some secret motivator or methodology that will allow me to achieve the goals I set on January 1st. The fact that so many people run into this problem with their goal setting seems to indicate that it can be possible for a goal and an intention to come apart.
We could define a goal as the words framing an achievement that someone desires. Intention then, is the force that awakens a person by providing them the motivation to pursue some goal. But intention seems like it is more than just motivation. For example, one could be motivated to work towards establishing power for marginalized people, but also have no idea how to go about doing this. It is easy to see this motivation in the world around us. It is the energy that we feel at a protest or march, or when powerful speakers make an exceptional case that we should feel strongly about their cause. However, many organizers at events like these will tell you that oftentimes the motivation produced tends to dissipate too quickly for the objectives of the movement to be met.
We come to an incomplete definition of, “intention,” if we only look at what we mean by, “goals,” or, “motivation.” What is still missing? A plan of action. A plan of action is produced when a goal is defined, the motivation exists, and a person wants to channel their energies in the most effective way possible to manifest their vision in the world. Of course, it is possible to have a plan of action without the intention of carrying it out. A certain political outlook might even lead one to recognize this as a feature of many campaign promises. So intention must be a combination of a goal and a plan of action, coupled with the motivation to see the project through to fruition.
Intention requires persistent work to bring together these factors. It cannot be a passive act. An intentional community brings together a number of people with the same goal, to work together to produce the best plan of action, and inspire motivation within one another. Sharing the work of intentional creation is one of the most valuable products of an ecovillage.
Over the course of this month, think about the goals that you have for yourself, for your community, etc. Then evaluate whether these are intentional, and if they aren’t what aspect of intentionality might be absent. Finally, think about some ways that a supportive community might be able to take part in the intentional creation of a more beautiful world.
Thanks for taking the time to read this first blog post, we look forward to hearing from you in the comments section and/or at our general meetings.
Be well, live intentionally,
Sebastian, Michigan Ecovillage Director