“Rumors of my death are much exaggerated” — [Mark Twain].
I have been busy here. This is my first full report since moving to Ajijic, Mexico, in July. I have been here a bit over 4 months now, and it’s been quite a ride.
Authentic Relating in Intentional Community: A case study in Ajijic, Mexico
I wrote another article about this, click here if you want to read it. The article is a bit long and specialized, being targeted to professionals in the AR (Authentic Relating) space; but I will summarize it here and then move on.
To recap, the success I am having here is a real breakthrough, a milestone in my Authentic Relating career. Kind of unbelievable actually. I have been batting my head against the wall since at least 2019 (five years ago), a date I now identify as the beginning of my “time of troubles”. Back-to-back business and relational failures, and experiments in community (specifically the attempt to bring Authentic Relating into intentional community) which were not successful.
All that has now changed. I have a powerful network of friends and supporters here, my groups here have been quite popular, and getting very positive feedback.
But for the rest… oye. I find life in Mexico challenging
People sometimes say to me, “it seems that you like moving?”. That’s true and not true.
I do love adventures, especially international ones. For instance: my trek in Nepal in the spring of 2016, just prior to my return to the States, still represents one of the highpoints of my life. I wrote half of my memoir (Broke, Single, Crazy and Old) on that trek, finally completed it about a year ago, and then finished a strong draft of my latest (and most important) book, Relational Power, early this year. My books haven’t done much commercially, however, because… I was too busy moving, LOL.
However, I don’t move for the joy of it. I move because I am looking for something. What I am looking for is what we called, at the time that Rebekah and I were running the Trellis Community in Philadelphia, “Invented family”. That’s the (elusive) promise of intentional community. I am hooked, for better and for worse.
It feels a bit unseemly to be complaining, giving the (apparent) turnaround in my life that has occurred. However, the essential problem here in Ajijic is that it’s too crowded. And, I miss Wyoming and New Mexico, the desert and wide-open spaces. I found the geography of those places very healing.
Here, the traffic is terrible. It takes an hour to drive the 10 mile round-trip to my tennis matches, which I do 4 times a week (although this is one of the big positives here, tennis lessons are $15 and I am getting quite good). I have struggled to find affordable, quality housing since the community I first landed here (Namaste Village) was not a good housing match for me. I have a great place now, but it’s costing me $750 a month — very expensive by third-world standards and pushing the edge of a Social Security budget. I took it because it has a great event space and because my landlady is very supportive of my projects.
All this (along with the fact that I don’t like the street food and restaurants are also over-priced by third-world standards) is causing me this “stranger in a strange land” feeling. Like “I am not home, yet”. What I am looking for, more than anything else (especially now that I am having such success on the ground), is to find a location and lifestyle that is supportive of developing my global platform and book marketing, and where I can also run programs on the ground.
So what’s next?
Well, not sure exactly. My visa expires in January, so I have to leave the country anyway. Bringing the car into Mexico worked quite well, but was also expensive and a bit stressful. What you need here is an electric bike, which can use the (excellent) bike path rather than the over-crowded main road.
I might spend January in Austin and run a course there, and I might winter at my sister’s in Boston. Come springtime however, and maybe sooner, I am thinking I will try and setup a nationwide tour of US intentional communities (or AR communities, wherever they exist). The idea is that I could teach either the regular, 4-week Practical Relational Leadership Courses (or “PRL”), or a 2-week accelerated version. The itinerary might look something like this:
Wish me luck! And drop me a note if you want me to visit on the way, or else you can host me.