I’ve been living as a full-time citizen of Damanhur for a couple of years now. Before that, I was traveling the world and enjoying life at my own pace, quite open, flowing and free.
So, Damanhur has a certain structure and organization to it, and it does move at an incredible velocity. My rhythms have changed since I’ve arrived here. Mostly, I enjoy it. I find that I naturally think and move very fast too, and when I’m doing what I love, it’s the only way for me. I can keep going all day and sometimes into the night, and I receive so much energy from what I do, sometimes it feels like more than I’m using up! Magic!
When I first got here, I felt confused at times with the busy-ness around me. It seemed like I would have barely shut the passenger door of a car and they’d already be driving off! I had hard time pinning someone down to have a friendly conversation over tea.
Now I understand more the reasons behind all the productivity and velocity. There’s an incredible amount of work that has been done, and so much more to do! From the Temples of Humankind, to the new Temple of Peoples, to increasing food self sufficiency with organic agriculture, to experimenting with new ways of social organization and decision making, along with all the spiritual research and inner growth. Having ideals, dreams, manifesting them and being of service is a demanding pathway, and it takes great dedication and discipline to be fully involved here. I also feel that I receive incredible rewards for all that I do, material and spiritual, although sometimes it takes some time for what I offer to come back around. Being a citizen here requires patience and faith.
We certainly have times for relaxing together and celebrating or having moments of stillness and silence. Italian lunch hour is usually two hours long! The idea is to not prioritize silent meditation, relaxation, sitting still, “leisure” time, but to use these moments as a means to gather energy and focus, to then make things happen. It’s through making, doing, acting and creating that I can offer the greatest gifts to others.
In the past, there have been relatively few hands for all that has needed to be done. The hope is that with new and active Damanhurians joining in, we’ll all work together with dedication and make progress quickly, so we might be able to slow down the pace for ourselves individually while maintaining the same collective velocity. It’s a question of coming together in strong numbers and sharing the weight of responsibility, which is what community is all about, I believe.
There’s not so much a distinction between “work” time and “free” time here. Time is just time, and it gets filled with events, whether productive and creative, or not. I prefer creativity and actively making things. That’s why I’d much rather write a screenplay than watch a movie.
About turnover, most people who join the community come and stay and really make this their home. I ask the people who have been here a long time, twenty or thirty years, if they have gotten tired over the years with all there is to do. They say no, it’s been a great joy! We take care of ourselves how we need to and watch out for each other too, taking things on when someone needs to rest. Many people have changed their jobs and careers over the years, beginning as an artist and now working in Public Relations, for example. Or a hairdresser who has become a carpenter. A farmer who works at the cafe. A former chef turned nursery school teacher. It’s about making conscious choice, shifting direction to develop a part of oneself that has been less expressed in the past. Although, I can see how this kind of flexibility can help to avoid both burnout and boredom, keeping things fresh with new stimulation and variety.