Frequently Asked Questions:
When people first become interested in learning more about Hummingbird Community, their questions most often focus on such topics as how our community got started, how we go about making community decisions, what the procedure is for joining our community, how we handle differences of opinion, and how the land is held.
To answer these most frequently asked questions, we have provided below comments from community members that respond to those questions.
We hope these responses will not only give you important factual information about who we are but also provide a feeling for the very spirit of what we envision for both our Hummingbird Community and our planet.
We invite you to give us your feedback on our responses to the most frequently asked questions about our community and also to ask us any additional questions that you may have. We look forward to hearing from you.
Q: How did the community get started?
Sara: I’m sure each of us here can offer a little different perspective on this. In 1992 I became associated with a group of people who were connected with a nonprofit organization called Global Family. And as I grew to know these people, I saw that many of them held a vision to form a land-based community where adults and children could visit from around the world to experience new models and ways of living in society. And I was inspired by their vision and their intentions and so as time went on there came a point where I felt that having a piece of land would be the catalyst for actually bringing about this vision. At the time I came to that realization, I was living in Taos, New Mexico, and I began a search for the land. What we eventually found was a beautiful piece of land that is less than an hour away from Taos.
David: I, too, became associated with the organization Global Family, but about three years prior to Sara when the organization was just forming. And it was the first time that I had ever felt that there was a large enough context for me to be a part of something that had a vision which embraced everybody on the planet.
After a few years of being involved with Global Family and meeting with a Global Family core group in the St. Louis area and resonating with who they were and what their vision was–especially that of forming an intentional community–I realized that it was my destiny to live in harmony with people from Global Family with whom I felt totally safe and loved. .
And so it was clear, at that time — this was maybe about ten years ago — that several of us associated with Global Family felt called to live together, and we talked about forming a community and we did take little steps towards it. But nothing really major happened until Sara came along and seriously began the search for community land in New Mexico
Makasha: Well, for about thirty years my wife Katharine and I have held the vision of creating a community that would be a sanctuary for children, where they could learn new ways of being in relationship with one another, the earth, and all creation. As we became more engaged in the activities of Global Family we realized that we shared a deep alignment of resonance and values with a core team of Global Family members. Recognizing that we were already a heartfelt community, we desired to come together in a land based community where we could model new social forms that are centered in love and unity rather than fear and separation.
As Sara shared, she discovered this beautiful land in northern New Mexico and called a group of us together in August, 1996 to see if this might be the place to anchor our vision. As we sat in circle to get a sense of the land’s “rightness”, a Hummingbird flew into our midst, hovered for a few moments and then flew out again. Well, we all felt the beauty of this sign, and we immediately knew that “Yes, this is it!” It’s definitely a dream come true for us that we’ve “landed” and are unfolding our long held vision.
Q: What is your vision for Hummingbird Community?
Katharine: My husband, Makasha and I are particularly impassioned to create a sanctuary for children where they are honored as unique divine beings and empowered to express their gifts to the world. Learning from the wisdom inherent in nature, the young people are supported in staying connected with their hearts and their inner truth. They are taught in a prayerful way to respect the land and each other. As Hummingbird is inter-generational, people of all ages are invited to retreat, rejuvenate and reflect on the meaning in their lives. As individuals engage in programs on the land they experience a new sense of self and the possibility of living in a co-creative culture.
We definitely envision Hummingbird as being a place where individuals come from all corners of the planet to share their culture and their wisdom. As we open to spirit’s guidance in all that we do, we are inspired to model a co-creative society that expresses love and unity through every aspect of life. It is also our intention to support other communities that are evolving around the world and to be in active exchange so that the best of what each of us are discovering can be shared and utilized for the well being of seven generations to come.
Sara: I’d like to add to what Katharine said in that we see ourselves as a living laboratory for the evolution of consciousness. So an important part of our vision is that we are putting ourselves in the soup of our own self-actualization as a group. We see ourselves as a model for the evolution to a new, co-creative way of being in the world.
Rich: Also, while people sometimes consider intentional communities as looking to withdraw from the world and remain isolated, we’re wanting to fully engage with the world in a co-creative way. Specifically, as we steward this land and develop a model of eco-preneurship enterprises that use the land in a renewable and sustainable way, we intend to partner with the people in the surrounding community to help that happen. We’re also seeing ourselves as a type of university campus where people can come and learn about whole systems and how they work by becoming immersed in them, so that they can take what they’ve learned out into the world and share their knowledge with their own natural affiliation groups. So we see our community as a living laboratory that helps scatter the seeds of co-creation around the world.
David: Another important facet of our vision is our stewardship of the land. What we’re envisioning is a self-sustaining community with a continuous closed-loop system. A community that, as Makasha put it, can continue for the next seven generations. And so we’ve chosen to build our homes with alternative technologies and natural materials. We’re also committed to living off the grid, which means creating our own electricity, our own living systems here, so that we don’t abuse our precious resources. So I just wanted to comment on our commitment to tread lightly here on the land, which includes our focus on perma-culture and efforts to create living systems.
Sara: I’d like to speak a moment about our diversity. So many communities have come together based on a single-minded philosophy or a particular leader. The nature of co-creation here at Hummingbird is that we all carry an equal voice, while, at the same time, we realize each of us has our own unique talents and abilities. Our group of Community Stewards reflects a wide variety of backgrounds, philosophies and age groups.
And one specific point I’d like to make is that while some of us feel a special passion for serving the youth, the whole picture of our community includes all ages, includes having elders here and serving, through our workshops and trainings and healings, people of every age.
Q: How can someone become involved in the community?
Rich: Before a person actually enters into our “Exploring Relationship” process, we offer people the opportunity to visit us here on the land and to spend time in the community with us. We recommend at least two visits before considering a deeper level of commitment. And I would just like to further suggest that anyone interested in becoming a Community Steward take some of the educational experiences we offer on the land in order to start learning about our culture and how the co-creative dynamic actually works. Because one of the things that we’ve found is that it’s important for there to be alignment in four major areas. People interested in stepping into the “Exploring Relationship” process need to not only bond with the people in our community,our vision and with this particular location, but it’s also very critical that they bond with our community culture, which embodies the co-creative dynamic. And it takes some time to get familiar with our community culture in order to make sure that it’s really something that’s a fit.
David: In addition, it’s important to note that it’s not just that the people interested in becoming Community Stewards resonate with what we’re about, it’s also how we resonate with them. And it doesn’t matter what their experience is or what their skills are. They may be wonderful people, but there’s got to be a real fit here, and I think that’s what’s most unique about who we are, which is how we resonate with each other. The harmonics, if you will, that vibrate when all of us are together in the community is so special.
For instance, we’ve had some truly wonderful individuals who have explored their relationship with Hummingbird, and it became clear to them and to us that there wasn’t a good fit, even though it looked like it was when they first began their exploration. So it’s not just about the steps of getting there, it’s really about right relationship.
Q: So how does the community decide if there is “right relationship”? Do you vote? How does that all work?
Sara: Well, first of all, it’s important to understand how we make decisions. There is no hierarchy in our community so there isn’t one person or a select group of people making community decisions. It’s really more about process, our taking the time for each of us to go inside and sense what feels right, what feels true. In the instance of a person entering “Exploring Relationship”, we co-create with the individual to discern if there is a resonance between their values and life vision and the community’s values and vision. We really work to build a strong co-creative relationship with someone in this pathway. And through that co-creative process, a decision as to whether there is a fit or right relationship naturally emerges.
Katharine: That’s right, during the “Exploring Relationship” orientation process we focus on helping people new to our community fully understand how we as a community operate. We review in depth, for example, our community’s vision, purpose and mission; our decision making process; each of the community agreements; and how we want to communicate with each other, especially when we may be holding different perspectives. One of our principal objectives for the orientation process is to support those new to the community to clarify for themselves what they want to experience, achieve and contribute during their time at Hummingbird.
What we find is that when we help individuals get a deep understanding of our community, it’s easy for them to see for themselves if there is a true resonance with Hummingbird.
And resonance is the key word here. At Hummingbird we work to reach a feeling of resonance when making any decision–whether it is about someone in the “Exploring Relationship” pathway or something as simple as if we should buy a new door for our main shed or fix the old one.
Rich: Yes, I want to say a little bit more about our philosophy of decision-making. First, I’d just like to reiterate that all community decisions are made by resonance. In other words, we don’t vote and we don’t have a one person or a select group of people in control. And resonance is also not what someone might think of as consensus. It’s really a step beyond consensus. It’s more of a spiritual, vibrational process, particularly when it comes to such important matters as determining right relationship with someone exploring their relationship with us.
And when we do hit spots where we don’t all agree, we move into more of a meditative place, which we call inspired insights, rather than try to work it out strictly on the mental level. We find that by doing our inspired insight process, we are better able to open up to a creative field and draw forth inspirations and insights and understandings that help us get past our state of confusion and into a state of more resonant alignment with the truth. And so when that “truth” is revealed, it becomes apparent whether a person is naturally supposed to be here or not. And when people take it to that level it’s very powerful and it’s very empowering, and we realize that it’s not about the rejection of a person; it’s about recognizing our truth in this space and acting accordingly.
Makasha: And as our community engages with someone in “Exploring Relationship” in a co-creative, resonate way, we find that there’s really no possibility of rejection in the traditional sense; but rather a process of self-selection on both our part as a community and the part of the person in exploration. What it comes down to is right relationship, as David and Sara mentioned earlier. And this invites people in this pathway to really feel on a soul level whether they’re destined to be part of this community, or use their experience here at Hummingbird to help guide them in getting clearer on the kind of community culture they would like to participate in and then go on from there to perhaps search out other communities.
Rich: So what it comes down to is that we want to create a safe space where people who are emotionally and spiritually mature feel free to speak their truth and to see if their truth, their way of being in the world resonates with our community’s truth and way of being. And we feel that it’s extremely important that we create a community where we can authentically be ourselves and not be afraid to say anything to somebody or say something to the group because it may create a wave or it may create some conflict. And that safety is possible because we each draw our core strength from within ourselves.
Sara: Yes, to be co-creative, you’ve got to be honest, you’ve got to have a strong enough sense of self to be willing to speak your truth. And sometimes that’s hard for people new to our community. They need to fully realize that not only is it safe to speak your perspective here, but that it’s actually required to come to that place that Rich was talking about, that place of knowing yourself well enough to know what your perspective is. You have to put your perspective out there. You have to speak it, you have to have the courage to be it and also the willingness to risk being vulnerable by sharing what is most true for you.
Rich: And as was already mentioned, what that requires is a certain level of emotional, spiritual maturity to be drawn to and to feel confident enough in your own being to be willing to play in this safe place where your speaking your truth is what’s most valued. As you can see from our values, our vision and our goals, someone probably wouldn’t seriously consider coming into this community unless they were already in large measure living those values in their own lives and feeling the strength of their own inner convictions. Added to that, they now feel that this is the time to join with our community to give and receive support in creating a place of safety, where people feel strong enough to be authentically themselves. In a sense, we want to be the kind of honest and open family that most of us never really had; a family that provides emotional safety, a place where each person can be their best self as they fulfill their soul’s purpose.
Q: What is the relationship between Hummingbird Ranch and Global Family?
Carolyn: The vision for Hummingbird Community was birthed in the context of Global Family and all of the early founders of this community have been active in and committed to Global Family for many years. The process we use here at Hummingbird for building a resonant field of love as the container for our work was developed by Global Family. Also the principles and practices of co-creation that are the foundation of our process spring from the experiences and insights we have learned in the past decade in bringing our human family together.
John: It might be helpful to give you a very brief snapshot of Global Family, which was founded in 1986 as a vehicle that linked hundreds of like-hearted groups around the world to carry forward the momentum of the original December 31 World Peace Meditation. Our purpose in Global Family has always been to support a shift in the consciousness from separation and fear to unity and love. Our vision is for all of humanity to experience unconditional love and peace in our lifetimes. It is our passion to reunite our human family and we see Hummingbird Community as a model for how that can happen.
Carolyn: For us, Hummingbird Community is a very special project of Global Family. We hold this community as an experiment in conscious evolution. It’s a physical location where we can practice unconditional love, sustainable and ecological living, share our unique gifts and wisdom with others, honor the land and future generations, and bring dreams into reality.
We hold these 500 acres as a place to live in trust, love, beauty and peace with all the kingdoms of this planet.
John: That’s right. And we see ourselves as one of many groups creating these “living laboratories” around the world and birthing a co-creative, peace-filled culture. As we link with others, we are building a resonant energy frequency that is shifting the field of consciousness to unity and love. Spirit is moving through us, as us, in its perfection.
Q: How do you handle conflicts on the community?
Ralph: First of all, we realize that whenever a group of people gather in community–no matter how enlightened they may be–there are bound to be different perspectives offered on the how, when, why, and what’s of living together. What’s important is not the nature of the differences, but rather how the differences are handled, especially when we may be holding strong judgmental feelings towards others who have different perspectives from us.
At Hummingbird, we aspire to hold conflict as a valuable opportunity to practice moving from feelings of separation with each other to feelings of intimacy and understanding. Indeed, we view our commitment to working respectfully and responsibly with conflict as a natural and important part of our evolution as a community
We spend quite a bit of time going over with people new to the community our Conflict Resolution Agreements. At the heart of the agreements is our intention to take full-responsibility for the thoughts and feelings we give ourselves. For example, if I’m upset about what I perceive someone in the community has done, I take responsibility for giving myself those feelings of upset–no one can make me unhappy except me. I refrain from saying to the person something like “You really make me frustrated, Mel, by always showing up late when we’ve agreed to work on a project together. You should be more responsible and more considerate of others.”
Instead, I share with the person the feelings I’m giving myself with the intention to restore intimacy rather than make the person wrong. I might say, for example, “Mel, this is the third time we agreed to work together and you’ve not been here at the time we agreed to. I frustrate myself when that happens because I think you don’t care about honoring our agreements.”
Mel then has the opportunity to hear me speak in a respectful and self-responsible way what I’m experiencing, given how I perceive his actions. What I don’t do is tell Mel about himself or how I think he ought to act. In effect, I don’t should on him. Then from this place of non-blame we have a much greater change of engaging in a dialogue free of the drama of attack and defense.
Our commitment to not engage in shoulding on each other also extends to how we respond to the community as a whole. Let’s say, for instance, that I’m upsetting myself over how the community is handling its finances. Rather than going into judgment and telling the community it should be doing its finances differently, I first remind myself that I’m not all-knowing and then from a place of humility offer the community my perspective on how I see we are handling our finances. It’s also important to share with the community the feelings I’m experiencing, given my perception. I definitely offer my viewpoint–respectfully as well as responsibly–and invite a dialogue, but not from a place of “I know what’s best for the community.”
In the “Exploring Relationship Agreement”, for new members joining the community, we have a paragraph that clearly presents how we want to communicate with each other when offering our various perspectives.
Let me again emphasis that here at Hummingbird we feel it’s critical to our community’s success that we each practice a respectful, self-responsible mode of communication. Personally, I’m a really strong believer that a key indicator of a community’s health is its ability to be drama-free of blaming and wrong-making.
Q: What has attracted people to become members of Hummingbird Community?
Ralph: Well, for me, I felt the call to be in community for about ten years prior to my coming to Hummingbird. And during that time before I arrived here, I’d done quite a bit of research on communities. I studied books on communities and visited several. I also experimented living in a couple of communities for awhile. And those experiences in community living offered me the opportunity to see what did and did not resonate with me.
I recall this one community that was attempting to form in St. Louis, and at the initial meeting people were each taking a turn to explain why they wanted to be in community. One person said, “Well, you know, I really need some help in raising my kid because I’m a single mom.” And another person said, “Oh, you know, I really want to be in a community because I’m living with my parents now and I think I need to get out on my own.” Now those are certainly legitimate needs these people expressed, but for me that wasn’t the driving reason I wanted to be a community.
Community for me is first and foremost a place to nurture the growth of my soul, as well as a place to support the growth of other people’s souls. I mean, for me, that’s why I wanted to be in community. It wasn’t for security or to make my life easier. It’s because I wanted to authentically give and receive the love I have in a way that serves not just me, but everyone I touch. That’s why I’m at Hummingbird Ranch.
When I first came to visit this community, I immediately felt the love and authenticity of the people here. And because the people here at Hummingbird were so thoroughly genuine and true to who they were, I felt drawn to be my authentic self. In other words, to speak my truth, to say what was going on for me emotionally, what I was feeling, and not have to worry that I’ll be judged me for being less than perfect.
What I truly appreciate about the people here in this community is that there’s no dependence on the community to make them happy. We all have had rich lives outside the community and draw our main happiness and peace from within ourselves. And because we come from a grounded place of inner security and wholeness we feel free to be ourselves and not feel we need to “fix” ourselves or each other.
For me personally, that means if it so happens that my genuine way of being at some point becomes out of sync with the values of the community then I accept that reality and go my way, blessing the community for giving me the opportunity to learn and grow.