The MysTèR Community living/working/creating/holiday/habitat/support community proposal
A shared tribal or fellowship place model
(Dutch outline at http://www.lucsala.nl/community2.htm)
plus the ideas to create an
Concept 19, June 5, 2009
1. Feel that spiritual growth and union with nature and the all is what it’s all about
2. Like to be part of a group that recognises and respects your views of the seen and unseen
3. Like to have a first or second home, but without the worries
4. Look for a space to give seminars, workshops, small festivals, etc.
5. Like to have a place to withdraw from the rat-race and yet be involved
6. Have reasonable financial means or an income source that allows you to move around
Then read on!
This page is about a new initiative to
establish a purposeful (intentional) community for living/working and as a
place for workshops and conferences and at a reasonable distance from
We have, after some disappointing experiences (see www.myster.nl) a location that fits our ideas about a purposeful live/work community, as described below. It’s a fairly big house with seminar space and some apartments, eventually up to 15 rooms and 5 apartments, and some space outside for open air events. see www.myster.nl/fotos.htm .
We, the core group, are now looking for partners to join as permanent residents or as visiting partners that would use the premises for workshops, conferences or art projects.
Many people these days are contemplating new forms of community, be it as a spiritual endeavour, an ecovillage, intentional community, support community or just a place to grow old together. There are groups like Savita, Ecodorp and others that have actively researched opportunities and there are of course quite a number of communities like the intentional community of De Vlierhof or Venwoude where people do live together with a common aim. Worldwide there are famous examples, like The Farm, Damanhur, Findhorn, Ufa-Fabrik, Buddhahill, Auroville, Ecolonie, Tamera, Humaniversity but alas also a long list of failed initiatives.
In this proposal a new initiative for a tribal hub or place is described, offering a combination of community concepts, meaning it is not limited to living, but encompasses other modes of being together for a shorter or longer period, like retreat, creative sabbatical, workshops, conferences, but also just holiday time or retirement second home. This broader community model is developed as a framework helping us to draw up an outline and establish the conditions to help locate a place, which we did find, but is obviously not limited to that place, there are other places and initiatives and this framework could be used there too.
Before going into detail, it’s good to emphasise that this proposal fits into a larger spiritual framework of people trying to give space to the divine core we all have, to live a life dedicated to become more aware, more conscious, not only as a mental or intellectual endeavour, but as a way of life. Living, working, creating in a setting where the deeper self, the inner child, wounded as it may be, can be explored, freed and healed. Where happiness is not an easy label, but the reality of meeting the Other, in ourselves, in other people, in nature, in earthly and cosmic “work”. Non-denominational, not fanatic or dogmatic but sincere. Aiming at a supportive atmosphere, open and honest, connected with the world and the family of nature rather than isolated. Appreciative of all energies, in and around us, the seen and the unseen.
This is not a plan for a large community living estate, like a village, castle or boarding school building with 50 or more people and expansive infrastructure.
We have a far more moderate approach to first establish a relatively small place for a group of 15 to 20 participants/partners who can use it either as a living/working place, a venue for group activities and seminars, a retreat place or a holiday home, all with a healthy economic basis. We hope to expand later and broaden the scope to become a kind of academy.
This approach differs from the usual setup with volunteers and guests, but is also not limited to people living there. It has the flavour of a tribal place, a location that is a focal point for likeminded people. We intend to have two kind of partners, the ones living there permanently and those who are regular visitors and participate in the project. Of course having both part time and fulltime resident people around brings the problem of having two kinds of partners/fellows and this deserves serious consideration.
This model is just a starting point, as communities develop over time, but a few basic points of understanding are necessary, like the need for a sound decision making model, a clear entry/exit procedure, a solid financial plan and control mechanism, and then a whole list of practical considerations. There is, however, quite a body of experience and written material about this available that we study and try to absorb. Making use of the experience and models of other communities of course makes sense. We have also visited many communities and try to learn from their expertise and experience. We feel, from what we have seen, that unclear ownership situations, lack of effective peer-level decision structures and slowly deteriorating relational communication should be avoided and that a firm “constitution” stating goals, structures and constraints is necessary.
Do we aim at an utopian ((greek-good place as opposed to dystopia – bad place) community? In a way we would like to create and be part of a place we can escape the normal constraints and hardships of the daily reality, but we also realise that wherever you go, whatever you do, the ego and the physical reality of our body, our need for food, safety, purposeful activities etc. are still there. The various utopian models that have surfaced since the Pythagorean Brotherhood and Plato, in literature or actual experiments have not yielded a workable and sustainable concept, apart maybe from the inspired communities like monasteries and religious ashrams. Yet these models, from Plato, More, Rousseau, Thoreau, Bellamy, Marx, Skinner, Orwell, Huxley, Callenbach, and many others illustrate the various ways to cope with the constraints of reality, like scarcity, often at the expense of freedom. The reality experiments, and there have been many communities with utopian tendencies, range from very small cohousing to the communist states. They also yield valuable insights, see the essay about this on the web “Utopian Dreams and Wakeupcalls”. In most utopias either the legal or the psychological freedom is sacrificed on the altar of equality.
Tribal facility: what is important
This project in a sense is a tribal project, aiming at a meeting place for the community. People that are united by sharing a place, an ideal, a way of living or just a dream can organise themselves in couples, families, extended families, but also in tribes, meaning a group with a common thread. Such groups have existed through the ages, based on ethnic, geographical or other common denominators, in our day and age there are many tribes, even urban tribes and virtual tribes. In this context we refer to the tribal feeling many of us have concerning our fellow travellers on the spiritual path of self discovery and connectedness, by sharing common interests, goals, attitude, accepting diversity, tolerant and yet united. The image of a “tribe of magic” comes to mind, a sense of the other realities, with a flavour of ceremonial or ritual as a common ground. This should not be an empty notion. A common practice, like some form of meditation once a week and at least one common meal, could help forge and maintain the level of commitment to the common cause.
Talking to many people inside and outside communities we must admit, that sustainable communities are rare, and even the spiritual (traditional) ones these days have serious problems, loose energy and have a hard time surviving. One can find many, many convents, stifts etc. for sale. Also we found that in many communities that to the outside present a happy and successful face internally have serious problems. Now that might be part of the process, in essence any relationship or community is a growth process for all concerned, but the financial, hierarchical and relational problems often lead to the end of the community or force some members to leave with hard feelings, hurting the energy of all. Energy, spiritual cohesion, the commitment to face problems together, there are many words, but maybe love is the most simple one.
Pan of the Buddhahill commune in Dippertz (Fulda), one of the people who very honest shared his insights, stressed the importance of a deep energy-cohesion as the bais of any community. His formula for a real spiritual commune - It is as simple as this:
can only be out of love
which starts with
This is the
love only happens
through the surrender
of the mind
the I or the ego
without the complete
surrender of the I, the ego
there is no love no freedom
without love there can be no real or true
which is just the freedom
to share the blessing of this life
with divine beings in the
now and here
Such a place needs some organisation, some outline, maybe even a constitution or root contract/document as a basis and we attempt here to make at least a draft for such a document.
One could start with stating that all people are essentially ok, and that a perfect community breeds perfect individuals. However, history teaches us that perfection is a great goal, but reality kicks in at a far more mundane level. Even the most optimistic approach should be based on a realistic assessment and preparation. Prepare for the worst is the best strategy, and the best protection too.
There are a number of problems associated with intentional communities or intentional tribal facilities, maybe a more appropriate term here, that do pop up. Most have to do with scarcity, in a material sense, but also in a psychological and even metaphysical sense. Material scarcity, the assumed basis of rational economic behaviour, involves money, food, space, a safe and comfortable environment, but is obviously subject to individual ranking and psychological constraints. One person might be Ok with an ascetic lifestyle, another want to explore all senses to the max. Even though money might be a yardstick for scarcity and economic behaviour, it is not the only one and probably the least interesting. Things like rank, status, relationships, health and love are far more important. Maslov’s Pyramid ranking in that sense is far too rigid, priorities shift, also over time and therefore an economic (money) model is necessary, but not enough. We have to deal with the ethical side of matters too, like to establish what kind of legal framework we need and even more than that, how to deal not only with material matters, but the psychological as well. There are the practical questions about how to deal with drugs, alcohol, smoking, dogs, sexual relationships, deviant behaviour etc. but also how we deal with old age, children, depressions, miscommunications, personal debts, criminality, and what happens when a wider crisis situation might arise. A general framework or communal contract to address these issues has to be set up and partners have to agree on this. Beyond being a kind of constitution it has to be lived and implemented so it becomes a kind of natural bylaw for those joining later, not written words without meaning.
The decision making process is most important, democracy sounds great but often means the minority looses, the sociocratic (consensus) approach has evident benefits, but is not always appropriate, like for purely executive decisions. In some cases alternative methods are called for, and that might include divination, astrology, I Ching and other esoteric ways of charting a course. If all is one, then at times we have to trust the universe!
Then there are the socio-psychological considerations. Community living requires a certain attitude, a willingness to share, a true tolerance, an understanding that it’s about contributing to the whole, not about taking and only consuming. Cooperation and respect for others is essential, in small matters but also in an ecological sense, and towards the larger local community and authorities. Therefore a serious and thorough selection and intake procedure, followed by a permanent community building and maintenance process is necessary, involving a certain discipline, regular meetings, sociocratic procedures, a common understanding.
Commitment is essential, but even then crises might and probably will occur and a structure to deal with this needs to be set up, before it happens. Entry and exit procedures need to be open, clear and effective. Leaving the partnership, either voluntary or involuntary, should be made easy, in financial as well as human terms, we don’t want negative energy kicking back at the community. The legal structure should accommodate this, from the start, so everybody knows the consequences, also in case of people that pass on and inheritance questions arise. Maybe a life insurance policy to cover such events is necessary.
A charter of purpose and direction, even of mission of the community has to be established and underwritten. There are examples to be found, many intentional communities have similar charters or constitutional agreements.
The dream, with some reality
Suppose we can find (and in fact now did buy) a place with a couple of full fledged apartments, some 8 to 10 large rooms with facilities, a large storage, office space, library space, wood/metal workshop with equipment, a community/workshop/restaurant facility with professional kitchen and enough outside space for some more cabins, sauna, sweatlodge, some camping, a vegetable and meditation garden and with adequate transport, accessibility, schools, zoning (building regulations), ecological and other practical options, including the possibility to set up small businesses.
We think that after an initial start-up phase with a smaller number of participants we would evolve towards a model with a corporation (BV) as owner, with both resident partners and visiting partners as shareholders. The actual running of the place would be in the form of an association. Foundation or other legal vehicle. Having people involved that actually have an ownership status is important, as they would then benefit from work and improvements and the corporation form is a good vehicle to allow easy entry and exit for partners, leaving would mean to sell the shares at the actual value, and we hope that goes up as we progress. In this way everybody should be partner in the property and benefit from their efforts and the increasing value of the place.
Set up some kind of business, like a little shop, B&B, art gallery, rental business (bikes, canoe), cat holiday centre, internet hosting, e-shop, catering, sauna, funeral service, hospice, children crèche, or earn a living in the neighbourhood
Non-shareholders, but also shareholders could work at the complex, and be paid for it or in the case of volunteers, could receive benefits, free lodging etc. In principle (and except some communal projects, the garden and general house-chores and taking care of one’s own washing/cleaning etc) everybody gets paid for “commercial” work, so that an honest balance exists, no freeloaders but also no overworked and underappreciated partners or volunteers. The permanent and long-term residents do share the task of keeping the place clean, nice, taking care of the garden etc. Of course big jobs could be farmed out. In the case of external exploitation and events like seminars, workshops etc. the work connected with that are the responsibility of the organisers or the event-manager in what is called a profit/cost centre approach. This basically means that for instance the whole catering for events would be handled as a separate business (even outsourced to a local caterer), the same goes for the hotel/B&B, the rental of bikes, the camping facilities or the tennis-courts.
For other services and facilities a similar economic model can be developed, an in-house profit centre approach with small in-house businesses, like the vegetable garden, the little camping that we could have etc.. There are many other options for activities, some are already mentioned. Think about animals, rental activities, an alternative school, internet café, B&B, library/bookshop, artisan shops, website server facilities, gallery, summer camps, survival camps, some small production facilities, festivals, bakery, all depending on people and space available, but with a sound economic basis.
Although the facilities would allow a more full-scale horeca (hotel/restaurant) business, that is not what is intended. The focus is on being a place available for likeminded activities, community activities, workshops etc. The facilities should be used to support that first and those activities have priority over incidental commercial exploitation of hotel/restaurant etc. This is not an iron rule, the need to make a living or sustain the whole operation does count, but we don’t want to be a hotel or B&B per se.
Alas, money does count, so we have to develop a kind of business model. It would be nice if we could do without, but the experience of most communal living schemes is that money in the end is a reality check, and having a sound economic base is also a stability factor.
It is of course possible to jointly buy such a place, just share the costs and use the premises as you like, but then there would be great inequality between the partners, as one would use it a lot, another hardly at all and all pay the same. So a model needs to be developed to deal with this. There are other possibilities and options, but what follows is a straightforward economic model, taking into account not only running costs (variable and fixed) but also capital costs. It looks a little like a time-share plan, but with a much greater flexibility in how and when you use the place.
Suppose (it actually is around this figure) such a place would cost around 450.000 euro including surveying, necessary adaptations, legal costs, eco-installations, audio/video, TV, internet, tools, local transport (bikes, small van) etc. (we hope it is less, but as a model we use this figure). Running cost (insurance/basic maintenance/basic management) would be around 15.000 euro a year plus 5000 in local taxes plus 10000 in water/energy/gas, so 30000 running costs.
There would be two kind of partners, the core members who live there permanently (which means more than 9 months a year) with their own room or apartment and visiting partners, who are visiting regularly and participating actively in the project. Of course there could be other incidental guests and maybe even sponsors, but let’s start with the two partner categories. The resident partners would contribute say 45.000 euro for a 10% share, the visiting partners 22,500 euro, both would benefit from special and attractive partner rates for housing and other rentals (for workshops etc.). This difference between residents and non-residents is necessary, as residents are likely to contribute more to the overall value of the operation and should be compensated more if the value (as represented by the share-price) goes up. This facilitates exits, but also upgrades or downgrades from resident to visiting partner are possible. Visiting partners will have a minimum commitment (say 1000 euro, but could be less) to visit or stay or use the facilities, in order to ensure their involvement. This would guarantee a certain income level for running costs, and stimulate involvement and cooperation. Although even with this minimum use there would be a small profit, this is not really an investment project because in the most negative case, there would only be a small compensation for the capital. With reasonable use however, and some outside rental, there could be a real and significant return on investment. Realistically however and to be on the safe side, partners should reckon with the investment and a few thousand per year, less than having your own second home, comparable to having another car or boat.
The principal idea: the use of the complex for the partners/owners would not be free, everybody pays for their use, based on the actual costs of power/heating/maintenance plus a surcharge for the use of the capital and the cost of managing the place. This sound overly complex, but is in fact a fair way to ascertain that everybody is treated the same, money wise at least.
All this income should add up to a (taxable) income for the foundation or association that actually handles the lease from the corporation that owns the place. At the end of the year a certain lease amount would go to the corporation, if there would be a profit that could be paid out as dividend or used for expansion etc.
In other words, those who use the facilities pay for it, but also receive a share in what the project brings in financial terms and partake in the potential increasing value of the property. That looks a bit complex, but is a way to ascertain a appropriate cost allocation and pricing for the usage.
Some more details about the exploitation-model as this is a complex issue. The place would be primarily for the partners, either resident or visiting, but space not used would rent out at market rates/prices in a commercial setup. The availability of at least some lodging facilities is essential for workshops etc. This makes it hard to assign each partner their own room, with 20 or more partners there would be no free space for events. Resident partners have their own room, visiting partners could have a semi-owned room, furnish and style it as they like, but have to accept and accommodate rental of their place to outsiders when they are not there. This is a sensitive issue, some people insist on having their own place, their own energy etc. and that is important, but can you realistically expect such a thing for 45.000 euro? And even if there were enough rooms, cabins or apartments, having half or more of them empty all the time doesn’t bring much energy. The setup of a back lot or park full with odd caravans, huts and yurts, half empty and untidy is maybe OK for Christiania or Ruigoord, but not for a serious place for workshops etc. of some standing. And given the scale of this project, with some 10-15 adults (hopefully plus some children) and 10-15 outside visiting partners, the available place for lodging seminar guest, even with some dormitory facilities, is already limited.
Now let’s translate this in actual money. For example, a non-working permanent resident, using say 10% of the facilities (m2-wise) all the time, would have to pay 10% of the total costs. Given our model and investment figures mentioned above, this would amount to an estimated 4000 euro per year or proportionally for part of the year. Those visiting for a weekend or short stays would have to pay a reasonable amount per room/person, like 10 euro a day per room plus 10 euro per person, excluding food etc. Outsiders would maybe pay double that amount. The same goes for using the facilities like the workshop/conference room, think of a weekend charge of 500 euro, half of what a comparable outside place would cost. In general the partners/shareholders would have a considerable advantage over outsiders, they would pay far less. Every partner can have a limited number of people (direct family, lovers, close friends) to share this advantage.
The congress/workshop/community space facilities (for at least 30 people with for single day events up to 50, more with rented tents etc.) and the free space outside should be available for all kinds of events, partners have access to them for a reasonable price, well below what renting an external venue would cost, but have to coordinate timing etc. also with external renters. If a partner brings in external renters (and is not involved in organising the event to qualify for partners pricing), a commission would be paid. If the rental business or just keeping the place managed, cleaned etc. requires someone to dedicate time, this should be paid for or compensated. This might actually mean that a person or couple will live there permanently and receive a salary, but also generate extra income to cover that, again a profit centre model would apply.
There are shared facilities, a swimming pool, maybe a sauna, library, toolshop etc. that would be available at no extra charge, being part of the core facility. For those facilities not used and thus free for external rent there are other, market-conform prices and an exploitation model that would at least compensate the workers/custodian involved and optimally generate some profit for the whole.
The whole proposal maybe sounds like an economic endeavour, but a solid economical basis is necessary to guarantee the quietude and peace of mind that should be the hallmark of an intentional community. It definitely goes beyond the time-share concept, but there is a holding BV that is responsible and shareholders that are supposed to participate in some way, so this goes beyond an investment, it’s a commitment.
Although optimally all people involved should have the same share and equal rights, this turns out to be a bit impractical. Negotiating about the purchase and making the necessary legal arrangements like setting up a corporation (BV) with 20 people becomes an organisational nightmare. So we are starting with a core group of about 6 people that put up the money and make some key decisions. They are, however committed to selling their shares in the venture to new partners, so that a more evenly shared ownership evolves.
This is a crucial question, for do we have the right to judge others, as we realise we ourselves are as fallible as any. However, it makes sense to have some kind of profile for potential partners. We are looking for another 10 to 15, maybe more people to join, willing to invest 20-30.00 euro as a visiting partner or 45-55/000 euro for permanent residence who are independent yet social human beings, spiritually inclined, open to mild criticism and willing to engage in community interaction. Age doesn’t matter and kids are appreciated and OK. Some special skills are welcome, but mostly we like a track record of being a survivor, with a positive outlook on life, broad minded and with a global and eco awareness, but not religiously so. The proposition would be ideal for people with already an established reputation as writer, scholar, teacher, conference-organiser, workshop promoter, eco-gardener, artist, artisan or knowledge worker, ICT professional and such. Those who already have regular workshops/meetings/conferences going or can use the space for art-projects would benefit the most from the whole setup, as they would have a home-base venue of their own.
One point about the number of partners. A couple is basically 2 persons, but as they use only one subspace then the total number of partners could go up to 15 or so and then the stake per partner could go down or there could be a special category for couples participating. This point, however, is still very flexible.
Partners should (optimally) have a regular income or money earning trade, not depending on social security (uitkering), have a sound insurance (health) and retirement situation (AOW/pension) and some idea about what to do there, either as a visiting partner or resident. It should be possible to live there with not more than an AOW level income. Please note that building a local clientele for activities like massage or energy work would not be easy and require fluent German or English.
Maybe it is helpful to explain what attract me in this setup and what I want to do. As I have a small apartment in Amsterdam centre, but used to have the larger Myster center where I could receive up to a hundred people, guests from abroad etc. I am looking for a new place to entertain my worldwide circle of friends, as guests, for workshops, concerts, teachings etc. At http://www.mindlift.tv/ one can get an impression of the people I am talking about. Being able to offer them a nice place, opportunity to schedule workshops, rituals etc. would be a means to stay in contact with this global community of writers, teachers, friends. My extensive library, now mostly in boxes, would be an asset for the place, also my audio-video editing equipment for professional productions, my art collection, statues, tools, Tipi etc. I also like to have a working place for writing and editing video, but still in a community setting. Furthermore, I would like to be able to invite my family (kids, grandchildren) to join me for holidays or special events, do projects with them. I would keep the Amsterdam apartment as a pied-a-terre and legal residence, travel a lot, but would spend about half the time in the community. I am not interested being the custodian or working there, but would be available for incidental projects and partake in regular chores like housekeeping.
Is to live together with others and also having my private space. I am selling my house in Zwolle this year and would like to have a smaller place somewhere to put my personal things. Apart from that I would like to have some space in order to work with people, mostly on a one-to-one base, doing therapy, healing and counselling and a space to paint, eventually giving workshops or courses.
I cannot predict how much time of the year I would be around, since travelling also is part of the things I want to do. That does not mean that I would not feel responsible for my share in the property as a whole and to connect with the others involved, in order to build up a living space together where it is pleasant to meet each other and to be.
Since I left my parents at 17 I lived for exactly 20 years in several, very different kind of communities. Ranging from 3 to over a 100 people, from the heart of Amsterdam to the countryside of Colorado, in groups both very spiritual and very down-to-earth, woman-only and with or without kids. Those were 20 wonderful years and somehow seem to have fit my versatility.
Since almost 7 years I live on my own now. All in all a very good experience as well but already from the start I knew this was not my final situation. Probably it is for that reason that already since long I am active in the Dutch en the Global ecovillage movement, dreaming of an ecological and spiritual community somewhere in a green surroundings. Preferably in the Netherlands but since our country is so small and lots of efforts to start an ecovillage ended either in a stubborn bureaucracy or in financial impossibilities I slowly start to widen my horizon, direction Belgium or Germany.
I graduated as a gardener, landscape architect, Permaculture designer and Feng Shui consultant. So overall you could say that my path is to co-create our surroundings and add quality to the life of other beings. No surprise: having a large garden with room for fruits, herbs, veggies and quite corners for relaxation and meditation is a must, although I am realistic enough not to opt for a self-sustaining way of living. In living together with others I most enjoyed the common meals, sharing daily life (including emotions from time to time), accepting each other more or less as brothers and sisters and the spontaneous activities like going for a walk, sharing a cup of tea and a story, playing a game, working in the garden or just simply hanging in front of the TV together. This I miss so much living alone. Or at least; when you live alone you always have to arrange those things. So maybe I'm just being lazy… ; -)
For many people interested in community living, there is the underlying motive that they are looking for a place to grow old in a supportive environment, with friends, freedom and creative and intellectual stimulation. This is an acceptable motive, as long as it’s clear and in the open, but often we hide this beneath altruistic and noble stories about helping humanity. And practically, it means we have to ascertain access for wheelchairs and other adaptations.
For many, the idea to have a place where they can grow old with likeminded people is very attractive, the baby boomers are near that point. It would be best, however, if people of all ages would participate, children are an asset and keep us grounded in reality.
There is the idea, that such a place/center/habitat could be the nucleus of a series of similar habitats based on the same principle, allowing partners to occasionally shift to another location, eg. in Belgium, Germany, France or elsewhere. Once the first place would be operational, this idea could be taken wider, new partners found and more locations, but still with this tribal community idea as a basis. In that way a group of habitats/estates could be formed, allowing more people to participate and more diversity. Setups like the Global Ecotechnics group www.globalecotechnics.com/ with locations all around the world kind of operate like that. Especially the creative individuals we are targeting might like that idea, having more homes and places to live and thus a larger and more international community.
There are many opinions about how to structure this legally. It feels, however, the most logical and clear, not going into overly complex tax schedules, to set up a corporation (BV or GmbH) for the ownership, and we have actually done that. Shares can be transferred easily (to the other owners or the corporation itself), the tax situation is clear (corporation pays tax on profits), the corporation can borrow or lend money, everybody has equal right (if all shares are the same) and the corporation could lease the property to a foundation, association or firm, whatever comes up. Shareholders can not be kicked out, only bought out, but we have to reckon with tax laws and the whole thing needs to manageable.
A commercial corporation (Myster property BV) has now already been set up to buy, maintain and develop this project into a multi-purpose community project, with the ownership eventually divided in 15 to 20 or more equal parts/shares. Shares could be sold, based upon an agreed value proposition, but only to the BV, other shareholders or to new partners acceptable to the others on a consent basis. Having a BV makes this easy, transfer of shares would allow flexible exit in eventualities. The BV aims (but not fanatically) at a commercial exploitation leasing the premises to the association or foundation that is the actual user-group, rendering a small yield (ROI), withheld for further investment or paid out to the shareholders. In that way people would have some return on their investment to pay for the interest plus potentially the value of the property and therefore the value of the shares goes up.
But to get back to the broader view, getting a group together and finding and defining the common ground and spiritual perspective is more important now than the financial details. So if you are interested to join in any capacity or want more info, just email us at
www.lucsala.nl/community.htm has the latest version of this proposal, as it is updated as we go. The Dutch version is at www.lucsala.nl/community2.htm and the academy plan at www.lucsala.nl/academy.htm, the Recke place is at www.lucsala.nl/recke.htm
In connection with our community plans, for the longer term we are aiming at expanding our plans we have so far developed of creating a facility where likeminded scholars, writers, artists and researchers would have a common ground, to work, to teach, do workshops, therapy, have a atelier, be residents etc. We think about developing an academy like of operation.
This what we could tentatively call an Academy of Original Wisdom/ Academie für ursprungliche Weisheit with a curriculum of healing, spiritual, holistic medicine, ecological, anthropological, esoteric and psychology courses, workshops, seminars, optimally covering a very broad spectrum. The exact curriculum will depend primarily on what the partners, those people participating in the whole venture, will bring. It will be their Academy, their place to teach, study, work, research (especially in ecological issues, solar energy, nature, biology and meet likeminded people.
The partners should have more than an intellectual or friendship link with the place. Therefore a lease of the place is less desirable, we want partners to have an equity stake in the place, an economic as well as an intellectual or emotional link. They should consider this academy as their own, of course with some organization and structures concerning the way it is managed and run, but with enough freedom to experiment, not only academically, but in art, culture, healing, ritual, experiential work, theatre, earth work. A yearly festival or open week for the public, inviting groups to come and exchange, occasional ritual meetings (full moon), anything ranging from yoga and shamanistic work to theatre, film making, silence retreats, medical treatment, massage, eco-camps, walking or biking events in the surroundings, a lot of plans have been discussed and no doubt more will emerge. There must be a sound economic basis to this, activities like catering, facility rental etc. would be run like independent profit centers within a larger (legal) structure.
Setting up the legal and organizational structure is not an easy task, entry and exit strategies, decision structures, financial commitments etc. have to be clear and well understood by all. At this moment, we have no idea about the cost of the place, investment necessary, yearly costs, taxes, potential for generating income etc. This also depends on how our plans would fit within what the owner and city want and is willing to accept etc.
A good relationship with the people around is essential. The neighbours, the citizens, authorities, etc., this involves more than an occasional meeting or participation in a seminar, it requires well planned involvement, an exchange with local cultural and ecological organizations, the Academy should be embedded in the local scene and yet be a global meeting place.
more on: www.myster.nl/commun.htm