It was two weeks ago that we left our friends’ home in suburban Melbourne and now we’re back with friends again on an intentional community in the beautiful Numinbah Valley of southeast Queensland. The girls are happy to be playing with one of their best friends, and I’m happy to be reunited with one of my best friends too.

Numinbah Valley, southeast Queensland, June 2014
We've named the big cliff that overlooks the property "The Watcher" because it feels like it is overseeing all the community's activities with a benevolent gaze.

While there are so many advantages to sharing space and resources, living on an intentional community can be hard work! We participate in seemingly endless discussions to build conscious relationships, we maintain the gardens and chase livestock so that we build a greater degree of self-sufficiency, we join in the chores and add to the vision and in all of that — we build a love for each other that absorbs each other’s shortcomings.

I don’t know if anyone who has grown up in a traditional nuclear family can effortlessly adjust to community living. I believe that my past history of living in dorms and small communities in Africa, as well as all the communal living I’ve enjoyed since living on the road has given me a lot of experience, but I still have so much to learn! Our current combination of eight children and seven adults creates so many different relationship variables — as well as noise, mess, laughter and fun!

It takes time and work to get used to the constant kitchen chores. We adults need to learn to relate respectfully to the children who are still learning how to express emotion and communicate their needs and desires. Sometimes the practicalities of dealing with water, electricity and finances can highlight differences in opinion among the adults, but with an intention of overcoming the challenges, we all grow.

I don’t know how much of our family’s future will be spent at this specific community. But I appreciate the skills I learn in relating and offer my energy for the benefit of the future community members, knowing that it’s a fantastic investment for all.