This project is an experiment, and being here makes you a part of it; so please make yourself at home and share your gifts and dreams, creativity and imagination with us. Your feedback is a gift, please let us know ways we can improve this sanctuary. We already have changed lots of things based on visitors’ comments, and the project is more efficient and joyful as a result. You can share your suggestions verbally or in written form.

The above is what greets visitors on the wall of the kitchen. The tour of Possibility Alliance explains the vision in great detail, and so does Ethan’s new zine people can get by mail, per request (PA, 28408 Frontier Lane, La Plata, MO 63549). The following is based on my notes from the tour, from an early draft of the zine, and from listening to the interviews below. A caveat: the reality does not necessarily jive with the vision. This would be true of any ongoing experiment.

This is an experiment; we make a lot of mistakes and have a lot of eureka moments. You are part of the experiment. Ask questions, give feedback.

We have been inspired by a community in France called the Ark (l’Arche), which is a Gandhian project based on the gift economy and radical simplicity; they end up giving away once a year all their resources. Vision without work is a dream, vision plus work transforms the world.

The founders lived at the Ark for a year, and brought many of the community patterns with them. Also the use of bells.

PA’s mission is simple: living for the upliftment of all creation, to be vessels of love. This mission is understandable by all people and appeals to all worldviews.

When people are willing to give their lives for war, and no people are willing to give their lives for peace, war wins.

Less money, but more of the world we want to see.

No goals; keep attention on the means, and ends happen.

The Experiment: to feel more human, to feel more alive. If something we do does not make us feel more human and alive, we change it.

We want people who come here to follow their heart-path and we’ll support them so they can do it in the most mindful way, and allow our heart-vision to be altered by theirs. If something doesn’t feel right, you stop and do something else that brings joy.

We are going for a restored and healthy earth and creation, where all people have what they need to share their unique gifts with the world.

Life at Possibility Alliance attempts to balance these five practices:

* Necessary simplicity, accompanied by the smallest eco-footprint of all American intentional communities. To share resources, we have to simplify. To have peace, we have to simplify. This is a beauty-driven project (not duty driven).

* Service — meeting people where they are at, and being of use to them. Do what they need. If an Amish neighbor wants a conventional house, help him build it anyway. Karmic yoga.

* Social engagement and activism: here people have an agenda, standing against the systems that get in their way, but showing love and appreciation to all bystanders and police; PA people have demonstrated against a new nuclear weapons plant being built in Kansas City. It’s about helping others be what they want to see in the world. It’s about heart transformation.

* Inner work — we are committed to being less fearful and selfish, and more compassionate. Striving to become more kind, honest, generous, integrous, healthy. The morning silences, the bell of mindfulness, spiritual readings and discussions, wellbeing meetings, and other personal work aid us in moving along.

* Silliness, celebration, gratitude — via music, appreciation and gratitude circles, games, being odd, spontaneity, celebrating shabbat.

We want to become self-sufficient, live in harmony with creation, and inspire our culture to return to a land and craft based society. Our systems are inspired by permaculture; its principles invite us to emulate nature, produce zero waste, and value diversity. We are making consumer culture irrelevant, and are creating a culture of contentment. No longer passive observers, we create our homes, food, entertainment, art, music and life! We live under the poverty line, as tax resisters. Integrity = words matching actions.

Making sacrifices: giving up the lesser for the greater; aligning one’s life with one’s values. We are looking for a way to live so that all life can thrive. The community is intoxication-free (wine and home-made cider ok for celebratory dinners). We have to meet the other. We meet nature “on the way to the toilet.”

We practice the gift economy, tying into nature as our bank account. To give like the sun: sharing creates abundance. The gift economy works when we reduce our own needs and tie ourselves with the creation’s economy (the food we grow, wood we gather, water we catch, sunshine we collect). Living beings don’t thrive in a culture of excess.


Here is an Ethan Hughes interview from 2009, speaking more about the vision:

A short video and article in local paper, from August 2012:

More about the permaculture center, and gift economy:

More pictures, incl. the infamous washing set up:

More on Superheroes, and vision (2008):

Recent interview:


5 Responses to “Possibility Alliance vision”

  1. Scott Mann Says:

    Thank you for linking to my interview with Ethan Hughes. Of all the episodes in 2012, that was one of the standouts. An inspiring vision for how possibilities are available if we seek them, serve our own mission, and meet people where they’re at.

  2. ML Says:

    Why must all such projects be mixed up with empty phrases like “karmic yoga” and “value diversity”? isn’t it possible to live simply without being a college-rhetoric hippie?

  3. leavergirl Says:

    Welcome, ML. Well, yeah, good point. Parts of the alternative culture are just as silly as parts of mainstream.

  4. CS Says:

    Valuing diversity is sound ecological practice- ecosystems are stronger and more resilient with more diversity, as are social systems and agricultural systems. Karmic yoga is as empty or as full as you make it- to me it means doing good is good for you and for others, and the yoga implies its a constant practice.

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