Updated: Jul 15
by Andrew Dunn, co-Village Lead
We’re moving to where? To do what?!
At the height of the pandemic, amidst growing cabin-fever and personal purpose confusion, I learned that our team had been invited to explore moving to a friend’s small retreat center in Southwestern New Mexico for the summer and fall.
It was one of those surprise moments over dinner where my soul perked up and reignited a fire in me, fantasizing about the potentiality of a whole new life situation. We slipped out of California lockdown through the Highway 8 portal to pay an overnight visit, brainstorming between electric charging stations on what we might create and who we would have to be to set a context for folks to come to the land and discover deeper synergies with our mission.
Descending upon the valley in the shadow of the oldest national park in the country (Gila National Forest), I was struck by the spaciousness in all directions. Azure appeared as a mothership at the center of a rolling landscape surrounded on all sides by hills, framed by one ultra-prominent mountain to the South, and another to the West that reminds me of a drawing I made as a child. Sensing the overwhelming magic first-hand on that stay, we chose to step into the mystery.
Having worked for a number of early stage projects, it felt like startup political party was raising a seed round of funding. But instead of dollars, it was possibilities afforded by living on and in connection with the land. For me, activating Azure was the ultimate 30th birthday gift: a beautiful opportunity to test-drive living in deeper intimacy with nature, participate in the development and stewardship of an intentional village, and create special experiences for new friends and old. I sensed Azure would call me into my greatness, disrupt habits that were no longer serving me, and provide valuable life experiences. It would be an adventure. I love adventure :)
Fast forward through hashing out all the details involved with starting a temporary eco-village in the high desert. We put out the word and started the application process. On June 21st, we moved out with three new Collaborative Residents, expanding our One Nation core team from four to seven. My midnight arrival was greeted by hazy bands of the Milky Way.
Those first three weeks have gone by in a flash. Unloading and onboarding. Cleaning out the apricot tree. Sitting with the juniper trees. Energizing sunrise dance sets and delicious sunset dinners. Daily tears and laughter. Figuring out garbage/recycling/compost. Quests around the region. Challenging group processing. Exhilarating wildlife sightings. Construction cuts and blisters. Listening to the wind and feeling the thunder. Learning to hydrate. Studying local flora and fauna. Circling practice and jam sessions. Kundalini and Yin yoga instruction. Iterating our processes. Spectacular evenings under the stars. Honoring the land. Moving the mission forward. Getting to know the locals. Hosting guests. Meeting the moment of historical changes. Pivots. Mourning. Realizing the interconnectedness of the web of life around us (crumbs eaten by mouse eaten by rattlesnake). Heartstorming on the possibilities with friends and family and community. Lots of "firsts" out here!
As Chapter One comes to a close, I’m feeling settled (finally in my bell tent!), coherent, balanced. As co-Village Lead, I’m stoked about getting to do things like plan local excursions and evening programming, recruit collaborative residents, create guest experiences, learn how to use my hands and body again, and share stories from the ground. As our community of practice continues to grow organically, I’m ready for the challenges and opportunities that await.
Stay tuned for more updates! Enter your name and email at the bottom of our website to stay on the pulse of what is happening at Azure and ways to get invovled.
If you’d like to join the fun, there are several ways to participate in Azure Village between now and November. We are inviting:
Full-time Collaborative Residents to fulfill functional roles for multi-month periods of time. Check out our available roles and fill out an Initial Interest Form if you feel moved! Some of the highest priority roles include Social Media, Technical Administrator, and Researchers, Program Managers & Outreach Coordinators. We are also open to remote collaboration.
Guests to visit us for short retreats to experience our Community of Practice, co-work on personal projects, participate in special programming around nature connection and movement, or further integrate and collaborate with the One Nation team.
Donors to help us establish the village through lending physical infrastructure, donating infrastructure, or participating financially to support the development of the village this summer