To Thine Own Self Be True

We humans have suffered much and the world has suffered alongside us. Much of this pain is rooted in our failure to take an intuitive approach to the essential questions of life, such as:
What is my place in the order of nature?
What is my place in the order of society?
Who am I?
We have been programmed to suppress important components of our individuality, to feel that significant parts of our makeup are shameful, an enemy to ourselves and others. We try to lord ourselves over others; our women, our animals, the other races of man, and nature itself. We take comfort in the notion the entire universe was made solely for our benefit, the only species that really counts. We make rules to keep everyone in their place and everything runs smoothly…or does it?

Take a good look around you. Is anything running smoothly?

The human being is a puzzle, and one of the wonders of nature is the odyssey of personal growth in which a child assembles those pieces and becomes a whole person. Yet we have denied ourselves some of the pieces that we should be fitting into their unique naturally-determined places as part of our growth. The substitute pieces we grab for cannot be forced into these existing holes, so are tacked on elsewhere, an unnatural addition corrupting the unfolding pattern of our nature even more.

John and I were acutely aware of this problem and sought a solution. We began with experiments in recapturing self worth at its source, especially our craving for genuine intimacy and expressive individuality. We discovered that society has two irreconcilable viewpoints on sex, lauding its abstract expression through romantic arts while oppressing its concrete expression through a rigid matrix of social mores. Sex became both a charming notion and a necessary evil. Thus as part of human endeavor least able to fit into a rigid framework that “civilized” society dictates, sexual intimacy is viewed suspiciously as a beast to be controlled, admired when needed but left locked in a cage as we put on our tie, tighten our corsets and try to pretend we’re not members of the animal kingdom.

After we put the first cracks in conventional wisdom that was more conventional than wise, we came to see that the institutionalized repression of human nature was destroying more than interpersonal relationships. Man’s distorted self image threatened the very health of the planet. The same process of self-discovery that fueled Sandstone Foundation could be applied to an urgently needed realignment of our relationship with Planet Earth.

We need to stop seeking fulfillment through the materials we own, the relationships we dominate and the wilderness we subdue. We must seek healthy and interdependent relationships with ourselves, our companions, our communities and our world. We must find more of what we need within ourselves rather than trying to wrest fulfillment by alternative means from the limited resources of nature.

Embracing an Alternate Lifestyle

The Alternative Lifestyle

As a single and successful farm girl of 24, I managed to survive and thrive in the male dominated world of sales. I loved a challenge and took a position with a major corporation where I soon was a major player. Needless to say, my rise to prominence put a lot of men’s noses out of joint, and they made not-so-subtle suggestions to me that I should stay home and raise kids. I told them it was a great idea, and I could hardly wait to ignore it!

Yet even after establishing a stellar sales record and winning many awards, the so-called “American Dream” was looking more like a nightmare. I was working harder and living less. I found being cooped up in an office, no matter how spacious, was intolerable, so I would drive to see my clients. That presented another problem: suffering through the congestion on L.A. freeways at least three hours a day. Yes, I was independent and owned my business and could buy what I wanted, but this was not my idea of freedom or happiness.

When the pain of schlepping through this sterile, cold, dog eat dog environment began wearing me thinner than a one-sided dime, I knew I had to find a way out. This job was turning me into a robot, and I didn’t fight to leave one sort of zombie existence just to find another. I began to dream of a new and better way of life. I had the spunk and the motivation…all I needed was the method.

A short time thereafter I was on a sales appointment and met that mystical person, that sense of completion, in a man named John Williamson. I call him a man…he was more like an idea, a movement, a category of one. I came to sell him an insurance policy and he sold me a great destiny.
We found that we wanted the same things in life. So, with John’s engineering and problem solving background, we agreed to design and create an alternate lifestyle. We knew there would be controversy and our new ideas wouldn’t fly in the face of established religious beliefs and old cultural conditioning.

For me personally, I must embrace change and re-evaluate my principals. I was hesitant towards an alternate life style but, at the same time, I was seeing grand rewards. Towards a New Psychology of Being by Abraham Maslow provided us the knowledge that humans actually had a hierarchy of basic needs to be filled. Sex was near the top of the list.

So John and I created Sandstone Retreat. It was a dream for me that had come true. When I awoke, I found myself in a “back to nature setting”, a love community like the one described in Robert Heinlein’s book, Stranger in a Strange Land. We were all nude and practiced open sexuality without guilt or shame, and we were free from jealousy and possessiveness after shedding some raw emotion. Honesty, openness, and mutual respect were our garments, so we had little need for the curtain of privacy. Love is the most powerful emotion on the planet. It begins with learning to love ourselves, and it naturally follows that the love with us attracts the love of others. The rest takes care of itself.

An alternate lifestyle was attractive to our Sandstone membership. All shared in living a happier and healthier life with the opportunity to better understand ourselves. We learned how to be our true self (rather than a false ego personality) and grow into an inter-dependent person, and the best part was that we were sexually liberated.

What Is Life Without Rules?

There were hundreds if not thousands of laws that were strictly enforced at Sandstone. Without their help, there would be no cooperation between plants and animals (You give me oxygen and I’ll give you carbon dioxide), and the ice cubes in our drinks would sink rather than float. Without the law of gravity, even the cuckoo clocks wouldn’t work! It was our zeal to obey such laws that forced us to throw off the pretentious and frigid rules of “polite society.” Nature was invited back to impose its time-honored order and pattern. Emotions were allowed to do what they were designed to do, bodies were allowed to function according to plan, and stress resumed its ancient role as a response to life threatening emergencies rather than trying to be a lifestyle. In short we saw that man’s “conquest over nature” was a lot of hogwash trumped up by an antacid company to sell more product. We wanted to take less Pepto Bismol and let nature win a few rounds.

Laws that make us who and what we are rather than something we’re not were just fine with us. John and I spent the better part of our adult lives trying to rediscover obeying the laws of nature. Many of them had been forgotten in our mad haste towards “progress.” Retrieving these from the dustbin of history meant discarding a lot of foolish edicts and mandates crafted by folks afraid music might (gasp!) lead to DANCING!

Because we are born with our human nature, children must be constantly watched and thrashed until they learn not to listen to their inner song and begin marching to the drumbeat of conventional wisdom. Bit by bit they shed the nature of “human nature” and they nearly lose the human along with the nature. “Almost” I say because the stress, regret, repressed rage, hidden longings, and feelings that there should be something more than this keep throbbing in the breast along the despairing trudge to the grave. How could we be happy living with a false self known as the ego? When the ego said; no you are not allowed to feel good, we at Sandstone said, “If it feels good do it!” We did it and it felt good, which was living proof we were on the right path. Our hearts only spoke the truth!

This situation screamed for an alternative lifestyle that by passed the negative ego and moved to our heart where we could strengthen our spirit. Our heart is five hundred times more powerful than our brains! Now we would listen to our hearts and be free to enjoy living daily in a state of happiness and joyful bliss, with the help of our environment; nestled in a quiet and beautiful natural setting called Sandstone Retreat.

Our discovery; we no longer had a need for rules that would simply infringe on our natural high and quash the inner joy and happiness, which was our God given right, and heartfelt by everyone in the community, leading us into a brave new love community. From what I know, it appears that we should feel good all of the time and it is possible! Am I wrong?

A couple of points that could be interpreted as rules at Sandstone were; don’t force yourself on anyone, and no show of violence will be tolerated. Any display of either one would be grounds to cancel memberships. We scheduled Monday night meetings to hear and clear any grievances from the family members. Any further questions were about scheduling of tasks to be done.