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.

Honoring my late partner, John Williamson

I was pursuing the American Dream at full throttle, working hard and playing hard, but coming no closer to real happiness. I was trapped in the web of conventional wisdom, which is far more conventional than wise. What I was looking for was the form of success I call the “tomorrow,” that elusive happiness that always hovers one more day away from realization. Oh if I could only have that new car, that private plane, that house on the hill. And when I got it, there hovering before my eyes was another tomorrow success, mockingly urging me toward the next big stepping stone to sybaritic bliss.

I didn’t want to admit that I was failing in achieving my innermost dreams.  Where would I start to realize my inner most dreams of being creative, happy, loved and feeling peaceful?  As a so-called expert in achieving my dreams, I was a sought after speaker and role model while most other women chose to stay home.  Yet a voice, vague but insistent, kept telling me that the next big step to happiness resided inside myself. It was something that overtime could not tame, money could not buy, and fame could not secure. Yet how could this be? The indoctrinating drumbeat of conventional wisdom has lyrics: “You were born bald, toothless, helpless, and broke, but you sure as Hell shouldn’t have to die that way!”

The first day John and I met he recognized my great values and at the same time saw through my inner weaknesses.  Instantly he intuitively knew how to lead and guide me to repair these.  I yearned for inner peace that at age twenty six was painfully absent.  The two of us matched up our strengths to become two halves of a perfect relationship. I discovered something amazing…that success was not a possession, it was a characteristic, and it is one we are born with. Success is something we actually have to be programmed not to achieve! Success, you see, is natural, and we are raised from an early age to “rise above” nature.

John, like other great leaders, learned his craft by overcoming adversity. He came from such a poor environment that he didn’t have food to eat at times.  He relied on catching fish or killing meat, daily or selling bootlegged whiskey. The family was so poor that their cabin only had a dirt floor.

Attending school was a ten mile hike through the swamps in Alabama each way.  These hardships became the mother of invention, and how John learned to build everything by hand from scratch.  Practice would later deem him a terrific pioneer and entrepreneur and ultimately be known for his ability to solve problems.  His mind was brilliant and being so isolated it gave him ample time and space to think.  He never carried any homework from school but still received all A’s on his report card.

In the sixties all of our friends and acquaintances were so unhappy and seemed quite dysfunctional. After much research with our highly professional folks we determined it to be caused by sexual repression that had steered people away from Mother Nature’s proscribed pathways.

His background prepared him to create our own alternate lifestyle. Even though it involved a community of people it was still a system that John had a firm grasp of.  He developed his inner ‘Shaman’ which is devoid of a false self. In doing so, he bypassed the ego.

Therefore, we created Sandstone Retreat, removed our own masks and left others with no place to run and hide, leaving them to face their inner truths. John continued to remind me and others that we had all the answers inside ourselves. As soon as we accepted that reality we would be on the highway to repairing ourselves.

John supported the idea that women should be running the world.  In the sixties, women’s ideas and principles were incubating and not yet ready to be woven into the cultural fabric.  The men took our culture to war, while espousing “make more money” and love the American dream with all the toys, automobiles and more things money can buy. That scenario was not going to make women happy.  Now that women have stated their list of principles and values some are; intimacy, caring, love, compassion, freedom, owning sexuality, peace, happiness and full cooperation with each other. Competition tears at our souls and is highly destructive.

God bless John for bringing his higher self and wisdom to share with the world.