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Ten Awesome Alternative Lifestyles

Ten Awesome Alternative Lifestyles

Have you ever wanted to drop out of mainstream society and live differently? Have you dreamed of not having to work, taking it easy, and meeting great people while enjoying the fruits of the Earth? There are alternative lifestyles everywhere, just waiting for those who want in. Here’s a guide to the ten of the best:

1. Ashrams, Temples & Communes

temple

    Hindu ashrams are known for offering a serene contemplative life while also engaging in healthy, active community work. You often don’t need any money to participate, assuming you can help out with chores, are an asset to the community and get along well with others. If you have a small donation to give at the beginning of your stay, your contribution will help offset community costs and help solidify a place for yourself in the community. Buddhist temples offer a similar lifestyle, as do some Sufi retreats. Modern Christian monasteries often allow one to live in total silence, which can be really nice if you’re dropping out to ‘get away from it all,’ including talking to people. If there is a local mystical Christian congregation in your area, they may have connections to continually operating monasteries that offer spots to folks on retreat. Life can be nice at spiritual communes, involving daily practice, working in the garden and kitchen, and countless spiritual and self-help conversations with others.

    2. The Rainbow Family

    rainbowfamily

      The Rainbow Family is a loose association of hippie tribes with their roots in the 1960s and ’70s. Many people of all ages have kept up the ideal hippie lifestyle by traveling from place to place, forming regional gatherings, and living outside mainstream society. Some of these tribes have permanent camps or are based in certain towns, while others are purely nomadic. Bartering is the primary means of obtaining necessary goods. One quickly learns how to camp, live outdoors, go a while without a shower, and be in the moment. There are lots of adventures to be had on the hippie trail, from listening to old stories about the counterculture, to singing great songs by the fire, to escaping bad weather and storms with minimal gear and shelter.

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      If cleanliness is your thing, you may tire of this very outdoor lifestyle. But it you love the great outdoors and can imagine yourself dancing naked around a large campfire with 100 drums beating around you, then this may be a great way to live for a while. These folks travel to and camp in some of the prettiest country in the U.S. It’s hard to argue in favor of rent payments back home when your camp for two weeks has a view of the Tetons and overlooks a waterfall. You can visit a regional gathering or the big national gathering to get a taste, but I suggest you connect with the tribe closest to you and get to know some of the individuals involved. That way you’ll feel more at home and can camp with your peeps at the next gathering. If you get serious about the lifestyle, you’ll bump into many opportunities to join a wandering tribe.

      3. Retreat Centers

      retreatcenter

        There are many educational retreat centers in the U.S. and abroad where the public can go for a week or a weekend to take self-help classes, learn to meditate, do art, dance, etc. While these are commercial operations that offer programs, there are typically opportunities to live on site if you join the staff. Positions may be paid, or volunteer in exchange for food and shelter. The work can vary from being on the cleaning staff, to helping with the grounds, to helping produce and set up for events. Some of these positions are seasonal. This is one of the nicest ways to drop out and do something different for a while, since you meet exceptional people (other staff, visiting teachers, and the visiting public), learn lots of new things, and the food is usually good. Who knows, it might even stimulate your next career!

        4. Organic Farms

        farm

          Ready to work? Organic, sustainable farms across the world are often in need of skilled and unskilled physical labor, particularly during the growing and harvest seasons. If you have some farming or gardening skills, you’ll have a better shot at landing a position with a farm. If the farm is big enough, they may be happy to take on anyone willing to work hard, long hours, and learn quickly. In my experience, living on a farm is not a leisurely way to get out of your typical routine. Getting up early is the norm, as is the physical labor. But you learn the important skill of growing food naturally, you engage in a healthy activity that builds strength and stamina, and typically eat very healthily. You’ll meet great people as well. The farm circuit is full of intelligent, caring folks who like to work, have strong bodies and smile broadly as they greet the day. Working on the farm should be enough to offset any rent and food costs, and if you contribute enough you might even gain a paid position.

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          5. Yoga Centers

          yoga

            Yoga centers are places where the public goes to do yoga retreats and where yoga teachers go for extended periods of training. They typically have a nice, balanced lifestyle with a mix of physical activity and downtime. Wonderful people are coming through on a regular basis and you have a chance to meet many sweet souls. There is usually a significant cost to living at a place like this, unless you have a skill they need (see #6). But if you have the dough, it’s a great lifestyle, especially if you’re into yoga. You’ll deepen your practice, eat well, and live in community with others.

            6. The Wandering [Skilled Trade]

            carpenter

              There are skills that can take you places, making you an instant asset to many communities and organizations. If you enjoy what you do, it may be a pleasure to do it in a variety of settings, traveling and meeting new people along the way. Carpentry is skill that is in high demand everywhere a new center or building is being built. If you can prove your bona fides to the foreman, you will often be allowed to live on site and be fed in exchange for helping the crew. If you are a great massage therapist, there are many places you can set up shop in exchange for free room and board. Think retreat centers, communities, and spas (where they may even pay you some in addition). Are you a talented web designer? Many organizations need a better web presence, or better online marketing. Tech skills that would normally cost a community a fair amount of money can be bartered for a nice stay at a new location. As people get to know and trust you, you may develop more options to earn income on the side from your new place of retreat.

              7. Co-ops

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              co-op

                Co-ops are groups of people who combine resources to share needed goods and services, such as food, shelter, health care, etc. There may be several in your local area. Cooperative housing provides a community feel while still allowing you to live in a town or urban area (maybe even the same town you’re already in!). Co-ops share chores such as cleaning and shopping, and often rotate meal duties, so you might have one night of the week to cook with a partner. Meals are often eaten together, although co-op members typically have more diverse individual schedules and activities as compared to living in a commune, and members are always free to do their own thing. Co-ops are a great way to reduce costs and live with a sense of community. Some co-ops have a focused sense of purpose as well, such as to recycle, or a charitable cause, which can make life more invigorating. You can create a different spin on life without changing the town or city you live in by joining a co-op!

                8. Intentional Communities

                community

                  The mother of all alternative lifestyles! There is a community out there for everyone, just choose your interest. Some are stranger than others, and in some you may need to be on guard for funny behavior, but joining an intentional community can change your life quickly. Communities may be focused on permaculture, religion, nudity, living off the grid, survival skills, polyamory, extra-terrestrials, and many variations of counterculture beliefs. Caveat emptor! Go at your own risk, but have a blast!

                  9. Native Villages

                  village

                    Native villages offer the ultimate in a change of pace and cultural experience. If you are accepted, you can live as many did centuries ago. Chop wood, carry water. Grind corn flour, build a fire. Have slow conversations, watch the sky, and the weather. People in these villages live on a different timeline than the rest of us. Probably a healthier one. Not to lump Indigenous peoples all together, but in my experience, there is more thinking before speaking in villages than in modern society. More listening than answering. And some responses come non-verbally, even through silence. Fishing, hunting, and cooking take up much of the day. As does sharing time with others, learning, telling stories, playing with children. It may seem at times there is nothing else to do on this planet but eat, tell stories and play. Ahhh, what a nice reminder. You may even learn a language and some neat tips about life while you’re there.

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                    10. Foreign Countries

                    foreign

                      Of course there’s always the big move. As they say, wherever you go, there you are. Why not be in Buenos Aires? Foreign destinations can offer inexpensive living with a very different lifestyle than what you’re used to. Malaysia, Indonesia, Berlin, Central America, and spots in Mexico and South America are popular. In some locales you’ll find an active ex-pat community if you want to be around those with a similar background and language to yourself. In others, you may need to blend in more with local culture. The idea here is to stretch your money as far as it will go while truly enjoying life. Want to live near a tropical beach? Own your own ranch? Not be burdened by a mortgage? If you can afford a plane ticket and can bring some savings with you, you might afford yourself several years in a wonderfully different culture.

                      These ten ways of living offer those seeking change many options to experience life outside the mainstream. They can be great respites for a while, or become a permanent lifestyle. Always know that you have options in how you live. You don’t have to feel stuck by the parameters of modern society. You can choose a life that helps you be happy, have less stress, and fits with what you value and enjoy. Go out there and have an adventure!

                      Featured photo credit: 123RF via 123rf.com

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                      Last Updated on January 3, 2020

                      The 10 Essential Habits of Positive People

                      The 10 Essential Habits of Positive People

                      Are you waiting for life events to turn out the way you want so that you can feel more positive about your life? Do you find yourself having pre-conditions to your sense of well-being, thinking that certain things must happen for you to be happier? Do you think there is no way that your life stresses can make you anything other than “stressed out” and that other people just don’t understand?  If your answer is “yes” to any of these questions, you might find yourself lingering in the land of negativity for too long!

                      The following are some tips to keep positive no matter what comes your way. This post will help you stop looking for what psychologists call “positivity” in all the wrong places!  Here are the ten essential habits of positive people.

                      1. Positive people don’t confuse quitting with letting go.

                      Instead of hanging on to ideas, beliefs, and even people that are no longer healthy for them, they trust their judgement to let go of negative forces in their lives.  Especially in terms of relationships, they subscribe to The Relationship Prayer which goes:

                       I will grant myself the ability to trust the healthy people in my life … 

                      To set limits with, or let go of, the negative ones … 

                      And to have the wisdom to know the DIFFERENCE!

                       2.  Positive people don’t just have a good day – they make a good day.

                      Waiting, hoping and wishing seldom have a place in the vocabulary of positive individuals. Rather, they use strong words that are pro-active and not reactive. Passivity leads to a lack of involvement, while positive people get very involved in constructing their lives. They work to make changes to feel better in tough times rather than wish their feelings away.

                      3. For the positive person, the past stays in the past.

                      Good and bad memories alike stay where they belong – in the past where they happened. They don’t spend much time pining for the good ol’ days because they are too busy making new memories now. The negative pulls from the past are used not for self-flagellation or unproductive regret, but rather productive regret where they use lessons learned as stepping stones towards a better future.

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                      4. Show me a positive person and I can show you a grateful person.

                      The most positive people are the most grateful people.  They do not focus on the potholes of their lives.  They focus on the pot of gold that awaits them every day, with new smells, sights, feelings and experiences.  They see life as a treasure chest full of wonder.

                      5. Rather than being stuck in their limitations, positive people are energized by their possibilities.

                      Optimistic people focus on what they can do, not what they can’t do.  They are not fooled to think that there is a perfect solution to every problem, and are confident that there are many solutions and possibilities.  They are not afraid to attempt new solutions to old problems, rather than spin their wheels expecting things to be different this time.  They refuse to be like Charlie Brown expecting that this time Lucy will not pull the football from him!

                      6. Positive people do not let their fears interfere with their lives!

                      Positive people have observed that those who are defined and pulled back by their fears never really truly live a full life. While proceeding with appropriate caution, they do not let fear keep them from trying new things. They realize that even failures are necessary steps for a successful life. They have confidence that they can get back up when they are knocked down by life events or their own mistakes, due to a strong belief in their personal resilience.

                      7. Positive people smile a lot!

                      When you feel positive on the inside it is like you are smiling from within, and these smiles are contagious. Furthermore, the more others are with positive people, the more they tend to smile too! They see the lightness in life, and have a sense of humor even when it is about themselves. Positive people have a high degree of self-respect, but refuse to take themselves too seriously!

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                      8. People who are positive are great communicators.

                      They realize that assertive, confident communication is the only way to connect with others in everyday life.  They avoid judgmental, angry interchanges, and do not let someone else’s blow up give them a reason to react in kind. Rather, they express themselves with tact and finesse.  They also refuse to be non-assertive and let people push them around. They refuse to own problems that belong to someone else.

                      9. Positive people realize that if you live long enough, there are times for great pain and sadness.

                      One of the most common misperceptions about positive people is that to be positive, you must always be happy. This can not be further from the truth. Anyone who has any depth at all is certainly not happy all the time.  Being sad, angry, disappointed are all essential emotions in life. How else would you ever develop empathy for others if you lived a life of denial and shallow emotions? Positive people do not run from the gamut of emotions, and accept that part of the healing process is to allow themselves to experience all types of feelings, not only the happy ones. A positive person always holds the hope that there is light at the end of the darkness.  

                      10. Positive person are empowered people – they refuse to blame others and are not victims in life.

                      Positive people seek the help and support of others who are supportive and safe.They limit interactions with those who are toxic in any manner, even if it comes to legal action and physical estrangement such as in the case of abuse. They have identified their own basic human rights, and they respect themselves too much to play the part of a victim. There is no place for holding grudges with a positive mindset. Forgiveness helps positive people become better, not bitter.

                      How about you?  How many habits of positive people do you personally find in yourself?  If you lack even a few of these 10 essential habits, you might find that the expected treasure at the end of the rainbow was not all that it was cracked up to be. How could it — if you keep on bringing a negative attitude around?

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                      I wish you well in keeping positive, because as we all know, there is certainly nothing positive about being negative!

                      Featured photo credit: Janaína Castelo Branco via flickr.com

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