Communities MagazineBelden and Lisa Paulson have contributed articles to the winter issue of the quarterly magazine COMMUNITIES.

The entire magazine can be found at the Fellowship for Intentional Communities website at

Three Kinds of Community—Three Kinds of Experience and Learning
by Belden Paulson

Getting to Community and Life after Community: Collectivism vs. Individuality
Compiled by Lisa Paulson

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Works published by Thistlefield Books focus on themes that relate to learning and experiments in sustainable living and community, to an intimate relationship with the natural world, and to matters of spirit. The pieces written by Belden and Lisa Paulson tiptoe into the past to find wisdom or lessons, and launch visions to challenge and guide future generations toward what may be the most critical values for healthy survival of our civilization. Each publication carries readers into immediate, first person experiences that invite sensitivity to here-and-now issues and priorities. They often invite, as well, a participation in off-beat adventures that inspire and exhilarate.

Journey Front Cover

Living World War II
One Family In Weston, Connecticut
Memorable Letters and Experiences

     by Lisa Paulson

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After the recent publication of my third book—all three of them about our family life and adventures since meeting my husband-to-be, Belden, in Naples, Italy, in 1952—I got around to investigating dusty boxes of earlier family letters and memorabilia. Many of these were from my late parents, Westonites Scott and Betty Hill, reporting to his parents in Reno, Nevada, and hers in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Because everyone in our family had a habit of "writing home" at least once a week, this added up to a prodigious volume of saved correspondence.

I was particularly struck by the detailed reporting of quotidian happenings during World War II that my father, in particular, wrote to his parents; he had been writing to them from the time he started out on his own in the early 1920s. This time period was neatly bracketed because it was almost exactly those years (1939-1945) that our family lived in Weston. Scott and Betty were able to move back much later, in 1959, building a house where they spent the rest of their lives, and became deeply involved with many aspects of the town they loved. It was that earlier wartime, though, that was definitive for all four of us. I've long felt compelled to pull out the details that ignite a unique chapter in the history of our country and particularly of our small Connecticut town. In 1939, I was eleven and my brother Douglas was six years younger.

I gather here the archival materials that tell the story, with particulars and vignettes that Doug and I remember, but for the backbone of the chronology, I draw mainly on Scott's letters to his parents. My intent is to give the flavor of life in Weston during wartime—both the thinking about the news as it was happening, and about how everyone coped with the increasing shortages and privations. I also just wanted to convey an idea of what everyday life was like generally for our family almost seventy years ago.

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Louise Hill     Doug Hill     Scott Hill     Betty Hill


Living WWII Front Cover Indie Book Award Winner

Of Stones and Spirits: 60 Years of Travel
     by Lisa Paulson

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I recommend world traveler Lisa Paulson's perspectives on historic moments—China's cultural revolution, Castro's Cuba, stalemate in the Middle East, Tito's Yugoslavia—on Brazil's mysterious spirit world, on a "Futures-Creating" seminar in Japan, and while floating down the Rhone River in France.

Stones have stories to tell. Spirits link us to important dimensions in understanding a changing world. Traveling with her extensive family, Lisa Paulson looks and listens. Her reports draw you in.

—  Henry M. Halsted III, Vice President Emeritus, the Johnson Foundation, Racine, Wisconsin

For Lisa Paulson, travel is more than ticking off a list of traditional sights. Her travels, like her marriage, family, and spiritual sensitivity, have never been scripted or perceived separately from one another. Her latest book, Of Stones and Spirits, is a poetic narrative spanning over half a century and four continents of travels by herself and with her husband Bel, and eventually includes their children and grandchildren. They arrived in countries to serve, to understand critical moments in history, to seek new ideas for living, or to search for family roots. We learn how different concepts about education, healing, meditation, and living consciously and sustainably became deep and permanent for herself, her marriage, and her role as co-founder of the High Wind community experiment. Lisa's "You-are-there" style places the reader directly into each journey.

—  Robert A. Pavlik, Coordinator, Project for Community Transformation, College of Professional Studies, Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Lisa Paulson's Of Stones and Spirits will give you fascinating insights into the interesting places and people of the countries where she and her husband Belden lived and worked. You'll see Italy (Rome, Naples, and Sardinia) and Brazil through the eyes of a woman engaged in the culture, not merely observing it. Then, in her later travels, she piques your interest and stirs your curiosity with vivid descriptions of popular destinations such as Tuscany and the Mediterranean coast, along with other, more mysterious, locations, such as the prehistoric caves of southern France. She'll inspire you to research diverse cultures and perhaps be more adventurous in your own travels, as the Paulsons and their lucky cohorts have been with theirs.

—  Don Murray, Academy Award-nominated, Hollywood Walk of Fame-honored actor; author of the biography Marilyn and Me, cofounder of the Homeless European Land Program

Traveling widely is easy; traveling wisely is hard. Lisa Paulson has managed both feats in Of Stones and Spirits. She has given us lively snapshots of places as little known as the remote Isle of Erraid in Scotland (complete with an essential glossary) or as familiar as the never-tiring hills of Tuscany—always with her own twist, interwoven with an engaging account of her life with Bel, her husband of six decades. Bravo! We who benefit from your travels salute you.

—  Karl E. Meyer, author of fourteen books spanning much of the world, which he has covered as a foreign correspondent (Washington Post) or commented on as an editorial writer (The New York Times)


Notes from the Field: Strategies toward Cultural Transformation
by Belden Paulson

Notes from the Field: Strategies toward Cultural Transformation
     by Belden Paulson

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Today there are mini-revolutions in many parts of the world. It is not only the downtrodden who are rising up, but also the middle classes. The institutions that are supposed to run things are not working very well. The challenges to solve the most critical problems seem beyond the capability of the governors.

Violence can spread to any area. Each circumstance is unique in its own setting, but behind all the eruptions, the essence is the same. PROBLEMS ARE NOT BEING SOLVED.

In the United States we still live in a fairly stable environment. But the protests we observe elsewhere are coming closer to home. Our government often appears incapable of confronting the great issues: environmental perils threatening the planet, growing economic and social inequality, inability to handle finances, chronic joblessness.

Despite the above, however, human creativity is really limitless. Go to any town or city, to any community, to find people at work who are defining the challenges and coming up with solutions. Sometimes they fail, but they are out there, and there are victories.

You have here a kind of casebook in problem-solving, focusing on an array of issues. Notes from the Field pulls out key sections of materials compiled over many years—authentic, real-world experiences. The reader will find accumulated wisdom from decades of work. The overlapping themes are international, urban, community, and sustainable living. These flashes from frontline projects are all directed toward building a better world.


Journey Front Cover Indie Book Award Winner

An Unconventional Journey
     by Lisa Paulson

An Unconventional Journey brings the values and lessons of Findhorn, the renowned spiritual/ecological community in Scotland, home to Wisconsin, where the author cofounds the rural community experiment, High Wind, with her husband Belden Paulson and numerous associates. She details the history of the evolution of High Wind and shares its significant achievements while providing an honest look at the enormous challenges the community faced. Journey assesses High Wind experiences through the eyes of its participants, evaluates High Wind’s place in the broader community movement, and provides an overview of communal groups through the ages, with an emphasis on the last half of the twentieth century.

"At no other time in history has this story more urgently needed telling or our yearning been more intense for this image of the good life. An Unconventional Journey, and the radiant lives unfolded in it, are the hope we hold in our hearts. Reading this powerful tapestry of High Wind strengthens our resolve never to be satisfied with less than what is shown here."
— Carolyn Kelley Williams,
Managing Editor Emeritus, International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics; Certified Journal Consultant, Progoff Intensive Journal Program

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Odyssey Front Cover

Odyssey of a Practical Visionary
     by Belden Paulson

Odyssey of a Practical Visionary is the story of Belden Paulson, whose life has been dedicated to building a better world politically and economically.

His many distinct "careers" — international, urban, futures— reflect a recurring theme: tackling problems that others often called "hopeless," sometimes with surprising results. Odyssey is a compelling memoir of unique experiences and brave experiments, pointing the way to a better future for the human family.

"With peak oil and climate change set to transform all our lives radically, this intensely personal memoir by a ‘practical visionary’ chronicles the challenges and rewards, the joys and woes involved in implementing transformational values in a world that desperately needs them but is as yet loathe to embrace them."
— Roger Doudna, PhD
Educator, Founder of the Findhorn Foundation Fellowship

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Voices Front Cover

Voices from a Sacred Land by Lisa Paulson

While chronicling the history of High Wind, an experimental ecological community developed with her husband, Belden, Lisa Paulson realized that it was the powerful, enchanting, healing presence of nature itself that had deeply influenced all she felt and did. This poetic collection is enhanced by her own and others’ responses to the land she had grown to love and cherish. Voices is enhanced by four-color photographs and paintings.

"This book is an extraordinary literary testament of nature’s healing and restorative gifts."
— Recommended & Reviewed in The Mindquest Review Of Books, by Lightword Publishing

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