Editor's Note: Annie Lehman has joined the Coho/US Board of Directors. Welcome to Annie!
Having never lived in an intentional community (college doesn't count), I don't know what it will feel like when I move next April to PDX Commons, a senior (I prefer to say boomer) cohousing project currently forming in SE Portland. I do know I will be surrounded by people who want to live in community and who think intelligently about the world around them. I've spent the last two years getting to know these folks (and others have worked for years before I entered the picture) to build this community and the building.
What do I love about this?
Back in 1974, when a group of four of us started Sandhill Farm, I started down a path that ultimately added up to my dedicating my life to building community. While that commitment has never wavered (the need for community today as more urgent than ever), I've frequently adjusted the lens through which I see what I'm doing.
One of the most potent and enduring ways to frame my life's work is that I am promoting cooperative culture—as an alternative to the competitive culture that dominates mainstream society. But what does that mean, cooperative culture?
Andrea Mason, Placitas Sage (Placitas, New Mexico)
Placitas Sage Cohousing, located just north of Albuquerque, in Placitas New Mexico, is so excited to welcome our "FarAway" members for an In-Gathering over the Thanksgiving holidays. Since we are still in the process of getting our land re-zoned and have not yet been able to start building our homes, we are focused on building our community. To that end, most of our members who live outside of New Mexico (who we lovingly call our "FarAways"), will be arriving between Nov 18 and 20 to stay with local members until December 1.
In 2008, friend and author Bill Thomas asked me to critique the manuscript of his first novel, The Tribes of Eden. "Tribes" is the story of a near future collapse of the American government and all of the country's institutions. What's left is chaos and unmitigated fear. A young mother happens upon a "shire" (think: cohousing community), where she and her family take refuge and flourish amidst the trust and the cooperation.
I'm traveling to Durham NC where I'll be working with a cohousing community (my 61st if you're keeping score at home). I'll be using one of my favorite approaches: a four-day intensive immersion. After arriving Wed evening I'll get a good night's sleep and then begin work in earnest in the morning.
My time with the client group will divide into two distinct parts:
Segment I: Interviews
From Thursday morning through Friday afternoon I'll make myself available to meet with group members in ones, twos, and in teams. I'll ask questions, but mostly I'll listen.
That title may have gotten your attention! Your Cohousing Association is, thank you, alive and well - but only as long as we receive financial support from our communities and individuals. Coho/US is by design a lean and mean organization; our financial needs are modest, but we do need steady support. Donate Now
David Entin, Rocky Hill Cohousing (Northampton, MA)
Our monthly cohousing meeting was the Saturday morning after the election. Many of us at Rocky Hill Cohousing gathered feeling sad, angry, upset, dazed, and fearful as a result of the election of Donald Trump for President. We began by watching a three minute old Monty Python video, “Dennis the Constitutional Peasant,” which seemed quite relevant as well as funny. We were indeed in need of some humor at this moment.
Anne Geraghty, Washington House (West Sacramento CA)
We know that our vision and our values, whether fully articulated or unconscious, have a powerful influence on the direction of our lives. In a cohousing project such as this, the careful articulation of our mutual vision and values will lead us to the kind of community we're seeking. It will set the stage for all the work that follows. It will guide us as we work with our architects and developers. It's a coming together, a forging together, building the beginning of our community.