This fall I got to spend some time with long-term cohousers. I asked them “Why cohousing?” As expected, they told me about neighborly support, caring for the environment, common meals, and all sorts of details of why it’s enjoyable to live in cohousing. What felt more important, though, were all the reasons the world needs more cohousing.
It turns out that living in cohousing makes us more collaborative and better leaders. It connects us with others who share our passions for good in the world and empowers us to have more impact on the causes we care about. In community, neighbors invite neighbors to join them in the work they do for others, and neighbors do join them. Common resources are used for gatherings and events for charitable groups. Living close makes it easier to help each other take on projects no one person could manage alone.
More than that, cohousing gives us practice in the very skills most lacking in our broader culture. We learn to listen better, to collaborate more, to share. We lead meetings where we work together to form consensus. In the process, we learn to from consensus in our outside communities at city council meetings and volunteer groups and religious organizations. Our children take these same skills into their schools.
The ripples travel further than we know. A kindness here, a generous word there, the ability to pull two ideas together into something powerful. Each shifts the energy in a room and creates more peace and gentleness in the world. It spreads. Cohousing makes the world a better place one look, one laugh, one community at a time.