Too close for comfort...maybe
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Mon, 18 May 1998 09:49:35 -0500
The point made this morning that at a retreat one cannot pick and choose is
a good one. On site, one can say this isn't an issue I can help with or this
is one I can help with. Those of us who are more action and results focused
can handle the feelings that erupt around a physical emergency or a death or
a job loss, but go bonkers in an 8 hour session about utopian fantasies.

I do not yet live in cohousing but have been working in and around groups
since the early 70s.  My experience is that many people are not only ill
informed or ill trained in dealing with groups, but that there is a deeply
held belief that things don't change. That you have to protect your own turf
as best you can and search out friends who are just like you.

What attracted me to cohousing (after giving up on a lot of alternative
ideas) was the trust I felt in the intelligent functioning of all the groups
I explored. That there is so much information sharing and informed
decision-making going on in individual groups and in the movement as a whole
on everything from dog runs to resolving conflict.  The practice of using
trained facilitators is intelligent and results oriented.

The groups are willing to engage until a problem or issue is worked through
in whatever way the persons having the problem need. Or realistically
assessing the situation as this is one we just can handle alone. Or
admitting that as a group we  have chosen a different direction--we reached
consensus on having no purple buildings or we are all very work focused and
need hired gardeners and cleaning people. The willingness to work it through
is what builds community. And architecture, sharing, group rules, etc, are
only helpful if they facilitate this willingness.

Sharon Villines, Manhattan
Archives of Detective Fiction,
Deadly Serious Press,
Synergy Cohousing, Delray Beach, FL

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