Re: inputs & outputs of cohousing life
From: Jim Snyder-Grant (
Date: Thu, 8 Jun 2000 18:06:00 -0600 (MDT)
Hans was asking about energy in/out ratios after living in coho for a while.

Here's a perspective after 4 years at New View in Acton Mass USA (some have
lived here almost 6 years)

Well, the biggest change is that we are no longer in a roller coaster, no
longer running an intensive risky business together in which the stakes mean
losing a bunch of money & falling behind on acheiving a big big dream for
many years.

With the intensity & risk level down, there's more chance for the subtleties
to emerge: the slower process of building lasting friendships, which
includes finding ways to acknowledge & cope with differences & awkwardnesses
& getting irritated & making up. Which also includes time (especially in
year one) to withdraw & cocoon for a while at home, to recover from the
intensity. Then, after that, people came out of their shells as if it was
Spring, and each starting finding the way they wanted to participate in the

 Out of that, the deepening 'valley' experiences of everyday life, rather
than the 'peak' experiences of the roller coaster days. Very nice. With most
participation feeling optional, most people have found a way that doesn't
feel a lot like 'putting in' or 'taking out', its more like getting some
pleasure and some growth from the process of finding a way to serve the
community. It definitely doesn't feel like a political party, and I only
serve on the committees that I find congenial.  If work doesn't get done, we
let it slide, or find some way of making it appealing to someone, or decide
to pay for it.

I think the basic self-selection has already happened so that most of the
poeple are well-suited for coho & are having a good time. The one's who
aren't are also typically not enjoying the rest of their lives either,
unfortunately. There's  also the expectations thing you mentioned: There
have definitely been periods, for most of us, when overly lofty expectations
got dashed, and so followed the usual blues until letting go.

-Jim, where I'm far enough from development that I now enjoy giving tours to
nascent coho groups & sharing perspectives & helping them experience a dose
of their dream, awake & alive.

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