Pinakarri's first year (long-ish)
From: Robyn Williams (
Date: Tue, 27 Jun 2000 14:55:13 -0600 (MDT)
The winter solstice marked the end of Pinakarri's first year celebrations.
We shared a simple dinner together with our guests then went to watch the
children do fire twirling on the 'bleek'  (Dutch word for an open grassed
area on which sheets are laid to dry and be bleeched by the sun).  Then over
to the fire-pit to present our architect with a gift in acknowledgement for
going the extra mile on our behalf, especially in liaisons with the local
public housing authority.  Story telling for the younger children, then a
break to tuck them all in to bed before we gathered to walk the winter
spiral.  A light rain blessed the close and we ran for the shelter of our
common house and mulled wine.

It's amazing what we've accomplished in 12 months - 1/3 of the 12 households
have only been here for 6 months.  As autumn turns to winter the annual tree
planting is in process, hindered by retaining walls yet to be finished,
verge plans yet to be approved, progressing nonetheless.  We share community
dinners 3 nights a week now in what we currently hope is the ugliest kitchen
in Perth and for which we are hoping to win a $15,000 prize :0)   Warmed by
candlelight and cheap Chinese lanterns, the scruffy and bare-bones
facilities dissolve in conversation and laughter.  One night, Tony offered
to do something special for the mums for mother's day.  I asked him if he
would fulfill my wildest fantasy.  He laughingly asked what that might be,
leaving me to ponder the answer.  As I looked around at my big family I
realised that this was my wildest fantasy and wondered with gratitude, how I
managed to be sitting here.

After many years of  half-hearted visioning which resulted in little more
than motherhood statements and wish lists, I was personally relieved and
overjoyed by the realisation of our purpose; 'through Pinakarri (deep
listening) we learn to Love more completely'.  This simple statement of our
purpose - why we are really here - is the community equivalent of a wedding
vow.  The sigificance of getting the L word out of the closet is palpable.
Our everyday relationships, the highs and lows, are caught by the forgiving
hammock of our purpose.

In March we held a Gaia Community Weekend.  We had an extra 25 people around
for a few days working on the firepit, the vegie verge, tiling footpath
pavers, sharing meals, workshops and song.  It was heart-warming to enjoy
the admiration of other people who aspire to live in communty.  In their
company, we held a ritual blessing of our houses and our commons, our newly
articulated purpose enshrined in the liturgy.

As highly commended finalists in the recent Energy Efficiency Awards we were
awarded a smart framed certificate for the commonhouse.  We encourage
publicity as a way of creating a positive public profile and have had good
exposure in the local and major papers.  Tactically it's useful in dealing
with the narrow attitudes of the housing authority who are always nipping at
the heals of the rental co-op sector of which we are a member - we look
good, they look good.

Between the moments of wonder our individual lives unfold.  Ordinary lives
played out on a most unusual stage.

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