Re: Power Struggles After Move-In (was: I don't buy the "stages of
From: Racheli&John (
Date: Mon, 10 Dec 2001 10:19:01 -0700 (MST)
** Reply to note from Diane Simpson <coho [at]> Sun, 9 Dec 2001 
23:17:25 -0500

>From Racheli

Hi Diane,

(I'm including your posting as well as my previous one, since 
at least one person said they didn't see it).

[The following is my personal view (shared by some by not
all of the people in Sonora Cohousing)].

Some of us worked long and hard on building this community.  
I think a number of things happened atand after move-in time: New people joined,
in addition to the need to learn to live with each other on a day to day 
basis (as opposed to mostly having to get along during meetings).  
We are also still struggling with having to figure out a million things, 
including how to spend our profit and contingency money. (My husband has 
pointed out that one of our big problems at the moment is that we are rich! 
- if we didn't have a cent to spend, many of the arguments and conflicts 
wouldn't exist...  
The above should be seen in the context of the usual cohousing situation,
where a whole number of people joined because it seemed like we'd
have a "nice neighborhood" - not out of any interest in working cooperatively. 
(Yes, they all heard that we work by consensus, and got handed a process 
Our mission statement etc. was vague and ambiguous enough to draw
in people with differing (and sometimes opposing?) views on what cohousing is/
should be - again, it's the  usual coho thing, born out of the desire to
fill up all these empty units. (Compounded with the wish to cover up the 
differences, hoping they'd somehow go away). 
Fortunately, there is a fairly widespread realization that we need to
work on understanding consensus better.  In February we'll have a 
process workshop with Laird Schaub.  And later we'll have another
one with Tree Bressen.  (We hosted the FIC semi-annual board meeting,
and these workshops are a part of the barter agreement).  

There is a lot more, but that's the gist of it.

> Racheli, how did your group work together to build the community?  Were you
> highly involved in the process?  Did people attend a lot of meetings before
> move-in to make decisions about the community, or was it comprised mostly
> of people who moved in from a long distance away? What was the percentage
> of people who were involved in the building process who actually moved in?
> I'm just curious as to how you could go through the arduous process of
> building the community without not having already run into the
> power-struggle issue and come to grips with it.
> --Diane(:^]
>   Jamaica Plain Cohousing, Boston Massachusetts
> = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
> >My community (Sonora Cohousing) is going through a really
> >difficult phase right now.  It's been roughly a year since
> >we moved in.  The amount of what looks to me like power
> >struggles; lack of ability/willingness to work by consensus (in
> >the real sense, ie: willingness to listen to opposing views);
> >etc. is astounding.
> >I sure hope we can look forward to better times!  :(
> >
> >R.
>     @@              DSIMPSON [at] JPCOHOUSING.ORG                  @@
>    @@@@       Diane Simpson          @@@@
>    |  | P.O.Box 420,Boston, MA, USA 02130-0004  617-522-2209 |  |
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