|Through the Looking Glass, at five years.||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Fred H Olson (fholsoncohousing.org)|
|Date: Sun, 5 Oct 2003 12:13:07 -0600 (MDT)|
PattyMara Gourley <pattymara [at] juno.com> is the author of the message below. It was posted by Fred the Cohousing-L list manager <fholson [at] cohousing.org> -------------------- FORWARDED MESSAGE FOLLOWS -------------------- Five years ago I posted some of my thoughts as my family prepared to move into our new cohousing home. I called those journal notes "Through the Looking Glass" because it felt so surreal. I thought I'd offer an update since we just celebrated our fifth anniversary of living here together with a whole weekend gaggle of events. We kicked it off with Friday Night Live, a variety/talent show, which opened with the Autumn Equinox play "Persephone Returns!". The kids and I (in the role of MaraNara, the Cohousing Fairy) have been presenting plays for each of the two equinox and two solstice seasons and this one was particularly endearing to me. Most of my actors are in the 7 - 11 age group, with several on the cusp of pre-teen "coolness". I can sense that the "window of willingness" to dress up as fairies, spirits and mythological characters may soon close...indeed, another act in the variety show that night included my same sweet fairies who had put on globs of make-up and changed into flapper vamps to dance a number from the musical Chicago. I happened to be watching from up in our mezzanine balcony with several of our Tierra Nueva boys. They were spellbound into stunned silence as they watched the girls bump and grind onstage. As a mother of two grown children I know how quickly children grow, so I'm savoring the time I share with "my players" as we think up new ideas, write scripts, throw together costumes and stumble through our roles on stage. The Great Turning of the Year that we are marking with our equinox and solstice performances is a fine metaphor for our children growing up and our community maturing. Saturday morning we gathered for a "fishbowl", which gave each of us a chance to reveal what we liked about living here AND "it would be better, if. . . . ." I scribed all the "better if's" on a white pad and ended up with 47 ideas for enhancing our community life. The children were the first to sit in the center of the circle and speak, while the rest of us listened with deep attention. "It would be better if we had a treehouse" were Max's first words, and he had complete consensus from the rest of the kids. When the kids were finished we cycled through other small groups, and many provocative issues emerged including work participation, parenting and the needs of elders. A few hackles were raised, some tears shed and hearts opened. A build-your-own sandwich lunch, followed by an afternoon of ping pong, croquet and a scavenger hunt finished the day. On Sunday I led an activity called "Dancing Our Story" out on the village green. After assembling everyone in a giant circle, we called out "1988!" the year of the very first slide show gathering. The founding families walked to the center and joined hands to form a serpentine line. Then I called out the successive years. One by one each household joined the dance in the order they had joined the community. The founding families slowly formed a spiral, growing closer and closer with each year. When the most recent resident joined hands with the spiral dancers, we changed directions to form a new spiral, to dance into the future. It was simple, sweaty fun, which even the "I don't dance" stoics in the group enjoyed. Next came an Ice Cream Social with fresh peaches, blueberries, a substantial amount of hot fudge and fresh baked cookies. We do know how to eat here. Our last event was called "Soul Talk" where we explored the notion of our evolving awareness of the group Soul of Tierra Nueva. Our first families were pointedly secular in their orientation. To bring the words "soul" and "spirit" into our conversation was an indication of deep change from the original intentions of the founders. The portrait of our group Soul that emerged for me after our hour of dialogue was an energetic connection, spiritual but not religious, and deeply rooted in the legacy of our land. It was a tender ending to the party weekend, especially when the newest member, an out-of-state person who hasn't moved in yet, remarked: "In the 24 hours I've been at Tierra Nueva I've been most impressed with this: You are dedicated to one another. You may not like everyone or get along with everyone, but you are dedicated to each other's well-being." I'm too close to see this. From inside the looking glass of community, I needed to hear this observation from someone new, someone still outside looking in, to reflect back to me how we are doing. After nearly ten years of dreaming up this wild adventure, and five years of living here, I heard Tierra Nueva's group Soul speaking through our newest neighbor. We are dedicated to one another. In the following days since the celebration we've all been processing the "stuff" that came up, and already have had one meeting with the parents of young children to filter the information that they heard from the elders about the behavior of the children. More meetings are certain to follow, and we're practicing our Non Violent Communication language to get through the thick of it. Meanwhile, we're getting ready to have a big potluck wedding shower for one of Tierra Nueva's first children who's all grown up and about to get married. And the seasons, they go round and round.... coheartedly, Patty Mara Gourley Tierra Nueva, central CA coast. www.gourleydesign.com _______________________________________________ Cohousing-L mailing list Cohousing-L [at] cohousing.org Unsubscribe and other info: http://www.cohousing.org/cohousing-L
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