Vision, Mission, Aim & Losing People
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Tue, 9 Aug 2005 12:42:48 -0700 (PDT)

On Aug 9, 2005, at 3:21 PM, Judy Hecht wrote:

\Early on, we stumbled around trying to figure out what
the group would be and finally came up with our vision
and value statement. The group of people that wanted
"suburban" cohousing then moved ahead and others left
the group. It was a defining and emotional time for
all of us. It would have saved a lot of time and
energy if the type of cohousing we wanted was decided
on at the beginning.

I wanted to add a perspective here on the painfulness of making decisions that exclude people. All decisions include and exclude but without decisions, you have nothing. You have to make decisions in order to move forward.

But decisions are not exclusive. Stay in touch with people who have left the group and offer help in any way you can for them to achieve their dream. In the bigger picture, cohousing is about community. We still have people who show up 7 years later and say I attended 3 meetings but was going in a different direction. It's great to make contact again. Sometimes they come for holiday celebrations. Sometimes they just send an email.

I actually see one member more since she moved away than I saw her when she lived here. She comes back often to visit, staying in the guest rooms or an empty unit.

So while we have clear definitions of who owns and who votes and who pays what, there is a much broader living definition of who is our community. It isn't really so painful -- each change just brings new horizons, new connections in a network.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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