The whole picture (was disengagement)
From: Karen Kudia (
Date: Wed, 4 Nov 2009 13:20:13 -0800 (PST)
Dear Lynn:
What interesting comments.
Realism often needs to mixed with vision and idealism. We don't love nor accept perfectly. Government, communities, marriages, friendships fail, sometimes with lots of hard work. Reality teaches us that no person can love with perfection. Human love and acceptance often depends on the receiver of our love. We do not feel the same about each person we meet in life, who we work with, our friends, family and so forth. Often our love is in response to their personalities. Even when the chemistry clicks, creating kindred souls, our feelings will fluctuate. How others response to us, affects how we love them. Sometimes the other person regulates our love, as love is born in what we find in another. It is caused, sometimes spontaneous. Our love often hinges on other's love. Hence conditional. A l ove that seeks the best for the other, best for the community.

It takes a rare kindred spirit, to know us, and strive to love us unconditionally, even in our dark unlovely moments. Perhaps an incredible Mother or an incredible Father or spouse, or kindred friend comes the closest. Yet how drawn the human psyche is to unconditional love...that rare experience of freedom to be who we are, to have that sense of belonging. Not based on what we produce, give, what we look like etc. Community a blend of unity and incredible diversity, learning acceptance and celebrating our gifts together. Love surely is a gift .

I am not a practicing Catholic, but Jean Vanier book: Community and Growth, provides reflection and is well worth the read.

Karen D. Kudia
Anthony Fl

Recent posts have discussed how some people may find that cohousing is
not what they thought it would be when they joined. Disillusionment
may lead to disengagement or contentiousness or other unpleasant
alternatives to them just leaving.

Even while trying to get people to join, to buy a resale, I am always
careful to emphasize that it's not utopia. I say things like "I thrive
on this, but it's not for everyone." "It can be a lot of work, though
I find it worthwhile." "Can you live somewhere else part of the year?
Well, legally, yes, but we really need warm bodies to participate and
share the work and life of the community, and if people are only here
part time -- besides normal trips or moderate vacation times--- it
leaves the rest of us with more work."

Over the years I've learned to be cautious about would-be buyers who
seem TOO enthusiastic. If they are really gushy about how fabulous it
will all be, or how much better it will be than all the things they
didn't like about where they lived before, it may turn out that they
are on an emotional rollercoaster, and we'll get to see the downswing,
too. I'd rather hear someone say, "Of course there are always
challenges, and I don't expect everyone will be my best friend."
"Every group has some difficult personalities." "For a project this
size, it seems to work pretty well." More pragmatic than ultra rosy,
seems to be a better indicator of eventual satisfaction here.

Not that I haven't overlooked some of those cautionary signs.
Sometimes people fit better, or less well, than I could guess, when
showing them around at first. And, as Rob points out, the community
mix shifts over the years, too.

I struggle with some people's notion that anyone can be accomodated. I
confess to sometimes giving up on the prospects of a given person
finding satisfaction and resolution for their multiple conflicts and
discontents. I really believe it just is not a match for some people's
needs. At least I know I didn't lead them on, as I've tried to be
balanced in my explanations at the beginning.

Lynn Nadeau
Port Townsend WA, RoseWind Cohousing
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