From: Saoirse Charis-Graves (saoirse03mac.com)
Date: Sun, 10 Feb 2013 13:30:54 -0800 (PST)
Hello all,

It's been awhile. Thanks to Fred for the invitation. Cohousing-l was critical 
to us (and me) in the formative years. Then, we kind of settled in and looked 
more internally than externally for "solutions." We had been very stable, then 
in the past 18 months we've lost a couple of households who moved into assisted 
living (with another likely in the next year or so). Economics motivated one 
household to downsize house payments, and a change in lifestyle pushed another 
household to move. That's a lot of transition for us. Some of that has flowed 
and some of it has not. Currently, we are very intentionally seeking families 
with younger children, not an easy task in this time of rapid cash buyouts by 
older, retired folks. 

We just implemented (after 16 years of avoidance) a "pay in lieu of work" 
system. So far, it's going well. It allowed us to re-visit some of our 
agreements in a clear and respectful manner and to formulate clear boundaries 
on responsibilities of membership for all our residents. It's going so well, in 
fact, that I wonder why we didn't do it 10 years ago. I think it's actually 
helping us re-form as a community after a period of "letting go" to our 
individual desires and pathways. 

I personally sought and was elected to our local city council. That moves me to 
a different level of community responsibility, which creates some distance but 
is something I love doing. It's a big enough container for my passions whereas 
the community sometimes was not. I still manage common house equipment repairs 
along with our trash/recycling, which satisfies my need to "fix" things.

We've gone to a "property manager" model for certain maintenance tasks that did 
not hold up well under an all-volunteer system. And we've changed our long-term 
reserves as we've become smarter about how to keep things going in a now-aging 

Community process has become less intense and perhaps less intentional. We are 
more relaxed. With that level of relaxation comes some benefit and some cost. I 
guess we've found a place of mature acceptance. We are better now at 
recognizing what is urgent and what is not, what is a community-held value and 
what is not, what is personal and what is communal and what is simply what 
happens to humans living in a shared place. 

I might live here for the rest of my life, and that would be fine with me. I 
might move to Ireland one day, and that would be interesting and amazing and I 
wouldn't say "no" if the opportunity arose. 

All in all, I would say we are mostly settled here in Harmony Village. We are 
weathering the transitions with mostly grace and some bumps. Some of us have 
found a personal path mostly outside the village though we are still grateful 
for the comfort and support of home. Others are still very engaged in community 
life and community interactions and couldn't imagine another way of living. 

And that's the news from Harmony Village on a snowy February afternoon in 2013.

Saoirse (aka Cheryl) Charis-Graves
Harmony Village
Golden, Colorado

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