Re: Is consensus holding back the cohousing movement?
From: Fred-List manager (
Date: Mon, 25 Jan 2021 18:11:09 -0800 (PST)
Martie Weatherly <mhweatherly [at]>
is the author of the message below.  It was posted by
Fred, the Cohousing-L list manager <fholson [at]>
due to format rpoblem - html only post.

Please do not post in html only format.
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Thank you Tom for saying how challenging it is to take on living and working
together in a consensus community where collaboration and embracing differences
are the norm. Every person must walk into the meeting with a commitment to a
"you and me" world rather than a "you vs. me" world. As you said, this is not
the norm in our society, but it is worth working for.

A consensus community takes on how to use conflict in a creative way, to see
each point of view and find what is best for the community as a whole at that
time. Consensus requires clearly delegating tasks to teams but it also allows
each person the time to look into their heart and stop the action if they feel
they must to address the concern.

We are getting better at it with discussions such as the ones here e.g. how to
handle email (which has no simple answer that I have seen). Also in doing the
hard work in each community to write their own Pathway to Consensus and how to
handle a late concern or a myriad of other challenges to have robust and
functional cultures.

Cohousing and consensus are not for everyone but they do and will give each
member the chance to change the way we live together in our communities and in
the rest of our lives too.

Martie Weatherly
Liberty Village
Consensus Coach
martiew319 [at]

-----Original Message-----
>From: "Tom @ Gather"
>Sent: Jan 21, 2021 12:43 PM
>To: cohousing-l [at]
>Subject: Re: [C-L]_ Is consensus holding back the cohousing movement?
>One perspective on this:
>Consensus *is difficult.* Why? Because our culture doesn't teach us to be
>good at it. We are, on the whole, individualistic and terrified of conflict.
>We also work *way too much*. Consensus takes time. Consensus plus way too
>much work at your job can lead to not enough time for rest or family or
>Are either of these things flaws of consensus? I don't think so. They're
>flaws of our society, and they're flaws that are bad for humanity and for
>the environment.
>Re-learning how to do consensus is an ecological act. We're re-learning how
>to live in harmony with ourselves and with the planet instead of always
>dominating. It's hard work. It might burn people out and they may need a
>break. Breaks are ok. They're not a sign of failure. They don't mean it's
>not worth doing.
>We'll get better at it, as a movement, and eventually as a society. But to
>give up on it would be a big mistake. It would be losing sight of one of
>the key purposes of this intentional communities movement.
>*The answer is not to give up but to support each other in doing this very
>hard thing. *
>We need more resources for training, and more great trainers.
>We need more time, which means more work to make cohousing affordable so we
>don't all have to work so much to afford it.
>People need to go to therapy more and work on their shit.
>We also need to celebrate the fact that we do consensus, that it's hard,
>and messy, and that it's a revolutionary, radical, liberatory act to engage
>with it and figure it out and spread it around the world. Let's get pumped
>about it. We're changing the world.
>On Thu, Jan 21, 2021 at 11:10 AM Anna Amato wrote:
>> Hello Fellow Cohousers!
>> My name is Anna Amato and I live at Takoma Village Cohousing in Washington
>> DC along with listserv regulars (and my friends) Sharon Villines and Ann
>> Zabaldo.
>> Something came up recently that got me wondering.
>> One of our very active members has recently announced that she is moving
>> for personal reasons. When I asked her if she is considering cohousing in
>> the new state she is moving to, she quickly replied, "Oh no." She said she
>> found consensus decision-making and all of the process in cohousing very
>> frustrating and emotionally exhausting. She loved the community spirit and
>> fun events and knowing all her neighbors, but it wasn't enough.
>> When I thought about it, I realized that of the over 25 households that
>> have moved away in our 20 years of existence, only 3 had subsequently moved
>> into cohousing. "Wow," I thought. "That's only 12 percent." And I also
>> thought that, at this rate, we won't be doubling the number of cohousing
>> communities, for 40 years.
>> So I have a question for other cohousing communities:
>> How many of your member households who have moved have immediately, or
>> eventually, moved into cohousing in their new locations? Perhaps your
>> experience has been different and I would be curious to find out.
>> Thanks for your responses, and even just posting the number is enough (you
>> don't have to write a treatise about it...unless you want to!)
>> Perhaps this topic has been covered, if so, just direct me to it.
>> Cohousingly yours,
>> Anna
>> _________________________________________________________________
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>Tom for the Gather Team
>Cohousing-L mailing list -- Unsubscribe, archives and other info at:

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