Re: Pet Policy Request for Help
From: Monty Berman (
Date: Sun, 13 Oct 1996 12:58:37 -0500
Dear Corrine,
        We of the First Resident Group of EcoVillage at Ithaca, who are
having the first four of 30 households move in this coming week, are in
the midst of working out our own pet agreements---and are finding a lot of
emotional stuff coming up, also.          
        The insight I have to offer is that the amount of difficulty
around this issue is related to the degree of community building that has,
or has not, taken place. Rather than be discouraged by the difficulty, I
suggest a view that simply says, "Oh, so that 's how it is with us all.
That's where we are emotionlly at with each other (and with OURSELVES!)."
Thus, the work as I see it is in the community building that is
needed---as against more debate about the pet policy itself. Another way
to approach what I'm suggesting is to consider pet policies in terms of
individual NEEDS. Getting to the bottom of what specific needs exist
beneath individuals' "position" will, in my view, make it easier to
address conflicts of needs---as against "I'm right and you're wrong"
arguments. In this approach, the work is in creating space in which
positions and fears are put aside in order to simply hear one another at
deeper levels. The putting aside of positions and fears may require a
simple stating of them before participants are available to do this kind
of listening. (As I see it, this process in and of itself would constitute
an exercise in community building.)
        As I write this. I'm realizing that, for me, the important thing
is to avoid looking for outside suggestions about policies and instead
focus on HOW to address the problem---which I believe is implied in your
request below.
        I have concern about "holding forth" here. However, rereading what
I have put down does reflect my thinking---and, to some extent, my

Monty Berman

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