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Jourdan Valley

New listings on ic.org -

Website: http://www.jourdanvalley.org City: New Orleans State: Louisiana Zip: 70117 Contact Email: bonnie.garrigan@gmail.com Content Phone: (504)226-2941 Contant Name: Bonnie Garrigan, Lacy Allen, Ann Barnes

The Passage into Elderhood

Laird's Blog -

I recently received an interesting invitation, asking if I would write about elderhood, and what it means to make a purposeful transition into that stage of life:

Elderhood is certainly one of the least celebrated and recognized transitions in our culture. I am also struck that when we moved to community last year, my partner was the oldest one there. I felt the lack of elders holding the powerful space, witness, and wisdom.

In many ways, I know that we are re-forging the proper fires of initiation and becoming. I know that those fires were mostly out for my parents and grandparents, though rite of passage happens anyway (just not as consciously, powerfully, or prayerfully).

I am reaching out as younger here, hoping that when I reach this threshold, I'll know a little bit more about it. There will be a little more collective wisdom in the fire. 

I consider you a being who is expressing and embodying your elderhood with beauty and wisdom. I look up and out to you as someone who has passed this particular milestone of 50. I have no idea how that journey was for you, what arose, what changed, if it was a big deal or just another day. 

My invitation, as someone who loves this man dearly, and sees how powerfully he lives in this world, is that you take time in the next month or so and write him a letter. Preferably the old school kind, written on paper, and sent via US Postal Service. I realize that you may not know my partner deeply, but I do know you hold some wisdom as a visionary and that he would appreciate hearing from you on this cusp.

How was it for you to come into your 50s; what wisdom have you harvested that feels worth sharing; what felt challenging or vulnerable; how you have created or found elderhood as a path…

What a lovely gift! Here are some of my reflections on the transition into elderhood:

o  Dearth of ritual
Our culture is ritual starved. While some of that has been preserved in church, or in moments of silence before meals, our lives are profoundly lacking in celebration of mysteries and rites of passage. As you reach the half century mark, I encourage you yo take some time in retreat to reflect on who you are and who you want to be. If you want to share what emerges (a conclusion, an intent, a hope) do so after the retreat in a setting and circle of your choosing. Make any ritual of sharing be your ritual.

o  No magic line to cross
While I think this can vary considerably by individual, I did not "ratchet" into elderhood. (You hit 50 and bingo—you're an elder—like watching all the numbers rolling over on an odometer.) I eased into it, just as I did other major points in my life. When do I know enough to ask people to pay for my services? When am I good enough to teach what I know? When do I have enough to say (and enough facility as a writer) to embrace the identity of author? When is it time to step down and give others a chance behind the wheel? Is my style of leadership helping those around me become better leaders? In my case I only knew I had crossed a boundary looking backward—it was not at all clear at the time—even if the question was imminent for me.

o  It's a state of mind
I think identities (such as elder, mentor, teacher, facilitator) work best when they come from within; as something you own, rather than a label thrust upon you. Not everyone will recognize your identity, or relate to you in that way, so your ownership needs to be resilient in those occasions of non-recognition (or even rejection) by others. Think of it as a deep well that you are able to drink from at need. 

o  It takes patienceElderhood requires ego management; not being in a hurry to help. It is an art form reading whether an invitation exists for you to offer your reflections. You are certain to have more germane thoughts than invitations to share them. Think of it as an opportunity: more time to read, visit, write, digest, and dream.

o  Don't wait for the phone to ringDon't succumb to the temptation to tie your happiness to having your opinion sought, or your advice followed. Your job is to see that the trough is filled with water, but you can't make the horses drink. As an elder you want to be ready, but not needy. Like Cassandra, there will be times when your foresight will be prescient, yet your experience will be discounted, or even ignored. Keep breathing.

o  Turning over your work to others
One of the challenges you'll face—not yet, but it's coming—is finding one or more suitable successors to continue your work when it's time to hang 'em up. In fact, it's one of the ways that you'll ultimately be measured as a leader is whether you fostered the development of leadership capacity in those around you, or did you inhibit it?

o  Downshifting
As you enter elderhood there will start to be a diminishment of capacity. You will inevitably encounter limits on time and energy. This means greater attention needs to be given to where you invest. What are the leverage points? Where can your experience and wisdom make the most difference? Where do you derive the greatest enjoyment? Where is the door open? Think strategically (not about how to pad your résumé for your obituary). As an elder it's likely that many of your contributions will be behind the scenes and not openly acknowledged. Are you OK with that?

o  Know what you don't knowOperate within yourself, knowing what you know as well as what you don't. This is not about no longer plowing new ground or taking chances; it's about not misrepresenting your gifts. The more wisdom you possess, the harder it will be for others to discern the limits of your knowledge, and you need to be vigilant against overplaying your hand—all the more because you may not be dealt in as often as you'd like.

o  Low Threshold of delight
As a final thought, I encourage you to cultivate the capacity to be easily amused. Be an elder with an expanding, ever-curious spirit—not one whose soul shrivels as their physical stamina spirals down. Enjoy this life all the way through. There's no guarantee of a replay.

Developer looking to build 'cohousing' community in Lower 9th Ward - The Advocate

Cohousing News from Google -

The Advocate

Developer looking to build 'cohousing' community in Lower 9th Ward
The Advocate
The idea of cohousing, where residents own or rent traditional homes but also buy into communal buildings and spaces, originated in Denmark in the 1960s and has since spread to include about 150 developments in the United States. Earlier this month ...

and more »

Developer looking to build 'cohousing' community in Lower 9th Ward - The Advocate

Cohousing News from Google -

Developer looking to build 'cohousing' community in Lower 9th Ward
The Advocate
The idea of cohousing, where residents own or rent traditional homes but also buy into communal buildings and spaces, originated in Denmark in the 1960s and has since spread to include about 150 developments in the United States. Earlier this month ...

and more »

FIC's Budget and Goals

Laird's Blog -

Today I'll respond to a comment inspired by my blog of last week, Sprinting to the Finish Line.

The reader wrote:
What's the long range planning/goal setting process at FIC? It sounds like you've had a successful fundraiser, and you've just scrambled to figure out what you could do with the money. Seems a bit backward, frankly.

Also, is there any plan for FIC to develop an ongoing, sustainable funding source, or does it intend to continue with ad hoc fundraisers? And are FIC's budget and finances disclosed anywhere for the public to see?

I can see I didn't do a very good job of laying out the situation. Let me tackle these questions and comments one at a time.

FIC's 2015 Budget
Let's begin by painting the big picture. Here's the Fellowship's budget for last year.

Communities magazine                  58,500
Website                                           27,250
Events                                                      0
Community Bookstore                    30,450
Development                                  28,000
Office & Overhead                           1,000

Subtotal                                        145,200

Communities magazine                  51,389
Website                                           14,400
Events                                                      0
Community Bookstore                    18,660
Development                                   10,000
Office & Overhead                          49,079

Subtotal                                        143,528 

Net profit                                            1,672

o  FIC hosts events periodically, but not necessarily annually. While we participated in and supported a record eight community-focused events last year, we produced none of our own. Hence no money was spent in that category, nor was there any income. Others years will be different.

o  The Kickstarter campaign (which was the springboard for my blog, Sprinting to the Finish Line) was specifically targeted to help with Communities Directory—the print version is a line item under Community Bookstore, and the online version falls under Website. 

When we last printed the Directory in 2010, it appeared that there weren't enough sales of the book to justify printing it. That is, if we printed enough copies to get a reasonable price per copy, we'd be tying up the capital for too long. However, in recent years print-on-demand technology has improved to the point where that's now a viable option, and the viability of the project looks quite different when we only need to front the money to cover production labor.

o  While all of our programs make money when you look solely at direct expenses, we incur considerable indirect costs running a national nonprofit, including:
Executive Director salary
Accountant salary
Business Manager salary
Missouri office staff
Virginia office staff
Office utilities
Office supplies
Office rent
Board travel subsidies

Gross profits in the program areas need to be sufficient to cover Office & Overhead.

FIC's Development Strategy
One of the six main budget areas outlined above is Development, which includes membership, fiscal sponsorships, fundraising, and relationship building with people who like the cut of FIC's jib. 

It's worth noting that FIC did no fundraising its first 10 years, as we tried to make ends meet by just relying on user fees and people working as volunteers. Since 1997, however, we've changed our business model to purposefully include fundraising.

In general our Development strategy is to find a solid match between what we want to do and what a donor wants to see happen. We pair the donor's resources (money and connections) with our ideas and implementation know-how. It's a partnership. Though every conversation does not end in a good fit, we do pretty well.

We raise funds for our activities in a variety of ways: user fees, volunteer labor, earmarked donations, and general revenues (if there is a surplus in one area we may use it to cover a shortfall in another).
Because a) our policy is not to undertake a project unless we have the money in hand to do it well—or a clear pathway to it, and b) we have no shortage of ideas of good things to do (see long-range goals below), we are frequently in the position of trying to be creative about ways to increase revenues. On occasion we do so by running a crowdfunding campaign. (The one we just concluded in support of a new print version of Communities Directory is only the second one we've ever done.)

With crowdfunding you want to be as specific as possible about how the money will be used. That said, toward the end of the Directory campaign we had a special opportunity. We had already reached our funding targets and wanted to take advantage of the final days to see what would happen if we widened the pitch to support some of our additional funding goals. This was not done because we were confused about our needs or unsure how to use the money from the campaign. It was our being flexible about how to direct the money once the primary target had been achieved.

FIC's Long-range Goals I revealed a number of specific goals in Sprinting to the Finish Line:

o  Covering travel for our Executive Director to Mexico to make a public presentation to Alberto Ruz, winner of the 2016 Kozeny Communitarian Award.

o  Increasing travel subsidies for Board members to attend our semi-annual face-to-face meetings.

o  Seed money for future events.

o  Paying down debt on our new green office, that we moved into last spring. 

o  Helping to gather enough funds to hire a new Development Director.

Here are five more wide-sweeping ones as well:

—Hosting a summit among sister organizations that hold a core commitment to promoting community and cooperative culture—to explore developing greater cooperation among entities promoting cooperation (radical, eh?).

—Figuring out how to create and sustain a viable coalition of networks to form the newly christened Global Ecovillage Network of North America.
—Partnering with entities such as Transition US, worker collectives, and university sustainability programs to make common cause when it comes to pioneering sustainable practices.

—Puzzling out how to host events that are affordable to a wide range of our constituency, while at the same time providing enough income to decently compensate the core event staff.

—Doubling the paid subscriber base of Communities magazine to 2500.

While the Board talks about strategic goals and makes adjustments at every Board meeting, we conduct a major overhaul about once decade, which we are in the midst of right now.

Friends Who Join Forces See Homeowner Dreams Come True - RisMedia.com (press release)

Cohousing News from Google -

Friends Who Join Forces See Homeowner Dreams Come True
RisMedia.com (press release)
The 30-somethings who bought the two houses in Columbia City say they decided to buy single-family homes close together only after their efforts to develop a cohousing community for about a dozen couples ran into too many roadblocks. “It's really hard ...

Cohousing e autocostruzione in Toscana, stanziati 15 milioni - Ambiente Quotidiano

Cohousing News from Google -

Ambiente Quotidiano

Cohousing e autocostruzione in Toscana, stanziati 15 milioni
Ambiente Quotidiano
La regione Toscana ha stanziato 15 milioni di euro di fondi per alloggi in cohousing, abitazioni temporanee, case in autocostruzione o autorecupero. L'idea è quella di realizzare un'edilizia residenziale pubblica che ha come obiettivo principale un ...

The Road to Wellville

Laird's Blog -

No, this isn't another movie review (though there is a semi-obscure 1994 comedic offering based loosely on the life of corn flakes inventor John Kellogg and his staunch enthusiasm for the health benefits of consuming his breakfast cereal and other equally quirky health ideas promoted at his Battle Creek MI sanatorium at the turn of the 20th Century).

Rather, this is an update on my battle with lower back pain.

One of the main things that I've been battling the last month is not just lower back pain, but the fact that I need to see a doctor in order to get prescription pain medications (Naproxen and Flexeril) for my lower back pain.

Because this latest flared-up occurred while I was 3000 miles from my home in NC, I first had to be well enough to travel to Urgent Care. While that worked the first time, I resumed my holiday travels afterwards and faced the same thing all over again when I was wiped out by the trip from Las Vegas (visiting Jo) to Duluth (where I'm currently convalescing with Susan).

By then the original prescription had run out and it took me 13 days from the onset of the latest inflammation to recover to the point where I could even walk to the car. The last round was triggered by my body's reaction to myofascial massage; my body was not able to absorb the deliberate, gentle manipulation without responding in pain. The irony is that I knew I needed the stronger medication to be able work my way back to normal functioning—to the point where I could begin rehab through physical therapy—but I wasn't well enough to manage the trip to the doctor's. Ugh.

Then, when I did get well enough for that (yesterday) I strained myself so much in the journey that it will take me a couple days for the secondary spasms to subside around my rib cage. (I feel like I was in a street fight.) The best news is that the doctor's visit is now behind me and I've refilled my prescriptions. This last month has been quite the roller coaster.

On the one hand, I need to get up and move around as part of my healing regime; on the other I need to not overdo it, triggering a setback. Where's the line? Mostly I try to pay attention to my body, and not ask it to do things that bring about discomfort such that I can't breathe through it.

Although I'm sure there will be more bumps ahead on the road to Wellville, I'm hoping they'll not stress my overworked shock absorbers too much, and that I'll be able to travel by the end of next week.

About the only steadfast thing about the last month is that I haven't been tempted, even once, to eat corn flakes.

Raleigh Senior Cohousing

New listings on ic.org -

Website: http://raleigh-senior-cohousing.com City: Raleigh State: North Carolina Zip: 27612 Contact Email: raleigh-senior-cohousing@mindspring.com Content Phone: Contant Name: David Davenport

Toscana, 15 milioni per cohousing e autocostruzione - Rinnovabili

Cohousing News from Google -


Toscana, 15 milioni per cohousing e autocostruzione
(Rinnovabili.it) – Alloggi in cohousing, abitazioni temporanee, case in autocostruzione o autorecupero. La Toscana non rinuncia alla sostenibilità con il nuovo programma di misure sperimentali di edilizia residenziale pubblica. Per questi interventi la ...
Regione, 1,1 milioni a Lucca per il cohousingLucca in Diretta

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