A Hard Nut to Crack: Intentional Community

I had the pleasure of meeting with Laird Schaub and other members of the FIC (Fellowship for Intentional Community) oversight committee, at Shannon Farm Community in Afton, Virginia. To start, this was affirmation of our beneficial collaborative partnership; as sister organizations, we both seek to build community.

I offered that our cohousing model may be a way to “crack the nut” of the irrational fear many have of intentional community.

How often have you experienced a response of, “oh, I’m not ready to live in a commune,” when sharing your cohousing life. Communes, eco-villages and the like are of course excellent models of community and sustainability; however, our culture honors private ownership and control of resources. With this prejudice, our cohousing model, which highlights privacy in the mix of community, and most often involves private home ownership, allows us to “crack the nut” of resistance to intentional community.

Feeding this potential, Laird offered these excellent leverage points, gleaned from his wisdom and experience:

•We should challenge the idea that quality of life is dependent on ownership or resources; rather, quality of life is tied to resource access - access is the asset, not ownership. Do you as a cohouser feel “rich” with our common kitchens, our shared lawn mowers, the skills contributed by other members?

•We should challenge the idea that security is defined by what is in our bank account; rather, security should primarily derive from the important relationships we enjoy - relationships that translate to caring when we need it. Do you as a cohouser feel secure knowing that if you, say, broke a bone, neighbors would help care for you? Or that if you are suffering life’s downturns, your neighbors are there to support you?

Coho/US exists to nurture and grow cohousing. What better way than to promote the benefits of living in intentional community?

For those who are intrigued by this discussion, please share your ideas for educating the public and raising our visibility. alicecohous [at] gmail [dot] com
I also offer this blog I wrote last May, What does it mean to live in community? http://www.cohousing.org/node/2202

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