Peter Lazar, Coho/US President, Shadowlake Village (Blacksburg VA)
This Thanksgiving break, I’ve been especially grateful for my cohousing bubble. When I drive home in the dark at 6pm after a long business trip, I look up the hill and appreciate seeing the lights on in the common house. My worries and concerns of the external world stay outside the door as I join the impending common meal.
Like catching a cold, I think I’ve caught a bad case of negative worldview from the news and media that I have consumed. It’s gotten so bad that I’m sometimes up at night. I think the cure might be a delicious hot bowl of my neighbor Stephanie’s soup and some good conversation.
I’ll venture to say that my neighbors, and perhaps most cohousers, generally share a positive view of humanity. Our approach to living is predicated on it. Otherwise, how could we trust a decision-making model where anyone can “block” a decision? But it all works because we trust each other to place “relationships” over the quickest route to “winning”.
We are not only tolerant of but have a true interest in other peoples’ viewpoints because they make for a better, more inclusive decision. In our meetings, we explicitly agree to treat each other with respect. This carries over to daily interactions with each other.
Rather than building walls, we both literally and figuratively tear down fences. Our homes foster privacy, but their closeness and orientation towards each other and common spaces creates community. We welcome diversity.
Cohousers are fundamentally environmentally conscious. Our buildings are green. We cluster our homes. We drive less. We have organic community gardens.
We are typically not ostentatious and status conscious. We believe in living simply. We have smaller homes, share common spaces and share tools, to name a few things. In cohousing, there is no need to covet thy neighbor’s lawnmower because you can always borrow it.
I am so grateful that my fellow cohousers don’t share the dark and scary worldview that I see on the screen. If the news is getting you down, turn it off, go outside and appreciate the wonderful like-minded people living around you.