Cohousing Across the Country – Part 3

Sharing the journey from Atlanta, GA to Anacortes, WA, engaging with community along the way.  

Part 3 of 7

Cohousing Working Well

As I made my way across the country, I paused for nearly a week at the half way mark, Boulder, Colorado, a mecca of cohousing. There I was welcomed by my CohoUS teammate (and boss), Karin Hoskin for our Staff Retreat (more on that in the next post) and a happy reprieve from long drives.  What struck me about Karin’s home community, Wild Sage, was all the examples of typical cohousing practices that build really wonderful community.  

I arrived just in time for Saturday morning brunch. I love a good brunch, and brunch as a common meal is a great idea. I noticed how kids were present and active, with none of the fatigue that you sometimes see at end of day. A departure from the more usual evening meals, it seemed to fit well into community life. I enjoyed sharing conversation with one of the long term members of the community and one of the newest. Some clean up was happening from the previous night’s movie event and when help was needed the work was shared.  

Another example of sharing was the beautiful home I enjoyed during my stay.  The usual resident was away, and rather than leaving the space empty, he offered it for my use. As much as I love a common guest room, there is something really lovely about being on the receiving end of such a generous gift. It is the sort of sharing the cohousers begin to take for granted, but is rare in the broader world. 

Tuesday night was Wild Sage’s monthly business meeting. It’s always interesting to see how communities work together. Each seems to have its own traditions and approach to meetings.  This one was an excellent example of what communities can do well. It was beautifully facilitated by Bryan Bowan, who both kept things on track and took time that was needed for each person to feel heard.  The meeting opened with free beer (and other drinks) and a sharing of memories. These are the connections that hold community together, and there were many beautiful moments. The biggest topic on the agenda was the sort of thing that many communities never get around to, but can yield big benefits down the road. It was a review of Wild Sage’s decision-making process, a reminder for those who have experienced it before and an introduction for newer community members.  It was lovely to see neighbors talking together about how they do what they do, what works well, and what might need a tweak or two. I guess it shows what a community junkie I am that I so enjoy witnessing a well designed meeting.  

Of the many reasons for cohousers to visit one another, perhaps the best is to gain a new perspective on the beauty is that is harmonious community.  It is always a joy to behold!  

Category: Meetings

Tags: brunch, housesharing, living in cohousing, meetings

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