Cohousing Across the Country – Part 7
Sharing the journey from Atlanta, GA to Anacortes, WA, engaging with community along the way.
Part 7 of 7
Arriving in my new home, surrounded by beauty, but not living in cohousing, I have much to ponder. The big question is this: Is it possible to live a community life without (for now) living in cohousing? This is the experiment of my next few years, and I believe I will find that answer is yes.
I believe that in the end cohousing is less about the common house, shared property, and pedestrian paths and more about the relationships these things foster. A common meal is precious not because people are eating a shared meal, but because of the care and connection experienced in the space of that meal. I believe that the structures of cohousing make it easier to create and sustain relationships, but there are other ways to achieve those goals too. And it isn’t an all or nothing game. Every bit of relationship in the world supports every other bit. Every skill learned in community nurtures the next skill as it arrives. Which means that as we depart from community we carry with us the ability to create our next community, whether or not that takes the shape of cohousing.
So how am I creating community without living in cohousing? Lots of ways. I’m staying connected to the cohousing world. Through my work with the Cohousing Association and consulting with communities around the country, I’m continuing to learn about community life and to share what I’m learning.
Another space of community is through online communities. Mine are largely spaces where our focus is to bring more community, connection and collaboration into the world. Sociocracy For All and Imago Relationships are two of my favorites and thanks to video conferencing I’m no further away from these communities than I was before I moved.
Perhaps most of all, I’m intentional about where and how I live. I’ve been lucky to land in the home of a couple that exemplifies the generosity, collaboration and compassion that I value in cohousing. In sharing a home, we have formed our own mini-community. As I’ve moved into their space, I’ve been invited into their practices for caring for the environment, preserving the fruit growing on the property, and engaging in small town community life in all kinds of ways. Sharing community with 40-50 people may be an ideal size, but I can tell you it’s also lovely to share it with a household of four.
One day I will live in intentional community again. Until then, I’m up for the challenge of sprinkling the secret sauce of cohousing over whatever space I live in. I guess you could say that for now I am living more in “intention” than in “community”, and maybe in the end it is the intention that matters most. If there is a way that my intention can collaborate with yours, let’s talk. I look forward to being connected with you.