INTRODUCTION TO THE “THEN AND NOW” SERIES
Visitors touring CoHo sometimes ask how our expectations for community prior to move-in differ from our current day-to-day reality.
Comparing “then and now” is the framework for this series of blog postings. The source of historical perspective is the CoHo newsletters published in 2006 and 2007 (they are still available on our website). This was an intensive time, with the primary focus on actively building the community (both in terms of actual construction of buildings and the collection of folks who would be our neighbors).
What were our dreams in 2006? What is our daily life like now in 2014?
First, read the original newsletter (link below), then return to this posting for current perspectives.
One way that CoHo Ecovillage differs from other cohousing communities is the integration of Non-Violent Communication (NVC).
NVC training (basic and advanced) continues to be offered at CoHo and is part of the membership process for owner/members, associate members, and renters. Friends of CoHo are also asked to become familiar with NVC and are welcome to take part in NVC training sessions.
A new NVC practice group recently formed so folks could have more opportunity to develop and/or improve their NVC skills.
CoHo has a Mediation Team (formerly called CPR for Conflict Prevention and Resolution) to assist neighbors in working through issues. Having a common language (NVC), plus helpful coaches, increases the chances for good outcomes. CoHo does have a back-up process for community decision-making if mediation sessions don’t resolve a situation that requires a community decision.
CoHo has also used Sharing Circles to spend more time on challenging issues and NVC has been a key part of these sessions to enable folks to feel heard.
One principle that has proven to be challenging over time is the NVC goal to meet everyone’s needs. While this can spark creative thinking (perhaps the needs can be met in other ways or maybe the needs can be clarified further), at times “meeting everyone’s needs” has not been consistently embraced or seen as workable when juggling multiple perspectives. One example has been meeting special food needs at meals, which is challenging for both prep crews and diners. While most food needs are met most of the time, there is increasing support for being able to offer some meals that don’t meet all food needs (neighbors are still welcome to bring their own food to eat at mealtimes). NVC can help work toward balancing needs (in this case–the need for inclusion by diners and the need for ease by meal crews).
Living in community is a life-long learning process. What does the future hold for kids raised in cohousing with NVC? Many CoHoots hope to “age in place” and find out.
P.S. Our “compost queen” is still our “compost queen” though her kingdom has expanded greatly since move-in.