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.
Over time, CoHo Wellness Retreats have offered something for those who like to reflect, talk, stroll, work, and play. This retreat was the perfect blend of all of those activities.
The TRUST theme continues to play out in community. Moving from “me” to “we” is an ongoing exercise in trust.
Folks with longer tenure in the group developed comfort that things would work out, but their words of encouragement to newcomers (“just trust!”) were sometimes less than encouraging.
Alerting prospective members to the gradual unfolding of trust is important in giving them a realistic context to make a decision about getting connected with CoHo. A scenario that raises concerns about living in community may be seen by a first-time visitor as a “deal breaker” while long-time CoHoots feel confident we have the tools and experience to address the situation.
Basically, spending time working and playing together gives all of us more grounding in making this community adventure a positive experience. And that’s where retreats are vital. This retreat provided many opportunities to get to know future neighbors on a deeper level and develop an appreciation for our diverse life experiences and perspectives.
When folks contemplate joining an existing community vs a forming group, the bonding that occurs overtime at retreats and (many, many) meetings might make the forming group more appealing. A longer “courtship” can be a good thing.
Interestingly, at a community meeting we recently took another survey to analyze our basic work styles. One CoHoot looked at a group and commented that all of the members were Head Chefs, a confirmation of their work style of overseeing all the details of a project from start to finish.
The (hopeful) prediction at the end of the newsletter that our homes would be under construction in six months was very optimistic. Construction started in the summer of 2007. Active recruiting of new members continued throughout 2006 and 2007. We were fortunate to be sold out and fully occupied before the economic downturn of 2008 kept many folks from selling their homes and/or getting home loans.
P.S. We still have two Wellness Retreats a year–a one-day session in the spring and a two-day gathering in the fall. This tradition is firmly embedded in our culture.