Podcast competition – finally!

I looked up podcasts on cohousing and intentional communities and only found some one off episodes.  They are fine and I listened to all the ones that I found.  But, there isn’t a cohousing/IC podcast focus, until now.

Of course, there is mine. But I am happy that the Founation of Intentional Community just started their own. I was starting to think I don’t really want to keep going on my focus on cohousing. I started the podcast when I was living there and was interested. (Honestly, I didn’t do a good job of running it and still never posted the episode I recorded while living there).  I am waning in my interest since I don’t live there anymore and feel it really is best to start moving on.  I still love radio  (I did it for years since college).  However, I”d like to refocus and start making shows about other topics, if at all.

So, I’m so happy to hear this new podcast. FIC has access to everyone and everything so they’ll have great shows. And the host already talks about her journey and experience living in an intentional community. She is honest and real and this will be a wonderful resource for anyone considering this lifestyle.

Now is the time to write my report of the shows I did find.

There is another podcast on cohousing and they are wonderful. It is two women forming a cohousing in Houston and I never want to live in Texas (sorry, it’s just too big and hot), these women make me want to grab a cup of coffee with them on their porches and move to their cohousing (which I don’t ever want to do again) and in their state of Texas (Okay, I am up to Corpus Christi where Selena lived).

One episode I found was on Integrated Psychiatry.  (I found all of these on spotify by putting cohousing in the search engine).  The host interviewed Diane Margolis of the Cohousing Research Network. She also told the truth about what it is like living in chousing. She wasn’t just trying to sell it, but discuss it.  She said sometimes conflicts never get resolved and there are resentments and people not talking to each other.  To me, that is scary.  How do people live like this for years?  I thought cohousing meant that you keep trying to work things out and be a true community.

Another podcast was called Raise the Roof. It is focused on aging and a study about women.

The study dasked the women if they would prefer living in a cohousing like situation or be homeless. They choose homeless. My jaw hit the floor!  The study seems more to be about living in a house together than true cohousing which many outsiders mix up constantly.  The study participant women didn’t want the loss of privacy even though they liked the gain of more social situations.

The study does crack me up. It was hypothetical but these women preferred to not have a house at all.  It also shows that homeless people (I think that was the study group) won’t just take anything we throw at them.  A home is so important to all of us, the privacy, the creation of making it what you want, and the sanctuary it can provide.

Here is the link to the new podcast:

Foundation of Intentional Community’s new podcast

https://www.cohousinghouston.com/podcast

Above is a link to the Houston Cohousing podcast

Happy Listening!

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A breath of fresh air podcast on cohousing

https://www.dw.com/en/co-housing-a-green-alternative-to-the-family-home/av-60173034

This show dives into many aspects of sharing home spaces.  The host, Neil King, interviews Dr. Sally Augustin, an environmental psychologist,on how our brains work.  She says you need a space that is your territory and you can control. Otherwise your brain can’t relax.  Aha!  That’s how I felt when everyone seemed to turn against me (and/or not speak up or ask how I was doing). It felt unsafe. It wasn’t the home I was looking for.  Yes, you have a private home but I felt like I was hiding in that private dwelling space. Closing the curtains so I wouldn’t see the neighbors outside laughing with others that I knew they were furious with also.  At least with me they just turned their backs and wouldn’t talk to me. I think it may be worse to smile at hypocrites who don’t tell you they are burning inside because of your actions.

It is hard to share, Dr. Augustin states, since everyone might have different goals for that space. One wants to nap and another plays tuba. Just like the common house rooms – a workshop or yoga studio?

Next Neil talks with a cohousing researcher, Dr. Helen Jarvis, professor of social geography engagement, at the University of Newcastle. She says that Scandinavians have high levels of trust in their governments and their neighbors whereas US and Australia, not so much.

Then, he talks with a cohouser.  This is from Europe (he says he broadcasts from Germany).  So, the cohouser is in Europe where I think, they have less of a learning curve on community living than us in the USA (as the research concurs).  

Siv Helene Stangeland, the cohouser and partner in Helen & Hard architects has been living in a cohousing place in Scandinavia since 2011. Her words ring of a true cohouser, “Put all the small frictions on the table,” The reason is so others won’t campaign about it and start talking about it outside of a group. Talk about those small things before they become big .aPut  them on the monthly meeting agenda.  Listen to all the different views and opinions and get a bigger picture. That’s basically what she said and it was music to my ears!

Lastly he converses with a colleague from India., Ashutosh Pandey, senior editor with DW Business. Community is everywhere but changing in India, he says.  Like a homemaker may find themselves taking care of all the neighbors’ children.  He acknowledges that it’ might be hard to unwind after being around people all day at work, especially if you are an introvert.  He may like to try it but not in the purest form.  

I found it to be a balanced conversation that weaved in psychology, business, facts, and imagination. Enjoy!

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another day another cohousing article

I found another article on cohousing.

https://www.independent.co.uk/independentpremium/long-reads/should-live-commune-communal-living-benefits-b1976507.html

I like what the researcher says:

“One thing I would say,” notes Stevens-Wood, “is that it can be very intense.” The researcher has spent a great deal of time studying intentional communities, spending stints living on these sites. It is “the world’s most intense personal development programme that never ends”. Living in a community requires continually considering others, navigating their personal space and compromising. “When I was there I loved it, but when I got home it was so nice to slob out on the sofa and not have to think about other people!” 

And they describe how it may be harder for younger people:

“What you often notice is that the group that doesn’t cope so well [in intentional communities] are those from their late teens up to their mid-30s,” says Bill Metcalf of the University of Queensland. “They often find it inhibiting.” With communal life’s requirements to be responsible and always think about others, people in early adulthood might be more inclined to live alone or in smaller groups. 

A cohousing founder also suggests people visit a few to decide which community is a good fit for you. I couldn’t say it better myself.

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A conflict free year

For one of my new year’s resolutions I gave up zoom. I’m not crazy – not entirely, just as many as possible that I can avoid.  So, now it’s just for work and a few of the close friends I have met on zoom or re-connected with since the pandemic began.

I realized that I didn’t need or want to sign up for cohousing or intentional community information zooms anymore. I don’t need conflict resolution training because I don’t have conflict anymore!  It dawned on me that the year and half since I left cohousing, life has been easy and pretty darn good.  I don’t’ have 30 adults and some gaggle of children to mingle with and figure out how to coexist with.  Due to Covid and working from home, I don’t even have conflicts at work.  Of course my own children argue and buck against me and rules, but it is a whole different type of peace since leaving intentional community. It’s nice and relaxing and conflict free. And it is not lonely. I have new neighbors to run into and just be social.  I have deep relationships with new friends and people I choose to be around.

I  also think I just am on a different wave length than most cohousers.  I write here about conflict and one cohouser thought it meant I was averse to conflict. What? I’m saying the opposite. To have a successful intentional community, you have to lean in and work through the little issues so they don’t become big issues and when they do, lean in more and be honest, and cry and hug and figure it out.  I was all in. I was just shocked out how most of the others still prefer to sweep everything under the rug until it’s a mountain. And then build nukes on that mountain and find a target to blast all their uncomfortable feelings unto.

Whatever. All that matters is that I stay more distant from all things cohousing. No more zooms and a normal amount of conflict year!  I hope your year is the best it can be!

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Blame it on the Stars – astrology mapping out cohousing

My friend has learned a lot about astrology this year and led an online workshop on astrology charts. I have so much respect for her and all she has learned since it was a foregin language to me.  Makes me want to learn more.

One thing that shocked me was the idea of the chiron. It is a comet named after a Greek Centaur.  The teacher told us that it returns to your world 50 years after you are born and causes disruption.

Aha!

That’s what happened to me. My world turned upside down right when I turned 50. The day after the community invited everyone for cake (out on the porch for COVID) everything went to heck.  Maybe my life would have flipped even without cohousing but I was living there and it all fell apart. The good thing is that now I have the life I really want – with a nice not tight knit community and lots of privacy and fun at the beach.

I also just researched more about it (link below) and they say it shows your worse insecurities and how we damage ourselves, and what triggers us. 

Aha!

That also happened. I hadn’t been triggered by certain things in years (maybe because I wasn’t in a group situation where things like middle school caste systems appear until moving into coho).  I also wondered why my deepest insecurities came bubbling up like a latent volcano.  It was Chiron. And the fact that living in community and figuring out how everyone fits in (or not) brings up many issues.

So don’t be surprised if you see me in more future classes mapping out the stars. If I had known, maybe I would have been more prepared. I should have looked up.

https://cafeastrology.com/chiron.html

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The Grinch HOA stole Christmas

A Florida man didn’t do the crime this time, well, according to his HOA he did. He put up his Christmas lights too early. How dare he!

The story caught my eye since HOAs should learn to be a little flexible and keep holiday cheer.  And, in case you are wondering when to take down your lights, I agree with the Florida man   – the more cheer the better with COVID and I  liked how people put them up in quarantine.  In some cultures the lights stay up until Candlemas – Groundhog Day.

So, bring on the holiday cheer.  Put those lights up and may all your Christmases be merry and bright. And with good neighbors!

https://www.clickorlando.com/news/florida/2021/11/22/florida-family-faces-hoa-fine-for-early-christmas-lights-display/#//

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Hard Candy Christmas

On the show Friends, Monica makes candy to get to know the  neighbors.  I don’t understand why we don’t try more to get to know our neighbors in general.  They didn’t know her name and called her Candy Lady but they didn’t know other neighbors’ names and called one “Smokes a Lot Lady.”

The episode also shows a mob mentality. Even sweet Joey writes a mean letter to try to get candy!  I don’t know what makes us humans be our worse when we can be in a group.  It’s funny in comedies but not in real life.  I hope your holiday is sweet no matter what the neighbors say or do.

Just the mob scene above

All candy scenes below:

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Cranky Christmas Neighbors

Christmas with the Kranks is a movie which pretty much follows the short story Skipping Christmas by John Grisham. I usually listen to the story on Audible and watch the movie every year but they are pretty close so sometimes, just the movie.  This year I listened closely to the parts about neighbors.

Mr. Crank decides Christmas is too much fuss and too expensive so he decides to skp it and take a cruise instead.  The problem is the neighbors, especially one menacing looking one played hysterically  by Dan Ackroyd.  When the neighbor hears about Mr. Crank’s crazy idea he goes to talk to him and Mr. Cranks says that they can’t make him feel guilty and he would appreciate it if “everyone around here would respect my wishes.”

I wonder why we have to defend ourselves to our neighbors. About going against the herd?  Can’t we be friendly and kind without all having to be in lock step?  For this neighborhood, it ruins their chances to win the best decorated street since the Cranks refuse to put up their roof snowman named Frosty.

Spoiler Alert – The Cranks almost get to go off on their warm cruise when their daughter calls to say she has a surprise – she is returning home and wants all the trimmings because it’ll be her fiance’s first Chicago Christmas ever (being from Peru and from different traditions). The Cranks suddenly need to decorate the house, shop for food, and throw the party they had cancelled that year.

Mr. Crank dangles from their roof and the neighbors gather to wonder why he suddenly tried to put Frosty on the roof.  They say they all should help to make it Christmas for them and someone asks why after their month-long behavior.  The answer is “We are a community and a community sticks together even if one, for most of the holidays,  has been acting like a selfish little baby.  Why should the daughter pay for the sins of the father?”  

Later, Mrs. Crank reminds her husband that “Thanks to this true meaning of community, they sacrificed their Christmas to put others first.”

I know this is Hollywood and the fantasy we all want. Whether it is a whirlwind romance or an alien fighting superhero, the movies create perfect neighborhoods. Cohousing is the dream that everyone will put others first. That they will come together no matter how one person behaves.  That was the dream I had and I hope, that if you move into cohousing, that it’ll happen to you. Some Hollywood films are based on true stories.

Christmas With The Kranks (2004) - A Review - HaphazardStuff
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An unfun Festivus

I watched the episode again. I had no idea they said it was the 23rd of December but I heard about it on the radio. Many celebrate this Seinfeld created holiday. Sure, it doesn’t sound fun – you gather around a pole and tell all your loved ones how they have disappointed you that past year.

I had that experience. An unfun festivus. The mediator had the “brilliant” idea that everyone should air their grievances just as Mr. Costanza begins each Festivus celebration.   Hence a pile on began for 7 hours of how what I had done was wrong and how no one else (who spoke) would do such a thing.  I heard all the victim statements and expected the mediator to give us some wisdom on how to go forward or at least let me reply. Nothing. Nada. Rien.  They  just ended the zoom call.  This was our savior?  The mediator promised to hear each side of the story (had a private zoom with each household), give their proposal (a long email which I called a book report and that most thought it had misrepresented them – it did for me too but I didn’t feel like nit picking at that point), and then to hold the first step of letting it all out. The festivus!

I wish it had ended like Festivus does – with a feats of strength. Maybe the physical exertion of a wrestling match can ease tension and we could have really started a healing process. Instead I did get my chance to reply – I sent an email to everyone saying I was leaving and one to the mediator (who never replied). The mediation was my last hope and it failed.

Now it’s the second official Festivus day since that day and I am feeling the Festivus miracles!  I have some loose ends of what I want to write but it’s not top of mind anymore. I enjoy my new neighbors and new life. We are planning a “holiday” party once the common area gets a makeover, which should be soon. I don’t mind spinning the dreidel, or decorating Christmas cookies, or having some Kwanzaa fruit but I don’t think I will suggest doing any of the Festivus traditions. Once was enough.

The Strike episode of Season 9
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From my catio to yours!

Happy Holidays! Here is the Christmas Catio from the Cohousing!

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