Thursday, April 28, 2011

Trust and Let Go — Barbara Chiasson

This cohousing project reminds me of the exercise I did back in college where you close your eyes and fall backwards and trust the group to catch you so you don’t crash to the floor. John Ryan, a consultant who has been a project manager/coordinator for several cohousing groups, has said that the success of a cohousing project depends on the ability of each member to trust and let go.

I took my first steps in that direction when I attended an open house, where I was warmly welcomed first by Anne, and then by Wendy. They were so patient and answered all of my questions. Later, I walked the land with Hans and Chuck and made a wreath with Elizabeth. What fun! I felt their excitement, and I decided to make my exploring member payment just as soon as I could get it in the mail… trust and let go.

I clearly remember the meeting when we decided that our houses weren’t going to be single-family homes — they were going to share walls and be duplexes and triplexes and quads. What a concept! Many of us lived in the woods or out of town, away from others; and the single-family model was what we were used to. But we also wanted increased energy efficiency, and a shared wall meant shared heat and less energy waste. After all, that is in our mission statement! OK, maybe we can let go of that single-family house concept… trust and let go.

Then there was the question of, “How do I best fit in with this group? What will be meaningful to me, and how can I best offer my skills and experience to the group? ” It’s a little like dating — how can I show them what I have to offer and how do I gain their trust? But we’re not talking about just one person, we’re talking about 45-50 people! I took a mad dash into facilitating (big meetings, lots of people, difficult decisions… Yikes!), and the process committee/conflict resolution team. You never know what will come up… trust and let go!

Since then it has been a journey of trusting and letting go and falling in love with the people of this project. At some point, I had a paradigm shift; I stopped worrying about whether my house had this or that, or even how much it might cost or what else I might have to give up. I found so much more when I found this project. Not only will I be living lightly on the earth in a beautiful, well thought out energy efficient house, but I also found my tribe of people. I feel like I can trust and let go, I know they have my back! Steve and I joke about being willing to live in a shack or a teepee if we can just live with this incredible, brave, amazing group of people that call themselves Belfast Cohousing & Ecovillage… I’m trusting and I’m letting go!

1 comment:

  1. I look forward to reading more. I found you when I googled "ecovillage." I've been doing some research. I just did a post about one around me:
    Please keep blogging!
    Best of luck to you in your efforts!