Thursday, September 17, 2009

Lifelong learning

Mia, who is one of my fellow Pacific Gardeners, told me that she was uncomfortable with the slogan that appears on quite a bit of our promotional material. It states that cohousing is a place where neighbours become friends.

Recently Mia discussed this with her son, Yonas, who has lived in a cohousing community for a few years. Coincidentally, I was billeted with Yonas, his wife, Julia, and their three young children when I participated in a workshop at WindSong in late July.

Yonas agreed with Mia that the slogan was too simplistic. He said that his fellow cohos were not exactly his friends. Rather, they challenged him, stretched him, and inspired him to try things that, if he'd been left to his own devices, he would not have tried.

He went on to say that his fellow cohos belonged to a category that was somewhere along the continuum that had family members at one end and friends at the other end.

The cohousing model falls under the umbrella of intentional communities. I think "intentional community" probably is a perfect label for the phenomenon. It's a closely knit community, but it's one to which people belong by choice.

In the case of the family into which you are born, you have little option but to belong to it. Certainly that is so when you're a young child.

As I've stated on this blog before, most cohousing communities are secular and have no religious affiliations. However, it has been observed that there are a disproportionate number of Unitarian Universalists (UUs) in cohousing communities.

There is a noticeable overlap between the demographic compositions of the two groups. One of the characteristics that is common to both of them is a love of learning.

From my experience of cohousing so far, it is a way of life that calls on you to be flexible and open minded. I agree with Yonas that my fellow cohos are not merely friends. Because they have a habit of raising the bar for me, I think of them as spiritual companions.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

If you go down to the woods today

To say that I'm enjoying living at Pacific Gardens Cohousing Community is something of an understatement.

One of the things I love about this complex is its situation in a wooded area that nonethless is just a couple of kilometres from downtown Nanaimo, the harbour, and Vancouver Island University.

The landscaping is starting to come together. The property gradually is losing that torn and scarred appearance that construction gave it. It's starting to look more serene.

This is the view from my patio, looking left across the Common House patio, towards the woods that lead down to the Chase River.

Below is the view to which I wake up every morning. I love opening my eyes and looking out across the Gobi Desert - as fellow Pacific Gardener, Kathryn, calls it -- towards the trees and the little glimpse of Mount Benson.

Of course that is facilitated by the absence of drapes on the west side of my apartment. But, hey, I love that view so much, I may leave the drapes open even when I get them.

The Gobi Desert's days also are numbered. Tomorrow that area is going to be seeded with a ground cover called fall rye. Later on, we will plant vegetable gardens there. Organic vegetable gardens, naturally.

Below is the pond in the northeast corner of our property. It is home to an indigenous species of tree frog that, at certain times of the year, treats us to a chorus that I find divine. It also is home to mallard ducks and any number of other wild things.

I recently had a hilarious experience in connection with this pond. A visitor looked at it, wrinkled his nose, and said, "But it's so ... so ... so ... ummm ... wild." I smiled and said, "Yes, it is."

Below is a view of Pacific Gardens Cohousing Community from Seventh Street. It is the scene that greets me when I return home from downtown.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Things are moving apace

Lots is happening at Pacific Gardens Cohousing Community. Buyers are moving into their apartments. Landscaping is being done. The place is looking spiffy.

Our potluck suppers at 6:00 pm on Thursdays are turning out to be great fun. Friends, neighbours and strangers drop by, sit around, and chat. Some of the people whom I've met have been fascinating. The reality of this community is exceeding my hopes.

Every now and then I remember that I've been wanting to take photos, so that I can record our pioneer days. But then I get so involved that I totally forget to lug a camera.

That's all I have to say for now. Stay well.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Another day, another blog

If you follow My Cohousing Adventure to any extent, you'll be aware that my posts on this blog are eclectic. Yes, I do have quite a bit to say here about my experience of cohousing, but I discuss other stuff too.

Well, for some time I had been feeling as if a blog that nominally was about cohousing was an inadequate container for some of my ramblings. I don't mean the tangents that you've witnessed so far. Rather, I mean the topics that I would have liked to have discussed, but about which I remained silent.

To give myself what felt like a more appropriate space for those musings, I have created another blog called My Phase 2 Adventure.

That blog is about my personal philosophy. Because I view things holistically, I see the physical, intellectual, emotional, social, psychological, environmental, economic and spiritual elements of life as being integrated. From my point of view, therefore, My Phase 2 Adventure defies classification. But I suppose there are some people who would see it as being about some sort of metaphysical exploration or perhaps my personal brand of spirituality.

If you visit my other blog and there is anything there that resonates with you, it may be the catalyst that sets you off on a journey of exploration of the Phase 2 concepts. If your Expanded Self does not want you to go down that path, your eyes will glaze over, and you'll say, "Whatever."

Please let me emphasize that the personal philosophy of one person, Judy Roberts, is independent of the cohousing movement. People who live in cohousing communities are Atheists, Humanists, Christians, Buddhists, Pagans, Jews, Hindus, Muslims, and on and on. Although there are a few cohousing communities that have been founded by religious groups, the majority of cohousing communities are secular.

My cohousing community, Pacific Gardens, has no religious affiliation.

Anyway, I'll see you over at my other blog if you feel so moved.

Friday, September 4, 2009

OCCUPANCY !!!!!!!!!!!!!

Today -- Friday, September 4th, 2009 -- inspectors from the City of Nanaimo deemed Pacific Gardens Cohousing Community to be safe, and issued us with an occupancy permit. This means that those of us who have bought apartments here are allowed to move into them.

I feel as I imagine a NASA announcer does when he says, "We have lift off."

My first (temporary) piece of furniture is an air mattress that I borrowed from a friend.

Here is my living / dining room, looking towards my kitchen.

It's a treat to start with a clean slate. I look forward to bringing this space to life. But of course there is a lot more to Pacific Gardens Cohousing Community than my apartment. Over the last few days, a number of trees and shrubs have been planted in our grounds. Our property is starting to look like Pacific Gardens in fact as well as in name.

We continue to have many social events and interactions that are fun and stretching, making this a garden in which not only plants but also people grow.

I love it!