2019 Aging in Community Update: 

Three Themes You Need to Know About

In 2019, today’s elders are taking ownership of aging in community like never before. As I’ve been tracking the developments, some major themes have started standing out, and I’d like to take this opportunity to share them with you now. 

When I look at the movement today, I’m equally excited by how far we’ve come in some areas and daunted by how far we still have to go in others.

Recent trends in aging in community show a generation that is revolutionizing how people we will live in our homes and stay connected with the community as we age. I outline what I view as some of the biggest successes and challenges of our movement below.

Together, we stand poised to change the face of aging in our society. But we’ll only get there if we show up and do what it takes. 

I’ve been hard at work for the last several months working on my own foundation for aging in community. I urge you to do the same.

Theme #1: Aging in Community Approaches Critical Mass

When I first started writing, speaking, and organizing about this topic more than ten years ago, there weren’t that many people who were talking about aging in community. There were just a handful of leaders out there with a limited audience of people who were taking the topic seriously. 

And it was a little frustrating sometimes talking over and over with people who seemed to be waiting for someone else to build their ideal community for them and just tell them about. And that’s NOT how it works.

But I don’t feel like I’m a lone voice in the night anymore. Today, it feels like we are turning a corner with enough of us waking up. More people than ever are taking ownership of how and where they are going to age and who they are going to do it with. There is a momentum caused by enough people getting involved and becoming for the change they want to see in the world that the Aging in Community movement is making real progress. 

Charles Durrett leading a cohousing workshop

I see this in news sources I watch where there are headlines about new communities, housing alternatives, related housing initiatives, and resources in the news everyday. 

I see it in changes in legislation like the Golden Girls Act up in Canada. 

I see this in educational programs and workshops that are taking place this year like Charles Durrett’s workshop at the 2019 National Cohousing Conference. I have a presentation coming up myself introducing alternative housing choices to a new group near Asheville, NC locally at a retreat in October 2019 called 50Forward.  

I also see this in the thriving online communities that are really growing and buzzing with activity, particularly on Facebook. Some are general interest groups about housing alternatives for older folks like Sixty and Me. Others serve the needs of specific groups, such as Elder OrphansWomen Living in Community, and Decolonizing the Crone

And it’s all happening because enough people are showing up and making it happen. 

Theme #2: Boomers are Leading the Residential Revolution in Community Building, Especially Cohousing

Interest in community living has also really picked up steam for people of all ages have gotten tired of living in an isolated world and refuse to do it anymore. But its older people who are leading the charge in most cases, cohousing in particular. 

More than 160 cohousing communities have been formed in the United States since it was introduced to the country in the 1980’s. At least 125 additional cohousing communities are being developed right now. 

And, if you visit most of them, you’ll find that the founders and most of the people living there tend to be  boomers who have chosen to age in community and made it happen. 

If you would like to dig deeper on this trend, I have some further resources below:

Theme #3: Unprecedented Pace in Creating More Alternative Structures & Repurpose Existing Structures 

It doesn’t seem like a month has gone by that I haven’t heard of some exciting new developments in alternative housing design. And most of these structures are designed for boomers who have realized that they are the first generation to be able to choose what types of structures they are going to age in a way that no generation before could have dreamed was possible. 

Here are a couple of examples of alternative structures that can easily be incorporated into aging in community.

Minka Homes

The latest creation of Dr. Bill Thomas, Minka believe it’s time for a new housing story. Minka designs, pre-fabricates and delivers sensibly-sized kit homes that can either stand alone, act as accessory dwelling units or be combined to develop pocket neighborhoods.

She Sheds

A small building separate from the main home, reserved specifically for the use of an adult woman, in which she can relax and pursue her interests. While they were designed to be the female equivalent of an outdoor man cave, they can also provide community designers with interesting options for pocket neighborhoods.

Repurposing Existing Properties for Seniors in 2019

At the same time, there is a growing interest in finding innovative new ways of repurposing structures that we already have. And seniors sharing homes has been on the rise for a while now.

Several years ago, I lived in a community for seniors on this model in which I lived with a handful of other great women (click here for a video all about it). Together, we lived in a house that was originally designed for an average family that we repurposed for aging in community as women living together in an intentional environment.

Here are three examples of similar projects that are getting off the ground in 2019.

  • The Oak Hill coliving home is an example of something similar that formed in 2019 thanks to Canada’s Golden Girl Act. 
  • Hibiscus Commons is a new senior cooperative housing project that is part of the Bay Area Community Land Trust that has a focus on exploring affordable options. They are doing so by finding ways to repurpose unused or underutilized properties. 
  • Village Hearth is an LGBT-focused, ages 55+, community in Durham, NC, with 15 acres of wooded land just 20 minutes from downtown. 

These are just a few examples of the types of projects that have gotten established recently. There are many more.

My recent experience with some of the above:

Until early 2019, I was developing a pocket neighborhood that was designed to incorporate both repurposing an existing home and building new modular structures for aging in community. 

This included using a mid-century ranch house that would have functioned as a community center and coliving opportunity for a few people, plus a series of six to twelve modular homes for people desiring shared space.

You can learn more about this project in my own 2019 personal update

Moving forward and what’s to come

The Grand Nudge wants you to take ownership of whether and how you age in community.

While there’s a lot to be excited about in the world of aging in community, it’s important to understand that your ideal community isn’t just going to land on your doorstep in 2019 or any time soon. As some of you know, that’s a message that The Grand Nudge believes in very strongly.

It’s up to you to take ownership of how you age and be the captain of your own quest for home. If you are new to the topic or could use some tools in exploring this journey, I encourage you to explore my book, My Quest for Home.

And there’s also a lot that still needs to happen moving forward within the Aging in Community movement, particularly in the areas of affordable housing, getting local governments on board, and creating good matching services for senior housing. 

I hope that you found this update on themes I’m seeing in the Aging in Community helpful. 

If you’re not already signed up, be sure to subscribe for updates from the Women Living in Community Network now. That’s the easiest way to know when a new post has been published. 

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[VIDEO] Marianne & Friends in “When I’m 65” Recording – Aging in Community

I want to share a video that I did with my friends a while back.

I’m passing this along because I think it encapsulates something important that I want you to really see.

Aging in community is beautiful and real, and it’s something that you can really do

Yes, it takes some planning, discernment, and guts. It requires investing some time, money, and hard work.

But when it all comes together, the rewards are worth it.

This is how we as women were meant to live. Together in community, supporting one another as we age in a nourishing and heart-centered environment.

It’s something that you can do to0. And you might be closer to making it a reality than you think

Maybe you already have a group of friends who would be perfect for this sort of thing if you could find the right spot. Or maybe you already have access to a house, condo, or complex and just need to find your tribe.

Speaking as The Grand Nudge for a moment, you’ve got take ownership of where you are going to end up as you age. You can’t keep waiting for someone to build your community for you and track you down to tell you about it.

If you’re ready to get started with or reassess your aging in community journey, I’ve got some questions for you.

These questions form the basis of my Guidebook, “Your Quest for Home”, and help you define how you wish to live in your later years.

I’ve created a free download of these questions that I encourage you to download. If you haven’t already joined the Women Living in Community network, sign up now and I’ll send it right over.

Join the Women Living in Community Network and get my community building questions now!

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If you are already a subscriber, you can access the questions from my book here.

An Update from Marianne

It’s been a while since I have posted here on Women Living in Community.

That’s because I’ve been actively engaged in some community building projects that are close to my part. I’ve learned a lot along the way, and I want to take a moment to get you up to speed and share some of my journey with you.

In the past couple of years, I’ve watched as the topic of aging in community has a central narrative in the media as the Boomers grapple with how they want to spend their later years.

Having been a pioneer in this area for over a decade, I’ve appeared in some of the news coverage and had an opportunity to share my perspective. I’ve also had a chance to track the course of some exciting developments that community developers, architects, and designers are creating to solve the problems posed by multi-generational housing.

Along the way, I’ve been hard at work on some projects of my own, which is what I’d like to update you on today. These projects include developing an intentional neighborhood here in Asheville, participating in the Residential Living Academy (RAL), and building a tribe of my own.

So where have I been?

Developing an Intentional Neighborhood in Asheville, NC

At one point, I thought I wanted to be a developer.

I bought a house with an adjacent property and spent years struggling, like Sisyphus, uphill.

I tried everything I could think of, and, while I had a lot of potential interest, no one could help me start the process. I simply couldn’t do it alone.

There was so much to work out. Ranging from infrastructure and zoning to housing design to homeowners agreements, I needed the right people to show up in order for it to come together.

I worked endlessly with the developer, builders, various experts, and officials. I worked closely with several people who were very interested in living here. But the people I needed didn’t show no matter how hard I tried.

And so, one year ago, I sold my property to a developer. The hope was to build several modular homes in the site and expand into a final vision for a pocket neighborhood.

Today, the property is still undeveloped. The project of developing the property may continue, but that is no longer in my hands and unlikely to have community baked into its design.

That’s because it became clear that pocket neighborhood I had envisioned was not meant to be. I realized that I had to let go, and I didn’t have to do it alone.

I held a letting go ceremony with the help of some close friends who had joined or supported me on my journey. This process included the burning of some documents connected with my vision and kind words from friends who had been involved in the project.

Over the next few months, I spent some time in the morning looking out my kitchen window at the larger property, working on letting go. Noticing the wind, rain, snow, and sunshine come and go over those mornings, and something in me eventually shifted.

I was ready to truly let go and had made room in my heart for what comes next. The final step in the process was to build a small fire in the same ashes as the fire of the original ceremony with some time quiet reflection. I was pretty much ready to move on.  

What I learned along the way, yet again, is that I really am a visionary. And being a visionary is great, but sometimes it is just not enough. That’s a valuable lesson and something I’m actively working on applying in my life.

Things change, and that’s okay.

So, I came within fifteen feet of my dream, literally. There are some steps just outside my driveway that lead down to an open lot where the community would have been.

While it’s true that I don’t have the type of community that I had envisioned, I wound up developing deep ties with my neighbors during the process. In fact, I ended up with a pretty awesome intentional neighborhood of my own along the way that I’m grateful to call home.

After I sold the land, I put my intention out to the universe. Living in a community of like-minded people was still what I wanted. Since that time, all of the homes around me have become an organically grown community.

Our intentional neighborhood as it stands today was born out of proximity. We’re all walking distance within one another and through fostering relationships we’ve come together over shared meals, a community garden, and more. The neighborhood is made up of renters, homeowners, and housemates of diverse ages and backgrounds.

A big test of our community came when a guest in my own home needed emergency services. When they saw the red flashing lights outside my house, one neighbor called to make sure I was okay. Although the emergency personnel had the situation under control, it sure felt good to know at that moment that someone in our little place was looking out for me and had my back.

We’re there for one another in good and bad times. We’re one phone call away if there’s an emergency or a celebration.

I’m also renovating the brick ranch house that was going to serve as the community house of my pocket neighborhood, and it came out fantastic. I’ve always thought that this house could serve as a great model for shared senior living, a la Golden Girls. And I’m more excited now than ever about its potential.

It’s got a completely new kitchen that can serve as the heart of the home, remodeled bathrooms, improved storage facilities, and more. I look forward to possibly opening this property up for community living again sometime in 2020.

During my sabbatical, here’s what else I got up to!

Tribe Training

In 2017, I wrote about Tribe Training, and I am pleased to say this experience has been transformative. There are 6 people in our group all local to the Asheville area.

What I didn’t realize before this experience was that a group of people who don’t live together can forge even deeper connections than the typical intentional community. We rely on each other, we have each other’s backs, and we’re all interested in building community.

I love the structure, the commitment, and ritual of our dedicated time together. They have become my chosen family and we have learned to grow and age together in a way that’s different than other relationships.

 

Residential Living Academy

I also attended the Residential Assisted Living Academy in Phoenix Arizona in May of 2018. Started by Gene Guarino, it’s a method of designing residential communities to incorporate an assisted living home within neighborhoods rather than the prisons we’ve designed as the medical model or Continuing Care Residential Communities (CCRC) facilities.

His model targets real estate and business partners for what he calls “doing well and doing good.” Once in place, his concepts can immediately benefit elders living within neighborhood environments. Through my training there, I realized the impact that one person could have in the training of others to embrace this new idea.

I also learned more about why there is so much interest and investment going into viable models for senior housing. As Boomers continue to age, more and more of us are insisting on alternatives to the options that our parents may have had. We want to stay connected as we age, and we want to stay in our homes as long as we age.

And that leads to major investment opportunities for real estate investors and developers who are can stay ahead of the curve. Having learned what I have by going through RAL, I’ve got a better toolbox than ever for aligning my mission with investors and realtors.

Media Exposure and Public Appearances

I’ve also participated in several interviews and feature articles on a variety of media sources, like Parade Magazine and the Washington Post.

Sometimes it’s difficult to see yourself through someone else’s eyes, but both of these articles made me recognize that I was a leader and a pioneer in this movement and I am excited that others are seeing what the future could be.

I’ve been featured quite a bit over the years in the news, television, and radio. That’s because I think that it’s important that we keep having crucial conversations about we live and age together, both with one another and in the public sphere. Moving forward, I’m looking forward to being out there more in the media and continuing to push for the solutions I believe in for living in community.

 

Upcoming Speaking Engagement

What happens next that I’m excited about? I’ll be speaking at the Living Well annual retreat in Asheville this October. The event promotes the creation of community for a happier and healthier lifestyle.

 

Where do I go from here? Join me and find out with me!

I did take some time away on what I referred to as a sabbatical from Women Living in Community itself.

And I know the journey is never complete. I have long talked about the mission of living in community and what that looks like. It takes a lot of forms, from my shared home that was featured on NBC to an intentional neighborhood like my own.

It’s not at all the end of my story. It’s not even the beginning. It’s part of an ever-evolving journey that will take me any number of places. When people ask me “What’s next?” I’ve had to get used to saying, “I don’t know.” I don’t like the answer, but I’m comfortable with what it means for now.

It’s time for me to take something I love, Women for Living in Community, and broaden it to encompass the entire Boomer cohort looking for a new way to pave the road ahead. This isn’t just for women, it’s for everyone.

Women for Living in Community can and will take many forms. I’m here to help others on their own paths as they age in place and in community.

It’s time to let Marianne out of the box. There is a lot we can do around alternative housing choices and to engage with that is the next phase of me.

Until next time, it’s a movement!

So stay connected by signing up below.

I’ll be sharing more of my journey, community building resources, and updates on the Aging in Community movement!




The ugly duckling modular home

From myth to reality: the beautiful truth about modular homes

You know the childhood story – the ugly duckling that was picked on by his barnyard friends until one day he matured into a beautiful swan…. that story. In much the same way, modular homes have gone through the same transformation.  Modular homes have been around since the 1950s, starting because of the demand for homes after World War II.  At the beginning, it was function over form so the “ugly duckling” vision of modular homes stuck.  Years of misinformation and confusing modular homes with mobile homes still has many avoiding modular homes for all the wrong reasons. Here’s the truth about modular homes and why you should consider this beautiful swan.

First and foremost, it would surprise many that the home I live in is a modular.  Here’s a pic:

Why the surprise? Because of the myths surrounding modular homes.  So, let’s break that down:

  1. Modular homes are NOT mobile homes.  Unlike mobile homes, modular homes DO appreciate in value, their resale value is good and they do last longer than mobile (i.e., manufactured homes).
  2. Modular homes do not all look the same.  You can customize each and every feature of your home just as you would a site built home. The difference is that the construction is faster because it is built inside in sections and then delivered rather than being built onsite where weather and construction schedules lengthen the construction time.  Another advantage of being built inside is that they are “green” meaning they have a lower negative impact to the environment. Most importantly, you can incorporate Universal Design elements in your customization.  (Curious about Universal Design? Click here to read our blog about it).
  3. Modular homes can be financed just like site built homes because they, too, do not depreciate like a mobile home.  In addition, because construction time is often less, the finance costs to the homebuyer are also less.
  4. Modular homes are NOT cheap.  You can customize your modular home with the same high end finishes and coverings as you would a traditional home but they can be 10 to 35% cheaper than a site built home.

If you are considering downsizing your home and building a smaller home or considering moving into a planned pocket neighborhood community then you should consider modular homes as a way of saving your savings, having all the customization you want and seeing faster results.

Universal Design: It’s not just about you.

What if every building and every home was designed to make it accessible to anyone and everyone who wanted to enter regardless of their age, size, or ability or disability? In the design world, it’s called “Universal Design” and can be applied to products as well as places and even websites.

What is Universal Design?

It was not until 1997 that Universal Design was created,

“Universal Design is the design and composition of an environment so that it can be accessed, understood and used to the greatest extent possible by all people regardless of their age, size, ability or disability. An environment (or any building, product, or service in that environment) should be designed to meet the needs of all people who wish to use it. This is not a special requirement, for the benefit of only a minority of the population. It is a fundamental condition of good design. If an environment is accessible, usable, convenient and a pleasure to use, everyone benefits. By considering the diverse needs and abilities of all throughout the design process, universal design creates products, services and environments that meet peoples’ needs. Simply put, universal design is good design.” Source: http://universaldesign.ie/What-is-Universal-Design/

Universal Design in Homes and Community

When it comes to communities and pocket neighborhoods where clusters of homes are built with those interested in being neighbors and enjoying their home, Universal Design becomes even more important.  Each home is not just built for the tenant’s accessibility but also with everyone else who may be visiting or staying in the home or the community. Here are examples of common universal design features in homes (for more, click here)

  • No-step entry. No one needs to use stairs to get into a universal home or into the home’s main rooms.
  • One-story living. Places to eat, use the bathroom and sleep are all located on one level, which is barrier-free.
  • Wide doorways. Doorways that are 32-36 inches wide let wheelchairs pass through. They also make it easy to move big things in and out of the house.
  • Wide hallways. Hallways should be 36-42 inches wide. That way, everyone and everything moves more easily from room to room.
  • Extra floor space. Everyone feel less cramped. And people in wheelchairs have more space to turn.
  • Floors and bathtubs with non-slip surfaces help everyone stay on their feet. They’re not just for people who are frail. The same goes for handrails on steps and grab bars in bathrooms.
  • Thresholds that are flush with the floor make it easy for a wheelchair or stroller to get through a doorway. They also keep others from tripping.
  • Good lighting helps people with poor vision. And it helps everyone else see better, too.
  • Lever door handles and rocker light switches are great for people with poor hand strength. But others like them too. Try using these devices when your arms are full of packages. You’ll never go back to knobs or standard switches.

Visuals always help:

More research and information

To read more case studies incorporating Universal Design, visit this website:  http://universaldesigncasestudies.org/

To read about universal design and aging in place by the National Association of Home Builders, visit: https://www.nahb.org/en/consumers/homeownership/aging-in-place-vs-universal-design.aspx

 

Spring in Asheville and Progress!

Hello WLIC followers!

Been a long time since I mentioned the next steps in my life.  Here’s a quick update.

Awhile back I bought the property next to my home. I recently sold it to a developer who is working closely with us to design a pocket neighborhood.  There are currently plans for 10 modular homes to go on the property, one of them being mine.

I currently have three friends who are planning on being my neighbors and part of the development as like-minded community individuals. There is room for 7 more modular homes. At the moment each of us in the process of custom designing our modular home and deciding on which lot to place our home.

Why modular? It is more affordable, quicker to build and allows me to incorporate Universal Design elements that I wanted in my home. We should be ready by Fall, 2018.Each home is about 1000 to 1500 square feet, so it is small but not that tiny.  There is a creek along one side of the property and my current home is adjacent to the property.  The neighborhood is quiet and peaceful yet we are close to downtown Asheville amenities.

My desire for the use of this land has lasted a long time.  Some of you have been with me on this Quest from the beginning and I am so excited that you can follow along in this blog as we begin the building process and developing our neighborhood – our community to live and age in!Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Marianne

Summer and Fall classes on Guidebook – Asheville

Your Quest for Home

 Here are the happy faces of those who completed the Guidebook Summer session at our potluck social after four intense sessions intense together. We didn’t want to say goodbye and also wanted to see Sheila’s amazing home and gardens. No wonder she is conflicted about her next steps. Like many of us, who like our current homes and stuff, we can’t imagine leaving anytime soon. Yet, there is that small voice saying, “Don’t wait, start now!”
Eight of us gathered at my little house in North Asheville for a jam packed one and a half (1 1/2) hours every 2 weeks or so. The dates were decided before hand and most everyone made all of the sessions, which is really important.

Class participants comments afterwards:

“Being in Marianne’s workgroup, Quest for Home, was very beneficial to me at this juncture of my life.  Not only did the exercises in the book, once I actually did them, give me clarity that I was looking for, but hearing other’s concerns and experiences gave me insight into my own journey.  The sharing of experiences helped us see that the obstacles we are encountering are not just our own or our lack of ability or experience but are shared among most women.
Highly recommend!” Marty Knight
 “The workshop was invaluable. Marianne is an excellent facilitator–attentive, perceptive, and organized–and the group bonded quickly. We all learned a lot about cohousing and a bit about ourselves. I’d recommend the workshop to anyone thinking about a cohousing community.” CT
“I got a lot out of the book and workshop, which helped me organize my thoughts as I consider and evaluate a very different living situation than I have now, an intentional community, rather than a single-family house model.  The constant reminder to “pay attention to what you don’t want as well as what you do” will become a litmus test as new ideas are considered.  First time through is an eye-opener, but I will go back to relevant sections over and over as I go forward.  I would not have done the exercises on my own, but working in a group showed me options I hadn’t considered, as well as giving me a schedule to work to.  Valuable experience!” Linda B.

Fall sessions starting soon!  The organizing meeting is September 13th.

For details: Click away!   Dates and times and fees:  http://wlicbook.womenforlivingincommunity.com/

 The Table of contents and a flavor for the Guidebook.
You can also purchase on Amazon or download on Kindle – click here
Talk and meet others on Wed, Sept 13 at 6:30pm at Earthfare West Community Room in Asheville to get a feel for the book, the author and others. Or email Marianne and sign up by Sept 24th, class size is limited. info@womenforlivingincommunity.com
If you are not in Asheville or surrounding area, or thinking it’s going to be cold out there to drive this winter?  The plan for future programs on the Guidebook will be to use of Zoom or some techie thing on the horizon. Stay tuned (by making sure you are subscribed to our website).
Is there a book sitting on your shelf? Hope it is this one and link. Take it down from the shelf and join us!

Summer Workshop Series based on Guidebook

Beginning this summer, Marianne will be leading workshops based on her guidebook, “Your Quest for Home: A Guidebook to Find the Ideal Community for your Later Years.”  Workshops are small (no more than 6 people) and will be hosted in her home over four weeks.  Each workshop is approximately 1.5 hours and is open to anyone.  Participants will be taken through the guidebook with assignments in a group setting allowing you to learn from each other as much as you learn about yourself.

Organizing Meeting Details

Interested? Not sure?  Attend the first organizing meeting on Tuesday, May 23, 2017 at Earth Fare from 6:30pm to 7:30pm.  The organizing meeting is free to attend. Ask questions, learn more and if you need to, buy a guidebook at the onsite price of $20.

If you wish to sign up, please attend the Organizing Meeting and bring workshop payment.

If you cannot attend but wish to sign up for the workshops, please email Marianne at info@womenforlivingincommunity.com.

Guided Workshops 

Once we have a full class, we will schedule the workshops to begin in June or July to be held on Tuesday evenings or Friday mornings.  Space is limited to 6 people to keep the workshops small and intimate as we work through important self-discovery questions and assignments.  Learning from each other is equally important in this small workshop setting.

The fee for all 4 workshops is $50.  If you can’t make the summer series, we will be scheduling a fall and winter series.

For full details, visit www.Quest4HomeBook.com

Questions? Email info@womenforlivingincommunity.com

New Tribe Training – Round 2 May 2017 in Asheville NC

Last October we hosted a New Tribe Training at the Center for Art and Spirit in Asheville, North Carolina (click here to read that blog post). The training was a huge hit with a full roster of excited participants from all over, and participants now in the process of starting their own tribes.

todd2 (1)“On a personal level, Bill & Zoe’s New Tribe Training profoundly shifted my perspective on emotional intimacy and how to see the gifts that different people can bring to any relationship or group. When it comes to building tribe, the strong yet tender approach that they have developed could easily save anyone interested in building community, years if not decades of fumbling in the dark.”
Todd McCall, Asheville, North Carolina
“I will be forever grateful that I decided to take the New Tribe Training. The Training has regenerated every aspect of my life. My connections with others are easier and deeper. My personal growth is more robust. Even the trajectory of my life is improved. _Everything_ is better! Sign up! You won’t regret it.” Paula Willis, Asheville, North Carolina

New Tribe Training May 18 – 21, 2017 | Asheville, NC

If you missed the training last year, no worries!  There is a second opportunity May 18 – 21, 2017 in Asheville, NC.  In fact, there are 3 other opportunities with trainings in Portland and Ashland Oregon and Ontario, Canada.

What is it?

A workshop for people deeply longing for a close knit, non-residential, loving community as a safety net for challenging times. Led by Bill Kauth, co-founder of “The ManKind Project, Warrior Monk & Our Tribe” and Zoe Alowan, co-author of We Need Each Other and also co-founder of Our Tribe.

Fee: $175 with registration for hard costs of venue & all meals. At the completion of the workshop Bill & Zoe will formally request a gift based on value you have received over the 3 day workshop ($300 – $1500).

Space is limited to 24 people

Registration: via email to bkindman@mind.net or contact Bill or Zoe at 541-482-2335 / 530-263-4778. To learn more about Tribe, visit www.TimeforTribe.com.

#3Asheville 2017 Flyer-page-001

New Tribe: Focusing on us

In the last few months I have been involved in a process called “Tribe” forming. I hosted and co-facilitated the training workshop last October in Asheville.  We are bringing that workshop to Asheville again this May and thought I would share with you some of what I’ve learned from the process that may be helpful to you:

Community starts with People

Over the years of I have shifted my focus and my priority to People as the most important factor in Community.  How many of us have lived for years in a neighborhood and still not known our neighbors? How many times have we relocated to a fabulous town with great amenities and yet feel alone? How many of us have a great network of friends but yet worry who will take care of us during times of emergency, general need or holiday aloneness?

With these questions in the back of my mind, I read the book “We Need Each Other: Building Gift Community by Bill Kauth with Zoe Alowan.  This book outlines the core principles behind the Community movement.  I read this book in the past. In May 2016  I attended the “New Tribe” Training in Oregon and realized Tribe and what I learned at the training was the missing piece.  I want to share with you what resonated with me as you have been a part of this Journey:

My Lessons from “New Tribe” Training

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Tribe Training, October 2016

Lesson 1: New Tribe is…. It is a closely knit, non-residential, loving community.  Your tribe, are the ones… (taken from the book at our training)

…you spend the most time with.
…you trust the most.
…who will become your best friends.
…who will cover your back.
…you will cover their back.
…you think of first (in joy or emergency).
…with whom you co-create your life.
…with whom you have made commitments.
…who you will know for the rest of your life.
…with whom you are woven together in natural reciprocity.
…with whom you go beyond money as the currency of exchange.

I am sure as you read this you immediately thought of people that fit these descriptions and thought.. hey, I already have this. This New Tribe is a way of re-thinking our traditional ideas of tribe for our modern world. It does not require relocating or sharing a home. Consider the New Tribe a “layer” which can be put over aging in place or aging in community.

Lesson 2: “I don’t just want this I need this.”  (from a participant in the May training).The idea of having people that truly care about my well-being truly resonated with me.  “I’ve got your back, you got my back…. 

Lesson 3: Shared Values and Decisions

Other important things for me were agreed upon values and commitments within the tribe. Some are:

  • committing to a place/town/location where you’re going to stay long term 
  • commitments/agreements to each other
  • personal integrity
  • respect a durable safety net
  • celebration of relationships
  • each of us offers what we can contribute
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Tribe Training, October 2016

Lesson 4: Belonging

Since belonging is an important part of any group, this particular group meets face to face every week. Members live near each other and makes a long-term commitment.  There is a membership process with an agreed upon group size.  There is functional leadership and a decision-making process. 

Lesson 5: Important definition differences between tribe and community

Big for me is the overuse of the term “community”.  Maybe “Tribe” is getting overused too. Offered in their book and the training Zoe and Bill gave a difference that resonated with me. In a book Bowling Alone by Robert Putnam describes the difference. Community as a bridging, meaning all of those acquaintances that you have.  Tribe  is bonding, it is those we count on and have as best friends. The tribe is those that you want to have close and ongoing relationships with for the rest of our lives.

There are more lessons… they continue. We choose who comes into our tribe.

If you’re interested in learning more, there are opportunities for New Tribe Training workshops in 2017 in Portland and Ashland Oregon, Asheville NC and Canada
April 13-16, Portland, OR
May 18-21 Asheville, NC – Asheville details here
Sept. 20-24 Toronto, Canada
December 7-10 Ashland, OR

Women For Living in Community