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Go Local for Community Resources

Over the years I’ve met many people in the community movement who have been my inspiration and education.  I’ve been fortunate to have a few right in my own backyard (so to speak).  Here are profiles of 3 such people who have been instrumental in my quest for Community:

LEADER IN ECOVILLAGES AND INTENTIONAL COMMUNITIES

dianeleafchristianDiana Leafe Christian breathes, writes and lives about community, specifically, Ecovillages and Intentional Communities.  “Ecovillages are urban or rural communities of people who strive to integrate a supportive social environment with a low-impact way of life.” (Source).

She doesn’t just write about it, she lives in one in Black Mountain, NC called Earthaven (www.Earthaven.org).  This community was formed in 1995 and is now up to 55 full-time residents with diversity in age and background.

Living in an Ecovillage is not just about being sustainable but also how to get along and make decisions. Diana teaches workshops and writes about “Sociocracy,” a way of consensus building in community.  To get an idea of what it means, you can view a Youtube video here, “Diana Leafe Christian – Decision-making in communities + intro to Sociocracy 1“.

All of those seeking to learn about or who live in community have probably come across Communities Magazine. Diana was the editor from 1993 – 2007.  In addition to editing, Diana also published several books about Ecovillages and Intentional Communities.  Her books are considered the “bible” for community (click on titles to view on Amazon):

creatingCreating a Life Together: Practical Tools to Grow Ecovillages and Intentional Communities

Finding Community: How to Join an Ecovillage or Intentional Community

What more can I say? How fortunate am I to have her this close?

 

LEADER IN DEVELOPING COMMUNITY TOOLS FOR COLLABORATION


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Zelle Nelson and Maureen McCarthy
are a dynamic couple I met over 1o years ago while on my search for alternatives to lawyers and litigation in community forming documents. They live in Western Carolina in the small town of  Flat Rock. They are the founders of The Blueprint of WE (initially known as the “State of Grace Document) that later became The Center for Collaborative Awareness. The Blueprint of WE is a collaboration tool that can be used by businesses, in family, in groups  and of course, in community. It starts with you and custom designs a collaboration process for building together and is a guide when conflicts arise. You might think of a relationship as you and another person but with the Blueprint of WE, it’s “You, Me and WE.” blueprint

I encourage anyone who wishes to have better collaboration and communication in any personal, community or business endeavor to explore this fabulous tool.

LEADER IN BEING PASSIONATE
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Gregg Levoy  is an author who writes and speaks about passion and callings – what inspires you, what defeats you, what drives you. Gregg does not work directly in the Community movement but what he writes about is important to anyone interested in living a purposeful life with passion. I met Gregg at a workshop over 12 years ago in California and found out a few years ago that he lives in Asheville, NC!
His latest book, Vital Signs: The Nature and Nurture of Passion has made him a favorite at the conferences on aging due to the nature of the topic and his workshop leading skills. It examines the endless, yet endlessly fruitful, tug-of-war between passion and security in our lives, asking yourself questions like: How do you lose passion and how do you get it back? His other book, Callings: Finding and Following an Authentic Life, explores how to cultivate passion as a mindset to add vitality to your relationships and work.
Love his website (http://www.gregglevoy.com/) which is full of great stuff.  One of my favorite things on his website is the music and movies he recommends. http://www.gregglevoy.com/vital-signs/music-movies.html but you can also see his workshop schedule. I encourage you to attend one.
As you can see, there are some dynamic  people here in western North Carolina and I only touched upon a few.  We also have great resources which I will write about in a future blog as part of my ongoing desire to serve. In the meantime, please share with me your resources or if you found any of these helpful or inspirational.
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Community or Place: A Look at Our Needs Vs. Our Wants

To build from my last post, which looked at the importance of connection as we age, I wanted to expand more on the key elements of successful “Aging in Place” and how the principles for building a community provide the alternative many are seeking.

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Community vs. Place: Why It Matters

Let’s take a closer look at aging in community and what makes it a different, and in many cases preferred, from aging in place.

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In Spring of 2015 I opened my mailbox to find the newest edition of Communities Magazine. In it was a fantastic article by Margaret Critchlow called “Senior Cohousing in Canada: How Baby Boomers Can Build Social Portfolios for Aging Well.” Since this is right in my own wheelhouse I quickly devoured the article.

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Women’s History Month: Elsie Frank

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When I started researching for Women’s History Month I was surprised to discover very little information about women who have made a difference in the lives of aging Americans. I also learned that some extra digging can bring up a lot of great information if you’re willing to put in the work. Below the surface of Women’s History are the stories we don’t always celebrate.

One such story is that of Elsie Frank.

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The Me vs. We Generation

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In a recent magazine article that I clipped, and I can’t for the life of me remember which magazine it was clipped from, was this quote:

“In one of the greatest ironies of history, the Me Generation will transform into the We Generation in their later years.”

Of course this quote spoke to me because I am one of the people dedicated to helping our generation make this major shift in consciousness. But what does it mean to be a We Generation?

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Making Winter Easier

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Wintertime is stressful for a lot of people. The cold is just one aspect. For many others it is the darkness of the shorter winter days that becomes overwhelming. Seasonal Affective Disorder (or SAD) is a category of chronic depression exhibited by extreme mood shifts strictly to the darkness and grey days. Of course, depression is just one of several reasons that the wintertime can be hard, especially for older adults. We believe that community living could be just one possible answer for many people.

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How Names Influence Perception: Community and Aging

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You know what I don’t like? I don’t like the word “elderly.” I’m not a big fan of “senior citizen” or “person of a certain age,” either. There is no perfect option it seems. When you go to a store that offers a discount by age they call it a senior discount. I sometimes think I would like to hear “wisdom discount” instead.

See, the words we use have meaning. For instance, “elderly” and “elder” have entirely different connotations. I don’t need to tell you which one is negative. Yet, our society doesn’t see much wrong with the use of these terms to describe individuals past middle age. I admit, I am not even a particular fan of the term “Baby Boomers.”

So where does this leave us? Well, as it turns out I am not the only person who isn’t a fan of the names we currently use for people in my age group.

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Women for Living in Community: Plan for Joy

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When I first read Martha Beck’s “Plan for Joy” in O Magazine I was immediately engaged. This is what I had always imagined as I planned for my own life. I firmly believe that planning for the worst but hoping for the best is a defeatist attitude that will likely only lead us directly into our own worst case scenarios. While knowing how not to panic in an emergency is an important life skill, so is knowing how to cultivate happiness in our lives. Rather than reinventing the wheel I thought I might share with you my insights on Martha Beck’s own ideas.

Beck’s blueprint is:

  1. Have a vision.
  2. Let go of what doesn’t work.
  3. Don’t be afraid to fail.
  4. Pay attention to what really matters to you.

Here is my take on these four steps.

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How Community Living Can Make you Healthier

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I often talk about the financial aspects of community living options as we age. It is really great to be able to pool money and resources and live in shared house or community. Other subjects that frequently come up with this topic are companionship and caregiving. However, there are a few more hidden benefits we can take away from sharing a home or an intentional community with other like-minded adults as we age. Community living can make us healthier. Here is a look at some of the ways this works.

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Women For Living in Community