I was going to quit all my bad habits for the new year, but then I remembered that
To be exact, one commitment for 2016 for my community: to acknowledge every person for whatever specific contribution he or she makes -- big or small -- to me personally or to the community as a whole. And to do this through a written thank-you note. Thank you for pruning the bushes. Thank you for lending your parking place. Thanks for taking minutes. Thanks for bringing my mail. Thank you for your sense of humor in stressful times.
Buckets have been written on the subjects of appreciation, gratitude, acknowledgment, etc. We understand the importance of acknowledging people's contributions. We understand the effect on those we acknowledge and on ourselves when giving the acknowledgement.
Gobs of research. Gobs of understanding. Now, what about ACTION?
This past year, I read A Simple Act of Gratitude by John Kralik. In December 2007 the holidays weren't so happy. Kralik was working on his second divorce. His girlfriend had left him. The relationships with his two older children were frayed. He was afraid of losing the relationship with his youngest. His law firm was hemorrhaging money. The judgeship he so wanted looked impossible to gain. The recession was gathering steam. His law firm was inches from combusting. And just to rub salt in his wounds ... he was 40 lbs overweight.
He took action. He made a commitment to write a thank-you note everyday for 365 days. Thank you for the cologne. Thank you for the tie. Thank you paying back the loan. Thank you for your business. Thank you for paying your bill on time - it helps us pay our bills on time. That you for lunch.
You already know what happened. His one remaining client grew into many more clients. His children started talking with him. His girlfriend stayed. His friendships grew. During the recession his law firm started making money. And sure enough -- he did get that judgeship. And he still writes thank you notes. Not because of what he got but because what he gave allowed relationships to grow which in turn allowed his life to grow.
Every day, 365 days a year at 9:30 a.m. I exchange five gratitudes and five acknowledgements with another colleague about work, play, service or anything at all. This is between me and one other person via phone. It has made a major difference in my life. So this year, I'm going to, as they say, "step it up a notch." This will be between me and one-on-one with a whole community. We're in a good place here in my community right now. But I don't think gratitude has to wait for a "down" time to have an effect. In any event, gratitude is not a strategy. It's a way of being in the world. The world I choose to live in is one of service, acknowledgment, gratitude and ... ubiquitous chocolate.
We're really not in this alone.
So what action can I take to strengthen the ties that bind? What actions will you take in 2016? Have you tried something like this before? I invite you to share your thoughts by leaving your comments below.
Takoma Village Cohousing
Arlington Ecovillage, Happy Hour, Wednesday, December 30, 2015, 6:00 p.m. Mexicali Blues, 2933 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, VA. Sign up via the Washington DC Area Meetup.
Takoma Village Cohousing, Tour the community, Saturday, March 5, 2016. Sign up via Washington DC Area Meetup.
The National Geographic (online) has a lovely article by Christina Nunez on how cohousing communities save energy while fostering a greater connection among residents. She focuses on The EcoVillage of Ithaca NY and Belfast EcoVillage in Maine. Takoma Village in Washington, DC gets a nice mention. Right under the headline is an impossibly dramatic "winter spiral" photo taken at the EcoVillage in Ithaca.
Heathcote Community, a 50-year old intentional community and permaculture demonstration farm, is seeking proposals from families or groups who would like to be Associate Members of Heathcote and rent Heathcote’s farmhouse for a year.
Life Edited eNewsletter just ran an extensive article on cohousing featuring Durham Central Park Cohousing! Be sure to subscribe to the Life Edited!.
Natural Lighting, lightweight construction and ... the green house effect?
This project aims to build a prototype house with minimal ecological footprint through the use of locally sourced natural materials and the drastic reduction in energy demand; energy efficiency is achieved by using natural thermal insulation throughout the external envelope and by developing strategies adapted to equatorial latitudes for solar energy capture through greenhouse effect." Home Design
Photography by Darren Hendrix
Would you live in this 400s/f Airstream trailer?
Tiny houses ... tiny houses ... tiny houses ... why not give up this conversation as if "tiny houses" are something new and just live in a -- gasp! -- trailer? At 400s/f this trailer can hold its own with "tiny houses" and ... it's moveable! Curbed.
Project Sunroof -- Google, of course!
Thinking of installing a solar roof? Don't know where to start? Begin with this FREE web application for determining your solar needs.
"When you enter your address, Project Sunroof looks up your home in Google Maps and combines that information with other databases to create your personalized roof analysis.
Don't worry: Project Sunroof doesn't give the address to anybody else unless you ask it to." from the Sunroof website.
Data analysis is available for about nine geographic areas at present. If yours is not available you can sign up to be notified of its availability.
What fun contests about "life in cohousing" would you like to see? Send your suggestions to: Ann Zabaldo. Or you can comment below. Open to all clean & green, natural, organic, cage & steroid-free contests ...
You can leave comments about blog postings or all our published work below. While here, cruise around earlier blog posts and other parts of the website. Look for FREE downloads!
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Ann Zabaldo is a passionate promoter of cohousing. She was on the develoment team for Eastern Village in Silver Spring, MD and Takoma Village in Washington, DC where she lives. She serves on the Board for MAC.
See cool blog for Emerson Commons.