M. Scott Peck’s Stages of Community-Making

In The Different Drum: Community Making and Peace, M. Scott Peck’s has a chapter on the stages of community-making which provides excellent insight as we mindfully make our way towards true community. Here is a quick excerpt:

  1. PSEUDOCOMMUNITY
    The members attempt to be an instant community by being extremely pleasant with one another and avoiding all disagreement. This pretense of community never works.

  2. CHAOS
    In the stage of chaos individual differences are, unlike those in pseudocommunity, right out in the open. Only now, instead of trying to hide or ignore them, the group is attempting to obliterate them. Underlying the attempts to heal and convert is not so much the motive of love as the motive to make everyone normal – and the motive to win, as the members fright over whose norm might prevail.

  3. EMPTINESS
    Members need to empty themselves of barriers to communication:

    • Prejudices which come in two forms: One is the judgments we make about people without any experience of them whatsoever. Even more common are judgments we make about people on the basis of very brief, limited experience.
    • Ideological and Theological Rigidities and any idea that assumes the status of “the one and only right way”
    • The Need to Heal, Convert, Fix or Solve: Often the most loving thing we can do when a friend is in pain is to share that pain – to be there even when we have nothing to offer except our presence and even when being there is painful to ourselves.
    • The Need to Control: [The] desired outcome – community – cannot be achieved by an authoritarian leader who calls the shots. It must be a creation of the group as a whole.

    Achieving emptiness is is a sacrificial process. Consequently the stage of emptiness in community development is a time of sacrifice. And sacrifice hurts. Such sacrifice hurts because it is a kind of death, the kind of death that is necessary for rebirth. But even when we realize this intellectually, such dying is still a fearsome adventure into the unknown.

  4. COMMUNITY
    The group has become a community. Where does it go from here? What, then, is its task? The community will frequently fall back into chaos or even pseudocommunity in the process. Over and again it will need to do the agonizing work of reemptying itself.

    When I am with a group of human beings committed to hanging in there through both the agony and the joy of community, I have a dim sense that I am participating in a phenomenon for which there is only one word. I almost hesitate to use it. The word is “glory.”


Excerpted from The Different Drum: Community Making and Peace, by M. Scott Peck, M.D.

Coho U Video Update: It’s a Great Time to Start a Cohousing Community!

Kathryn McCamantJoshua — a founding member of Good Tree Village — attended Developing Cohousing: Soup to Nuts and a Few Lessons Learned at the Cohousing University (CoHo U), a workshop intensive that was a prequel to the 2011 National Cohousing Conference which began today. In this two-part video dispatch, he gets the low down from the “grand dame” of cohousing, Kathryn McCamant, architect and co-author of the newly released cohousing “bible”, Creating Cohousing: Building Sustainable Communities. McCamant encourages wanna-be cohousers to look forward beyond the recession to great opportunities already present — like lower land prices!

Part 1:

Part 2:

Liz Walker Shares a Love Letter to EcoVillage at Ithaca

Many thanks to everyone for Saturday’s successful event, LiveGreenTogether: a book discussion and signing with EcoVillage co-founder and award-winning author, Liz Walker. After a short presentation about cohousing basics given by Good Tree Village, Walker gave an inspiring and informative address to an intimate but captivated audience on EcoVillage at Ithaca, its development, accomplishments, challenges and future goals.

Afterward Walker entertained plenty of thoughtful and discerning questions with additional well-informed input from Ann Zabaldo of Cohousing Collaborative and Mid-Atlantic Cohousing. Next, Good Tree Village presented Walker with a thank you gift of a bonsai tree. Finally a lucky guest won an autographed copy of Choosing a Sustainable Future. Guests also made their selections from VA Green Baggers’ free colorful hand-made shopping bags.

That same evening a Good Tree Village family took Walker and a few friends to dinner at Busboys and Poets in Shirlington, VA. After a casual, though lengthy, conversation with the manager of the fair trade craft and book store as they waited for a table, it seems there may be a deal struck soon that will possibly result in Busboys and Poets carrying Walker’s book at their locations!

We wish Liz continued success as she continues her book tour. If you missed her last weekend, you can catch her again as the opening speaker at the 2011 National Cohousing Conference coming to the DC Metro area this June.


Choosing a Sustainable Future Wins National Book Award

Living Now Book AwardLiz Walker’s Choosing a Sustainable Future has won a 2011 Living Now Book Award! The award honors the year’s best books that help readers attain healthier, more fulfilling, and productive lives. Announced on the eve of Earth Day, the Living Now Book Awards recognize books that help readers help themselves, to learn about enriching their lives in wholesome, Earth-friendly ways. Walker won a bronze medal in the Social Activism/Charity category.

Liz Walker In Choosing a Sustainable Future, Walker paints a picture of what a sustainable community looks like and tells us of her community’s journey toward environmental, economic and social sustainability. Walker will be the opening speaker at the 2011 National Cohousing Conference this June, but you won’t have to wait until then! Good Tree Village is co-hosting a book discussion and signing featuring Walker’s latest work on Saturday, 14 May 2011, 4 – 6 p.m. at MAS Community Center located at 6408 Edsall Road, Alexandria, VA 22312. Find out more about Walker’s approach, meet her in person, and get her to autograph your copy of her book. All are welcome! And if you’re on Facebook, let us know you’re coming!

Liz Walker Book Discussion/Signing 14 May 2011

Walker will be speaking throughout the DC Metro area from 12 – 14 May. To find other locations visit Mid-Atlantic Cohousing, contact Ann [at] MidAtlanticCohousing [dot] org, or call 703.663.3911.

Creating Cohousing Puts the “Neighbor” Back into “Neighborhood”

Creating CohousingKathryn McCamant and Charles Durrett — the duo that brought cohousing to the U.S. — just released their newest book, Creating Cohousing: Building Sustainable Communities. It’s got many new case studies, design principles and sustainable design practices. They offer an updated “must-have” book for creating more people-friendly neighborhoods, including a fully-illustrated manual that combines nuts-and-bolts practical considerations, design ideas and real life examples. Check out the table of contents, read a sample or buy the book here: http://www.newsociety.com/Books/C/Creating-Cohousing.

McCamant and Durrett co-authored the groundbreaking Cohousing: A Contemporary Approach to Housing Ourselves. Durrett also wrote The Senior Cohousing Handbook: A Community Approach to Independent Living.