Nearly 60 people attend East West Bookshop Panel on Intentional Communities, Models for Sustainable Living

Terrific event last night, graciously hosted by East West Bookshop, with nearly 60 in attendance, including representatives from several intentional communities, including the Port Townsend EcoVillage and Clearwater Commons. If you attended on behalf of a community and I missed naming it, add it below in comments–we were so glad to have you there!

This is a very brief overview of what happened–the event was videotaped and we will post excerpts as soon as they become available.

Panelists, including Neal Schindler (Ravenna Kibbutz), Nancy Lanphear (Songaia Cohousing Community), Syd Fredrickson (speaking about her experience at Twin Oaks), Larry Ryder (Ananda Community), and Helen Bennett (Sherwood Co-op), shared their reflections on the material, emotional and spiritual benefits of living in intentional communities, and added their own personal thoughts on how they decided to join one.

The Q&A session following the formal presentations included key questions like economic support, the impact of the recession, how communities deal with difficult residents, whether pets are allowed, decision making processes, and opportunities for people to explore living in an intentional community before actually making the leap.

Susan Gleason of YES Magazine was present and “live-tweeted” the discussion. You can get a flavor of the discussion on her Twitter profile (scan to her entries for March 10).

Thanks to all who made this event possible, particularly new NICA Board member Larry Ryder for helping set up the event at East West Bookstore, bookstore staff, our panelists (including another new NICA Board member, Neal Schindler), and Syd Fredrickson for skillfully moderating the discussion.

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Panel Discussion: Intentional Communities, Models for Sustainable Living

Do you long to recapture a sense of true community, where friends know and help one another? Learn why intentional communities are attracting increasing interest as models of cooperation, friendship and sustainable living. Tonight, members of NICA (Northwest Intentional Communities Association) from local communities share experiences and perspectives on the benefit of community life and touch on topics such as decision making, problem solving, structure, income and ownership. You’ll leave with inspiration and practical techniques for sustainable living wherever you live, serve or work!

The panel will consist of representatives from the following communities:

  • Ananda Community
  • Ravenna Kibbutz
  • Songaia Cohousing
  • Sherwood Co-Op

Date: Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Time: 7:00 to 8:30 pm
Location: East West Bookshop, 6500 Roosevelt Way NE

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NICA Fall Gathering Report

About 25 people representing five northwest intentional communities from as far as Olympia attended the NICA Fall Gathering, hosted by the Ananda Community. You might recognize a few of the attendees in the slideshow above.

While the theme of the event was, “What makes your community hum?”, the overall experience was celebrating the harvest of our lives together through song, a terrific vegetarian chili prepared by Ananda residents, Dances of Universal Peace, and sharing focused on the distinctive journeys of each community.

Thanks to our panelists for opening the pathway to deeper conversations:

  • Odysseus Levy for Winslow Cohousing Community
  • Susan McGinnis for Ananda
  • Neal Schindler for Ravenna Kibbutz
  • Phil Notermann for New Earth Song Cohousing
  • Nartano for Songaia (and for the fantastic photos he managed to capture for the above slideshow)

And special thanks to these folks who helped create a safe and joyous environment:

  • Larry Rider and the members of the Ananda Community for graciously hosting the event, sharing the gift of their songs, and providing an outstanding lunch of vegetarian chili, corn bread, salad and pie!
  • Phil Notermann for leading Universal Dances of Peace

Here’s a slightly more detailed report: NICA Fall Gathering 2009.

If you participated in the event, please feel free to add your own observations and reflections as comments to this post. And if you weren’t able to join us, please add your own reflections in response to the question, What makes your community hum? as well as any other thoughts you would like to share in response to the notes from the gathering.

The next gathering will be in spring, so watch for more information!

Agenda and directions for NICA Fall Gathering

Here is the agenda for this Saturday’s gathering at the Ananda Community in Lynnwood, WA.

Click here for a printed agenda.

9:30 – Sign-in and gathering time with tea/coffee and juice
10:00 – Welcome and a song
10:05 – Welcome from Ananda Community – logistics
10:10 – Singing/Introduction of individuals and communities
10:40 – Reports – FIC, COHO, and NICA
10:55 – NICA website and internet connections
11:00 – Dances of Universal Peace
11:20 – Community Stories

12:30 – Lunch

1:30 – Singing/ Dance of Universal Peace

2:00 – Panel presentation and discussion:
What makes your community “HUM”? or
What creates and sustains the cultural life of our communities?

3:00 – Open Space Dialogue – selected topics
4:00 – Closing
4:30 – Tour of Ananda

Directions to Ananda Community in Lynnwood

From the South

Take I-5 North to Exit 181A. Stay in the far right lane of the exit, and go straight across 44th Ave. at the light to wind around onto 204th St. SW. In about ¼ mile, take the first right which is Larch Way. Go about ¼ mile and turn left into the Ananda Community (look for the white sign). Stay left at the fork in the drive and head to the back of the Community until you see the sign and building for Hansa Temple on your left. Park in any space without a number.

From the North

Take I-5 South to Exit 181. Stay in the LEFT lane of the exit (196th EAST), and following the curve of the exit enter onto 196th St. SW. Stay in the right lane, crossing over I-5, and take the first right onto Poplar Way. Turn right onto 204th St. SW at the 2nd light, go about ¼ mile and turn left onto Larch Way. See above (“From the South”) for remaining directions to the Branch Center.

Once you turn into the community take the left fork in the driveway and head around the back side where you will see a sign for Hansa / Yoga.

Here’s more information on the Ananda Community.

Fall Gathering warm-ups

Here are some questions to prime the pump for the NICA Fall Gathering, to be hosted by the Ananda Community in Lynwood, WA:

  • What are the spoken or unspoken values that guide your relationships and your decision-making processes?
  • What gives your community strength?
  • How does your community wrestle with a culture that is built on spirit even if you don’t call it that?
  • How do people in your community feed their soul?
  • Do you have a specific ritual life?
  • What are your community traditions and what do they mean to you?
  • How do you celebrate?

Feel free to provide your thoughts as comments to this message.

Fall Gathering Scheduled!

Set the date to join us for a day of community stories, singing and Universal Dances of Peace as well as a tour of Ananda, our hosting community. Ananda is located at: 20715 Larch Way, Lynnwood, WA. Guided by the theme, “What makes your community hum?,” we will explore together the question, “What creates and sustains the cultural life of our communities?” Watch for more information soon!