How to Create Sustainable Relationships for Living in a Community

In light of the recent communication breakdown which resulted in Dreamseed losing two valuable potential long-term members, I share this brilliantly spot-on manifesto from NuMundo on creating sustainable community relationships. I believe in every single one of their guidelines and will from now on stand firmly in applying them to all relationships that form here between myself and people who come to participate in this project. Because I give people the benefit of the doubt, I have been naive in assuming that anyone looking for a sustainable community home already gets these principles, and I am discovering that this is not necessarily the case. So I am taking a few steps back and adopting the guidelines as our own here at Dreamseed. If you crave a village or co-housing lifestyle, this is essential reading to prepare you for what will arise as you unfold into community. And if you are interested in participating in the development of our retreat center, these principles will guide all aspects of our work and play together, so please do read them and feel free to comment or send me a message to discuss. Here is the truncated version of the article, with the full article linked below it:

1)  Own your own experience and respect the experience of others.

This vital agreement contains within itself all the other agreements and is inviting everyone in the community to take an empowered view (rather than a victim stance) in life and relationships. Owning our personal experience means we understand that our experience and the experience of others may not be the same. Some simple techniques which support us to interact from this place include:

  • Speak from “I” rather then a general “we”. Speaking in this way allows for a deeper and more authentic space of relating while at the same time not making assumptions or projections about others.
  • No shaming or making others wrong. No one is receptive to being told they are wrong and we follow the perspective that there is no “wrong”. Instead there is wisdom and ignorance. Where wrong can never become right, ignorance has the potential to become wise. Each situation and experience is a building block of evolutionary growth.
  • Work to separate one’s observations & feelings from the projections & stories that arise from them. Many disharmonies start simply from making stories based on observing only a small part of a larger situation. Our mind has the tendency to fill in the blanks and it can be very helpful if we understand that our stories are just that, stories. They may not be true.
  • Cultivate curiosity rather than judgement: Having  judgements about someone or something is a closed way of being. On the other hand asking from a place of true curiosity why someone is being or doing something in a certain way creates an opportunity for better communication and deeper understanding.

2)  Be transparent. No hiding. 

Transparency involves embodying qualities of openness, receptivity and vulnerability while cultivating consciousness. Consciousness is the main medicine and it is essential for resolution to first recognize that there is even an issue. First and foremost this is referring to being transparent with oneself and choosing to see all outer feedback coming to us as reflections of our inner world. When disturbed we first ask, “How is this a reflection of me? How am I being in this way? Am I disturbed because this person is reflecting something I don’t want to face in myself?” Some additional ground rules include:

  • No Gossiping (talking about others indirectly in a negative, venting or complaining manner). Gossiping never solves anything. Instead it only acts to create unnecessary drama that distorts reality. It is everyone’s responsibility not to gossip as well as call it out if others are engaging this way.
  • Instead, go to the source of your disturbance – our personal disturbing emotions. What is the real source of our emotions and how can we channel this energy without being dominated by it and hurting others? This exploration allows us to approach the external trigger/s directly from a grounded, compassionate and curious perspective. If support is needed then mediation can be very helpful.
  • Don’t be afraid of confrontation. Challenges are the raw ingredients for our growth and facing them in a grounded way allows for collective evolution.
  • Be open with others about your process and challenges, especially when it is affecting others.

3)  Be in integrity and 100% responsible.

Coming into integrity is a process of aligning one’s thoughts, words, actions and feelings. When a community unanimously takes 100% responsibility for all of these aspects of our being, an empowered and inspired space is created.

  • Focus on solutions, rather than problems. If you can see it you can solve it and the only way to bring real benefit is though a personal example. Fixing things is fun and makes others happy, complaining creates disharmony and discord.
  • Notice when you make a mess and clean up after yourself, be it energetic or physical.
  • Be honest and make amendments. When stepping out of integrity, take responsibility for this and be honest with oneself and others,making appropriate amendments with those who are affected. Sincere acknowledgement brings oneself back into integrity.

4)  Honor your true self.

It is not possible to be in service and bring benefit to others if one does not take care of oneself, especially around the basic needs of our human organism. Don’t assume that others will be able to read your mind and communicate your needs so the community can support each other.

It is essential to recognize that there may be a difference between what I want (based on conditioning) and what I need in order to thrive and actualize my full human potential. When detoxing one will often crave what is being released.

5)   Practice presence with self and others. 

“The true master is a beginner in every moment.” As we gather life experience, it can become increasingly difficult to maintain the beginners mind. We make the commitment to practice presence with ourselves and others, listening in an active way no matter how much we think we already know about what is being shared. Cultivating presence alone is all that is really needed to resolve and avoid disharmony and it is the greatest support anyone can give to another being and the community as a whole.

6)   Take initiative and be engaged. 

Everyone in the community takes initiative to be fully engaged in community projects and meetings as well as their personal growth and development. It is up to each person to benefit from their life experience and no one can undertake your personal evolutionary process for you. Each individual is committed to serve as an inspiration and example and be the change in the world.



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