How to Create Sustainable Relationships for Living in a Community
posted by Cynthia Robinson on March 18th, 2016There is nothing which feels more meaningful to us, and the others who make the Paititi Institute home, than living in a sustainable community dedicated to personal transformation and healing of both inner and outer landscapes. Paititi Institute for the Preservation of Ecology and Indigenous Culture was founded in 2010 from a heart centered commitment to the idealistic vision that our global human family can collectively embody a harmonious, symbiotic and joyful existence with all life on earth. The indigenous wisdom lineages which carry the millenial wisdom of humanity have been our guiding light in remembering, embodying and sharing wholeistic examples of regenerative living. From the beginning we resonated deeply that we must “be the change” if we are ever to realize such a vision for all life. Initially we approached the manifestation of this vision with some amount of naiveté and romantic illusions. Little did we know that living in community with other like hearted beings who were coming together in shared resonance would provide so many challenging opportunities for putting our personal evolution into practice. Of course, throughout this journey we have experienced many more uplifting moments than the grueling ones, yet we have learned that it is inevitable for conflict to arise within a community setting and it is often the case that we will find a reflection of our light and shadow in a group. These interpersonal challenges have been blessings in disguise and powerful teachers for all of us who have seen them through, since facing and embracing them holds the key to our true ability to bring benefit to others in a greater vision. Throughout all of the lessons, we have developed a set of community agreements over the years. When actively put into practice they have guided us to transform conflict and disagreements into creative friction, fueling personal and collective evolution as well as deeper relatedness. These agreements are living and breathing alongside us and I am sure they will continue to evolve as we do. We are inspired to share some of what we have learned and welcome you to see how this benefits your life as well…
Paititi Community Agreements: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.
- 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.
- 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.