29 Comments
Mar 5·edited Mar 5Liked by Richard D. Bartlett

I was about to mention the (2) note, I've lived in communities for many years, and I've seen unequal power distribution mess things up.

I like the "small annoyance" system, and think it might be good to have a "gratitude" system as well, to balance the vibes/salience long-term

Another key factor is group sizes. Groups tend to morph as they hit limits. Limits are roughly 7-8, 30-33, 150. Expect a huge change as you grow from 7 to 10 people, due to the combinatorial growth in # relationships.

Also, FIRO model stages, the ephemeral nature of the experiment likely led to most time being spent in honeymoon vibes, expect to iterate when things cohere over time. Also expect reset when people churn.

Finally, the kitchen is the heart of the home. Two kitchens = two groups. Having one kitchen means that everyone will bump into each other regularly. If you want to design a system based on subgroups (possibly needed past 7-8), multiple kitchens might be a way. I have always kept to 4-5 people, so scaling considerations are mainly based on startup experience

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May 19Liked by Richard D. Bartlett

The average monthly salary in Andalusia is around 1.400 euros. You write that 15k for three months for two people was not "an amazing salary". Of course, it was not for someone coming from a more affluent region. But in this context the title of your post sounds almost sarcastic - "harmony" seems to end at the gate of this nice country house (owned by the foreigners, obviously) and "belonging" doesn't seem to include or even consider the locals who are struggling more and more with finding a decent place to live.

What does it mean to come to a beautiful place with more investing power than the majority of the local population has? How can one address local issues like touristification or drought to carve a place for a truly ethical community? Can it go hand-in-hand with benefitting from tourism/co-living/retreat industry? I'd love to see these questions at least pondered about in this post.

Kindly,

Malwina

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I have been thinking about your comment the past couple weeks. I must be honest: for a 3-month visit to a region, I do not feel any significant responsibility beyond the gate of the property. We paid the local people to help with some services on the property, sure, but we're not engaging meaningfully with any of the macroeconomic patterns that are shaping the region. Is that callous? I'm not sure what options are open to me.

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Hi Richard!

It's lovely to see how you and Nati ran this experiment. Thanks for sharing your learnings.

I'm also amazed by hoe it resembles a few experiments we're doing in Brazil we call "learning residencies". Me and a friend (Luis Sérgio) created the concept and started hosting the first experiences – one-month living together with a group of 4-10 people and doing periodic rituals and processes for enabling intentional learning, individually and collectively, and deep human connection.

We're writing a PDF Guide for people who want to host similar experiences. It will be only in Portuguese at first, but maybe in the near future we can translate it to English and other languages!

Very nice to see that we're having similar ideas in two different parts of the world :)

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Mar 7Liked by Richard D. Bartlett

this is great, Rich - really appreciate the sharing out loud

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Mar 6Liked by Richard D. Bartlett

Beautiful. A few notes of thanks:

Sharing the practicals is so vital and useful. Rekindles my spirit for a rich library of protocol common goods.

For trusting yourselves and others, and leading with grace. You’re both finding a sweet spot of service and joyful expression, that’s so well earned, that lifts all boats.

For the company you keep. Good souls. I was lucky to spend a week with them all.

And a note of yewww:

Sounds like the experiment showed you a clear next chapter, personally. Enjoy the bounty! ❤️‍🔥

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Homie I really felt you showing up as a peer, means a lot to me and Nati both

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Mar 5Liked by Richard D. Bartlett

This is great! I love all the details and I am feeling motivated to document our own 3 months experiment at Elkenmist. I would love it if there was a nice discussion of the articles in here on substack rather than on twitter but I don't know how to bring everyone over here.

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yes I am so eager to hear about what you learn

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Mar 5Liked by Richard D. Bartlett

Congratulations on doing a beautiful thing, and especially well done for all the many years of careful inquisitive learning that it rested on. I feel so glad to have been part of it 😻

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thanks for hanging out with me and God I'm the cosmic sandpit!

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May 26·edited May 26Liked by Richard D. Bartlett

Thanks so much for this Richard. You're writing has inspired me several times already, and this really adds to my growing confidence. I've integrated some of your learnings into a land-based-community manifesto I'm drafting and look forward to other things you're paying attention to. Perhaps we'll meet, happy to know you're here!

And... I too feel that 15K for three months... not a bad deal in the least ☺︎.

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Apr 16Liked by Richard D. Bartlett

thank you so much for sharing so honestly about your experience. It was a fascinating read. We run on similar principles ;-) But always love to learn from others! I will dive into the mastery board now

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Mar 15·edited Mar 15Liked by Richard D. Bartlett

Thanks for the write up!

I’m trying to do very similar things (currently on a much smaller community trip in Cape Town), and just found your Substack so looking forward to checking out your other writing as well.

One note on the purchasing, is that it might make sense to do it with similar people with a timeshare model. I’ve considered it as well, but for only ~2-3 months per year, and I’m not sure the overheads make sense for that.

If you team up with other folk you can get a lot of the benefits of purchasing, at a fraction of the price… with a lot more risk obviously, but that can be reduced with thought out agreements.

Definitely interested in checking it out when you host another one of these!

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Mar 7Liked by Richard D. Bartlett

Wow! A lot of good wisdom here, Rich! Great good luck to you! One thing I would recommend thinking about if you decide to buy with more than you and Nati (from watching other groups doing joint land/co-owning endeavors): it's important to have a clear and well thought out "exit strategy" for co-owners. People may want to leave, and may want to get their investment back (every group I've seen has experienced this). And this can bring stress to everyone in the situation.

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absolutely

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Mar 6Liked by Richard D. Bartlett

Richard this is fantastic and I took away a lot of key insights that I'm gonna be sharing with a group that I'm talking to about community living in the near future, so this is a really insightful article to help me structure a conversation to get us started.

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let me know how you get on!

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Wow what a great write up. I’m so sad I didn’t make it down! Next time!!!

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next time homie! we missed you

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Mar 5Liked by Richard D. Bartlett

I really like the focus on "resentment minimisation" and the expression itself. Did you focus on that mostly inside the hosting team with Nati and Gui and then re-adjusted or re-designed the systems? Did you check in individually with other people when you sensed potential for resentment buildup in guests or other collaborators? Did you do any open larger group discussions on how to share work and contributions to make space for frustrations to come up? Or did that just get addressed automatically by having the list of chores posted somewhere with the post its of the tasks and the columns for names?

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Mostly focused on alleviating resentment in the hosting team, seems to be superpowered. Happy hosts make happy guests.

Sounds a bit weird to say but I think subconsciously everyone partially slides into a family dynamic, with Nati & me as mum & dad or more like visiting your cool aunty & uncle for the holidays or hanging out with big siblings when parents are away. Some invisible implicit happy family dynamic that somehow holds us all in unity and care.

We only had one big "house meeting" besides the post it system. That was more of a personal check in on intentions & vibes & a chance for people to disclose more of ourselves to each other.

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That makes sense, thanks!

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I want to be invited 😂😂 love this 💕

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Same here. Italy as well. A whole new way to travel, make friends, feel better, experience, live and breathe. I'm glad I'm here.

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Mar 9·edited Mar 9

Clarifiyng question re. "90% of the guests were people we had met before". Met in person or you count online encounters as "met" too? :)

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online certainly counts

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Clear, thanks.

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