Process meetings are for expressing our hearts and feelings to each other, the joys and sorrows of our community processes: hearing each other deeply, getting to know each other, and finding deep understanding in our relationships. These are often people’s favourite meetings. People look forward to them, even though sometimes they can be challenging.
The community holds three “Community-Building Days” per year, which members and prospective members are expected to attend. These day-long workshops will be on community- and communication-related subjects, such as non-violent communication, facilitation, healthy communication, running meetings and conflict management, and culture shift.
Our aim is to learn and apply skills directly relevant to living in community, to grow together, and address current issues and needs. So far we’ve always had new issues come up to address.
These days are participatory, opportunities to share and get to know each other on a deeper level. Many of these days are led by residents; sometimes we bringing in outside facilitator who specialises in that area.
These days are ongoing; One can always improve one’s skills for building community. Few people in our present culture have been brought up with such skills. This will keep the community functioning well over time.
Our community is learning together the skills of compassionate and creative relationship. We work on the basis that it is possible to practise and develop healthy communication skills: listening, compassionate sharing and conflict resolution. We don’t have to have perfect skills already, none of us do. We experiment and make mistakes. We just need to be open to learning, and willing to try.
Everyone here wants to be deeply connected, so let’s do it well. Listening, and practising to communicate encouragingly, opens our hearts to each other, not only through words; it helps us appreciate each other’s feelings and sincerity at deep levels. Good communication maintains healthy supportive relationships. It’s the best basis for consensus, to work together on the land, and to mend rifts and tears.
Keeping the peace
All Turanga residents (and visitors) are bound by our Communication Agreements to treat each other with openness, honesty, civility and respect, to refrain from dominating or interrupting, to seek to understand rather than judge, and to nurse relationships rather than hurts. Speak for yourself rather than assuming to speak for others (using ‘I’-statements). In all respects, seek to uphold a safe, peaceful and supportive environment.
Take an honest, proactive approach to problems. If you have a concern about a community resolution or process, don’t undermine it without officially raising your concern at a meeting. If you have a dispute or grievance against another resident (or if they feel they have a dispute with you) you must attempt to resolve it with them in an honest and direct way, and follow our Conflict Resolution Protocol if this fails.
If personal issues are raised in group-work, respect privacy and confidentiality and avoid discussing them outside that group.
We plan to share a meal weekly, at least. There are both vegetarians and meat eaters on the farm.
Social events are occasionally held, especially for seasonal celebrations, so at least four times a year we have community celebrations, at the solstices and equinoxes: including an annual ceilidh (barn dance).
We are interested in community at all levels. Rather than isolate ourselves from our wider neighbourhood, we hope to build a transition town community in our area, for mutual resilience in coming changes.
We believe that the changes we desire to make our lives healthier and happier are the same changes needed to prepare for peak oil and climate change. By coming together in mutual support with each other and our local community, we hope not just to get by, but to have our cake and eat it too.