Stories collected by Sandy Thomson and Nisargo Troy
As we are moving closer and closer to the time when 14 new households will join our community, we asked a couple of Heartwood Phase 2 Associate Members and a couple current Heartwood members to reflect on their excitement about the imminent expansion of Heartwood. Here is what they wrote!
Last summer, Todd stumbled upon an article about intentional living and we went down rabbit hole of Cohousing. We spoke with a few different cohousing communities and we were blown away by the concept of living in Heartwood. For us, Heartwood is an amazing opportunity to live in for 3 main reasons: it provides social relationships for us and our children, there are chances to learn new skills, and there is an escape into nature every day.
We want to know our neighbors and make strong relationships with the people who live close to us. This is especially important for our children’s friendships so they can easily go out and play at any given time.
There are multiple opportunities to learn within the community from gardening to livestock to land management. We want to gain vital skills and to be able to give our service to the community and learn at the same time is a great way to expand our knowledge.
We also love the location of Heartwood. Not only is the community on beautiful land that can give easy hikes and adventures, but there are several amazing destinations within a few hours of Heartwood to explore.
We are excited to start our new life in Heartwood and to become a part of its community.
Todd and Jame Bushman under the tree house at Heartwood
I started to browse cohousing listings on a fairly regular basis around 2017. I narrowed my focus mainly to Colorado and the Pacific Northwest, and I can recall looking quite intently at all the pinpoints on that cohousing map in Colorado particularly those outside of Denver. In the fall of 2018, I went to Longmont to visit and hear about the developing cohousing community of Bohn, advertised as a farm and art community. It remains in development. It was useful for me to stay in that area because I got a sense of the energy and was reminded of the energy that I was seeking to leave behind in Atlanta, a bit frenzied.
As time has marched on, my desire to move away from the city and live in a cohousing situation has not abated. I became an Associate Member of Heartwood in Oct 2020.
When I visited Heartwood in early December ‘20, I was so touched by the quality of the people I met; particularly my Heartwood host, Heartwood buddy, and, really everyone. The conversations were wonderful, and maybe the word 'amazing' is appropriate. I felt very at ease, comfortable and welcomed. I can tell the relationships there are deep and familiar, like family. It was great to meet other people interested in learning things that I study, e.g., personal growth. All this is drawing me very much to live at Heartwood, including to be located in a beautiful nature filled area that offers many ways to play in the outdoors.
My creative imagination is filled with visions, such as eating in that dining room with everyone, conversations buzzing, faces animated; making a fire in the outdoor pit, laughing, hiking and skiing in snow, setting up my camera for night photography. I imagine gardening and learning from others when to plant and how to make plants happy in that mountain desert; wondering if I can learn some woodworking and to make natural wooden tables and benches; figuring out how to have studio space for art and pottery making; maybe taking care of a child or the livestock!, petting and playing with the many dogs, sitting on my back porch and looking over the quiet land with natural sounds from insects and animals.
Kristi Eide on top of the world
I’ve been asked to write 2 paragraphs about why I’m excited about P2. First, I would say I’m excited to welcome new Heartwood Members because it is good to have fresh energy, bringing aspects to Heartwood that we haven’t considered before. I’m excited to have more members here to share “the work.” To have a community that functions as well as our does, it takes work. Most of that work is wrapped up in things that I really enjoy, such as team meetings, where we share our ideas and have conversations about the topics of that team. It is important to join those teams that interest us so we have the opportunity to share our knowledge and energy and add to the deepening of what we create here. I’m very excited to share community with others that seek their own growth through learning about themselves via the reflection of their neighbors. I want to know more people that are open to exploring how we can contribute in a good way to the larger whole by seeking to connect in community.
I can’t write about what excites me without also expressing being a bit leery. Having 14 households join us all at once also brings concerns of how do we incorporate so many people at one time? We have our trials and tribulations at Heartwood along with the joys. Those exist today. In my opinion, the trials are pathways to growth and they do not overpower the immense gifts of living here. Do these new potential members understand that living the way we do here is “The most expensive, longest, self-improvement workshop,” available at this time on the planet? This is a fact. I so look forward to sharing what we have created here at Heartwood with those that want inner growth. And from one who was a co-creator of Heartwood, there is absolutely no way of understanding what this means until you’ve lived here for a time. How do we keep the essence of Heartwood and incorporate a plethora of new energy?
I’m believing that those currently in the Phase 2 queue also have the deepest desire to connect. That outweighs the trepidation and has me looking forward to the time when we are all Heartwood and Phase 1 and Phase 2 no longer define our relationship.
One of our Happy Hours on the Heartwood terrace. Lyn is in front on the right.
I am sitting in my living room early on a Sunday morning sipping my coffee as I watch the sun create light on the pinions and scrub oaks at the back of the property. The sky is a clear deep blue, and I enjoy the colors and shadows that play off each of my neighbors homes as the day begins. There is so much beauty to behold right out my window, and I am so grateful to be here. I have been asked to reflect on what excites me about the next phase of Heartwood, also known as Phase 2, and to me that includes sharing a bit about my own recent experience.
When I think about the expansion of Heartwood, I love the idea of discovery that others will experience. Some come in with a good idea of what it means to live in and co-create community and to others, like me, it is new. What seems to be in common is the desire for something more meaningful or different in their lives and a connection to others that only intentionally choosing to live in community can bring. I know that looks different for each person. Everyone brings their own talents, abilities, desires, hopes and fears. That is exciting to me.
In my own choosing to live in community, it has been a journey into deeper understanding of myself and given me opportunities to gain an understanding of my judgements, reactions, and learning new ways of being in the world. My intention is to grow in my ability to take a step back, listen more carefully, try to understand others and equally bring what I have to offer forward. For me, living at Heartwood allows me to experience growth on a daily basis, and to be honest, some of it isn’t easy. I am blown away so often by the depth and the ability of my neighbors to have hard conversations, go to a deeper level and share the wisdom they bring and enrich my life. I am excited for others to join the community and how we can learn from each other.
One of the things that I am very grateful for is the shift in priorities that I have experienced in choosing to live at Heartwood. Before moving here I lived in a beautiful home in the mountains west of Boulder, Colorado. It was my dream home and spent 20 years redoing the entire house. I thought that I would be never leave there and even thought I would be buried in the yard along with the various pets. But that has shifted for me. I really like the house we are in, but it is not my dream house, and I just don’t need that anymore. What has become more important to me is living in community, greeting my neighbors who say 'welcome home' as I pull my cart of groceries to the front door or return from a trip. I am excited to have new neighbors to greet at the common house or when getting the mail or out on a trail. I often say to myself how lucky I am, and I can’t believe I get to live here, I am excited for others to have that feeling too
Proud work party participants - before Covid. KJ is standing, third from the right.
What's Currently Available at Heartwood?
We don't currently have any homes available for sale or rent, but we are moving ever closer to building 14 new homes in Phase 2. We plan to break ground in the spring of 2022 with move-ins by the end of the year. Click here to learn more about Heartwood's Phase 2. Click here to learn about becoming a Phase 2 Associate Member.
by Mac Thomson
Every spring we gather for our annual retreat in a spirit of celebration, renewing and deepening connection, and growth. Like everyone else, we had to modify our plans this year and held our retreat on Zoom this past weekend. Even though the setting was different, the results were the same – lots of laughter, some tears, and an ever deeper appreciation for each other and the special community that we share.
We always kick off our retreat with a slideshow of the past year's community highlights. I found myself so pleasantly surprised as I watched the slideshow on Friday night to see so much joy and connection even though we've had to curtail many of our most cherished community events: common meals, potluck dinners, Sunday brunches, Heartwood's 20th anniversary party, Thanksgiving dinner, New Year's Eve party, and so much more. And yet, community members rallied to come up with new Covid-compliant gatherings or reinvent our traditional gatherings.
Click here to go to Heartwood's homepage where you'll find our 2020 Slideshow: Connection in the Time of Covid. (Look in the right sidebar just below the Covid update.)
Sarah, Beth, Renee, and Tom sharing a laugh during one of our breakout sessions at our annual retreat this past weekend.
During one of our sessions, we were invited to remember back to when we were each on the verge of moving into Heartwood and then write and share a short haiku-like poem describing our vision of our soon-to-be life in Heartwood. Here's a small sampling..
Safe place for our children to grow
The best kind of life
For me and my wife and son
If we get there we won
Looking for and finding a Home
harried mother of two,
needing sleep and desperate for community,
for some kind of tribe,
for a place to belong,
a place to grow
Big sky, simple life
Looking for a home to grow
You are home
Spring arrived just in time for our retreat. Thanks to temps in the 50's and plenty of sunshine, we were able to enjoy outdoor meals together. We also took advantage of our long lunch break to go for a trail walk with a neighbor as another opportunity for connection and friendship.
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