Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Many Voices, One Song: Shared Power with Sociocracy

Here is a quote from the new book on Sociocracy by Jennifer Ted Rau and Jerry Koch-Gonzalez, Many Voices, One Song:

"A tree breathes in and changes it as well. What I do here changes how you find the world. And since we are all interdependent, there is no separation between you and me.

And in that sense, we are all one. One big interconnected system of interdependent creatures.

We might feel disconnected because we might have different needs in a given moment. But as living things, we cannot be separated.

All humans share the same basic outfit. All humans all over the world want the same thing. Connection. Purpose. Doing things we are good at and contributing to something bigger than we are. What this might look like might differ but connection is the most basic need there is."

I knew very little about Sociocracy before I discovered Prairie Hill Cohousing. My husband, John, and I had visited a cohousing community in Sacramento, CA near us, where we took a two-hour introduction to Sociocracy. That was it. We didn't move forward with cohousing in California because it was just too expensive. Our dream was shelved until our granddaughter, Vanessa, alerted us to Prairie Hill Cohousing. She worked for the company that was doing the engineering for the project at the time. It took us awhile to pursue our dream because we didn't think we could leave California, our home for the past 30 years. But our interest was piqued when she said ground had been broken and we started exploring the possibility. A trip to check it out and a chance to meet some of the community members led us to make the monumental (for us) decision to become members. Now we have four days left until we get into our car with our dog, Ziggy, for the 1,800-mile trek back to our roots. (I grew up in Keokuk, Iowa, and John in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, so, yes, we know about Midwest winters.)

One thing that helped us choose Prairie Hill was when we learned that Sociocracy would be used for decision making. We learned more about it in a six-week Study Group that we participated in online after joining. What I love about Sociocracy is that it values shared power and being equals in every interaction. It also encourages us to trust each other and the group wisdom. This to me is something that can lead to a much needed culture change.

John says, "I especially appreciate the Rounds. When we participate in Rounds we are assured that everyone has an opportunity to be heard. And, during that process, not only do I get a chance to voice my opinions, but I invariably learn something important when I hear others' views."

After we completed our six-week group study, we decided that we would like to do it again and we invite all members of the community to consider joining us. Times and dates will be announced. It's also a great way for us to get to know each other better. We look forward to building deep connections and we believe learning and practicing Sociocracy is an important way to do that.

Val Bowman

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