Sanctuary Communities Newsletter

Finally. After a long winter, spring has come to the mountains. And in addition to the usual pleasures of watching blooms and greenery change the complexion of the landscape, we’re enjoying hearing from friends who are experiencing their own re-emergence.

People are beginning to talk in the future tense again.

For too long, lots of folks felt stuck in a place where they couldn’t imagine what might come next. The cycle of the seasons rescues us from winter doldrums each year. But it’s not so easy to reassure ourselves “this, too, will pass” when we’re experiencing a cycle that comes along once in two or three generations.

That’s been the case with the economic downturn, with the bursting of the housing bubble, the tightening of credit, and now the threat of lingering unemployment. No wonder so many people felt paralyzed, unsure about making choices in an atmosphere of uncertainty. And no wonder so many were tempted to put the future on hold.

We all know, however, that’s an unsustainable strategy. The future is on the way regardless of how anxious we are about coping with it. What’s ahead may not resemble what’s behind us, at least not in ways that allow us to keep doing what we always did to prosper. But the future is coming nonetheless, requiring from us what change always requires – a willingness to adapt and, if we’re to be happy in the bargain, a willingness to embrace unfolding opportunities.

So what are the opportunities in the new reality? First, we should tally up what we’ve learned. What I’m hearing from lots of you who are talking in the future tense is this: Tough economic times took the illusion of endless options off the table, Now, it’s time to prioritize the core wish list. How do we want to spend the rest of our lives? And what do we need to do that?

The answers are often simpler than we imagined when we were flush with fantasies. Most of us want to put less energy into sustaining stuff and put more into sustaining relationships with family, friends, and the broader community. We’re ready to talk about “dwelling smaller” if it means “living larger” in terms of time reclaimed from isolation. We want to be engaged, making a difference in others’ lives and in the livability of our communities.

This kind of conversation has always been at the heart of our planning for Sanctuary Village. But I’ve felt personally renewed over the last few weeks by hearing it again from so many of you and from advocates for taking charge of the rest of our lives. Last month, I traveled to the Washington D.C. area for a regional cohousing conference and listened to many folks talk about strategies for building intentional communities with circles of friends new and old.

We’ve talked about cohousing in these newsletters before. Read more here. Now, we’re actively encouraging folks who want to form their own cohousing sub-neighborhood in Sanctuary Village. We’re setting aside room on our website to facilitate that conversation. And we’ll be speaking to groups in the region and nationally about the cohousing option. Let us know if you want to hear more.

Let us know, too, if this talk about thinking in the future tense strikes a chord with you. We want to keep the discussion going.

Also during our family trip to the D.C. area, we spent a late afternoon in Kentlands, a mature New Urbanist community in Maryland. It was inspiring to see how neighborhoods designed by the same principles we’re applying to Sanctuary Village come of age over time. We’ll get there, too.

With spring here and summer soon to come, we’re busy readying ourselves for many of you to stop by and see us. We believe this is the year Sanctuary Village begins to take its next steps towards the community we all envision. And we’re sure you’ll want to be part of that.

Keep in touch.

Tim and Iva Ryan
Town Founders

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Winter 2010
Relaxing at The Kentlands, Gaithersburg, MD

The Kentlands

The Kentlands

The Kentlands, Gaithersburg, MD

With my son Joe in Washington, D.C.


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