Weekend Retreat: August 2013

Hi Judy:

Thank you for doing this. My apologies for not getting a note out sooner as well, but this frames the invitation very nicely.

I would only want to add that we had a great meeting on May 5, at which Alison Kingsley shared with us many ideas for properties; and a subsequent breakfast meeting with the globally renowned architect Bob Hillier, to discuss his ideas for the community. At one point he also shared with us that he was working on another possible property near Hopewell (see diagram below).

On May 21, 2013, at 8:17 AM, Judy Chin wrote:

Dear Friends,

I want to let you know that we have a new date for our EcoVillage Weekend Retreat.

As this event is expanding to include more folks, including our keynote speaker/facilitator, Max Rivers, we want to give everyone sufficient time to put this fun event on your calendars. It will be held on August 3rd-4th. SAVE THE DATE!

EVEN if you are not yet ready to become a “resident” of the village, we consider you a friend of the village. We hope you will consider our invitation for you to join us for a weekend filled with fun, friendship, food and fabulous conversation. If you cannot make the entire weekend, come for Max’s workshop on Non-Violent Communication, a great tool for everyone, and a slice of birthday cake since it’s Ute’s birthday that weekend.

Max will be the professional meeting facilitator for the entire weekend, as well as lead us in a three hour NVC presentation.

Barbara and Tiff has graciously offered their home as the venue and the event will be held at their beautiful mill right on the Tohickon creek in Pt. Pleasant, PA, surrounded by their beautiful gardens two minutes from the Delaware river.

We will have an agenda available as the time approaches. We have also partnered with a very knowledgeable Realtor and recently met with an award-winning Architect…so things are moving right along!

We also now have a website : please visit
Blessing to you all,
Judy (and Ute, who is now traveling in Europe and sends her love)

On Fri, Apr 26, 2013 at 12:10 PM, Ute Arnold wrote:
Dear members, friends, and those who may want to join us on the weekend of July 13th in Pt. Pleasant, PA:

There is much to learn from the way we have been slowly moving forward to establish an ecovillage in this area.

I believe what I have learned once again is that it always comes down to connections, or the lack of them. We, as humans, are all looking for connection first, and I think we need to do more of delving deeper into that piece of our process. We all have our own reasons for trying to build this special village, but the one thing that unites every one is the need for connection, warmth, and sharing first….everything else will flow from that and will decide how successful we are in building it.

I don’t think that we are going to accomplish this by spending a few hours every month by just a few people creating busy work for each other, while others sit on the sidelines waiting until we have a product they can sign on if it is interesting and pleasing enough.

I believe we need to build a swelling of authentic human interactions first and learn how to communicate in respectful and warm, thoughtful and honest ways.

We can not treat this as a business venture first, even though there will be tons of money involved. It will be the human interaction piece that will teach us about trust and the kind of creative skill building that solves problems. Our question needs to be: how can we be the change that is so profoundly needed to change today’s world? And from there, we can decide where to place this community, and face the political and environmental challenges together, like fracking on our doorsteps!

We need to learn how to trust each other that “when the shit hits the fan” each one of us will rise to our finest personal moment, knowing that the person next to them will support that and do the same ! We also can not get together in this small group trying to do visioning for such a project. Our small pod, that is left now, has already very clear individual visions. We need a larger group energy to carry this project to the next level, otherwise we are doing this piecemeal.

I have never been afraid that the financial piece can not be dealt with when the time comes, weather in a state that has lower or higher taxes. I know that I may have come across as naive by some of you for thinking this, because I have no corporate experience and have not focused much on making money in my life. But I have bought my own house, run my own business and non-profit for almost 30 years, guided many groups in week long trainings, and have had hundreds of students and clients who shared their most intimate stories, pain, terror and joys as I successfully helped them to get to a new level in their personal and business lives… so now I have come to trust my gut feelings for this project, which are getting more and more clear that the human interaction piece has to come first, and needs to always come first if we want to live together and make easy, or difficult life changing decisions together.

I ALSO got a much better understanding of the financial, zoning, township and other possibilities by spending the afternoon with Alison Kingsley (real estate agent in New Hope) and looking at a couple of properties. She has a wealth of experience to mine as a deeply committed community-caring player, and she shares her knowledge generously from the heart, which to me is the finest active spirituality there is, exactly the kind of person we need! Alison and I will be land touring again next Thursday afternoon if you want to join.

When I talked to Tiff about his research on rules and guidelines he corroborated everything I have said above: the bottom line is the human interaction piece to make a community function! Rules and regulation will come from that as the need arises.

We have a far way to go with that, even amongst our small group.

– I believe learning about NVC (Non Violent Communication) in a larger group from a professional during the working weekend will be a good beginning (we have hired Max Rivers of Rivers Meditation for a three hour hands-on presentation)

– Secondly, visioning in a larger group at the weekend will be important. Jennifer Dowd can take us through her visioning process, and creating further exercises that dovetail to take us deeper and help us to get to know each other. (I will be happy to brainstorm about that with you, Jen)

– Being in an environment that touches the senses, like the Tiffany’s Mill, will be important, …and Barbara has said that she will be a participant with hands off, while all of us will share the responsibility to make it run smoothly; a true opportunity to experience village life first hand, help us get into the flow, and become matchmakers between giving and receiving.

– It will be important for the weekend to learn from a professional like Alison about land research, zoning, townships, local community interaction, packaging ourselves to make us attractive to our future surrounding community, existing land conservancies (or how to establish them), financial hurdles and options, etc. etc. ….and finally ownership.

– We might want to look for a local architect, or green builder who knows local politics for this July 13 weekend, who is willing to give us a couple of hours overview of what he thinks is involved, to get us excited about that step….all to make the visioning more real !!

These are my suggestions for the bulk of the weekend agenda, and I don’t think that it needs more than a few emails, or one conference call for the management committee to put this in place, ….and I don’t think monthly meetings are useful for now before we have gathered more group energy.

Meanwhile I suggest that we all invite people to the weekend who are interested, or even just curious, about such an adventure…and all those that have shown an interest in the past and have withdrawn to the outer circle for their own good reasons. Let’s see if we can’t build a deeper commitment to changing the times and circumstances the world is presenting to us now !

I believe, if we can run such a weekend successfully, the right and committed participants with the skills needed will sort themselves out, or word will get out and they will show up later. We all know that the time on the planet couldn’t be more ripe for such a project.

For now we need to build an inviting genuine charisma, with a foundation of information and creativity, ….and beauty, like the mill and its fabulous gardens and wild nature all around it….benefitting from all the work, amazing skills and care Barbara and Tiff have put into this place.

We need to become attractive and warmly welcoming, a place where people will feel safe and a longing to belong ….and offer a lot of education by people who already know about some of what they see as our next step. That way we can spend time to get to know each other without having to re-invent the wheel….and, as was mentioned at one of the last meetings, we need to come together with an open heart and mind and leave anxieties and ego at the door.

I also suggest that we take good notes and video snippets of the weekend to publish on our website, to send our community spirit and ideas in to the world, for others to join us, or use as a role model.

I am looking forward to your thoughts about all this.


Bob Hillier’s site drawing:


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