Hi. Welcome. It's "Saturday with Cindy". How are you doing today? If you are new to Saturday's with Cindy, I'm Cindy. Basically, I just talk about subjects that you have been curious about, that you want me to discuss. It could be as simple as what kind of cleanser and shampoo do I recommend, to how I deal with grief and solitude. Make-up tips, how to grow out your silver hair, what it feels like going through your 20's, 30's, 40's, 50's. I've done all that, now I'm in my 60's.
I just turned 62 and it's another new adventure, another new chapter. It's very exciting. A few of you have asked me about group living because I lived in a commune with 18 people for 4-1/2 years. I'm now living with two other people; one is my fiancee and the other is our dear friend who is like our sister. We had rented out five bedrooms in our house to a group of college-age students to help cover the mortgage while we were building BOOM. That was really fun.
Bruce grew up with seven brothers and sisters so he was comfortable with the group thing. We knew we could do it. Oh, my gosh. When I was really young, I used to beg my parents to move in with our best friends who lived down the street or have our uncles and aunts come and live with us and cousins and neighborhood friends. I just wanted everyone to live together. I just thought it would be so much fun. It is something I've been attracted to since I was really young.
Also being a California flower child and growing up with the commune mentality, which of course brings about visions of headbands, tie-dyed t-shirts, pot smoking, gardening hippies. I had experimented a little bit when I was very young and pregnant with living with a group. It wasn't deliberate, we didn't have plans. It just kind of happened. People came and crashed at our house. I was thinking, "Yeah, this is kind of neat." It wasn't so neat. It really has to be discussed, planned out. A lot of agreements have to be made before you can do it. If you think about getting married or making a serious commitment to live with somebody, you don't do that lightly either. You're like, "what are our values, our religious beliefs, our basic lifestyle, our level of cleanliness, our level of tidiness, our cultural differences?"
If you're choosing to live with one other person or 20 other people, I have come to learn that it's really important to consider all of that. The larger the group, more than likely the most diversity there will be. Which is actually part of what makes it so fabulous. The question is "How do you do that so everybody is winning and everybody is feeling good about living together?"
Back in the '60's, there were a lot of us kind of contemplating the idea of group living. A lot of people tried it. We called them communes, short for community. The reason being, is our society, people growing up in our society weren't used to it. Before World War II and the Industrial Revolution, the second Industrial Revolution, people were living in extended families and groups all the time. In fact if you look at the history of mankind and you also look around the world today, you will discover that humans are actually herding creatures. We are tribal creatures. That's how we're built. We survive better in a multiple person organism.
One of the things that I discovered by living in a group of 18 people is I could do what was the most fun for me and what I did best. There was always somebody else around that wanted to do the things I didn't want to do or they were better at it. There were people that like detail, people that liked to chunk everything up big and do larger portions of things. There were organizers, there were leaders, there were helpers, there were supporters. There were people that loved to vacuum, and there were people that hated to vacuum.
It worked out that everybody did what they wanted to do and somehow everything got done. It was pretty amazing. This particular group I lived with started out in 1968. They have been going strong for over 40 years. When they started to have troubles back in the day when they were all in their early 20's to early 30's, instead of giving up like so many groups did, they stopped and paid attention to what just happened, analyzed it to figure out what had everything fall apart, and figured out another way, a winning way to do everything. I thought they'd be a good group to live because they've got a whole lot figured out.
I had already taken a bunch of courses that they offer in communications, sensuality, jealousy, money, possessions, and all the subjects that deal with being human. The courses are particularly interesting because they are descriptive, they're not prescriptive. They're not lecturing about how to live your life. They're describing how they lived theirs and what happens in any particular given situation. One of the juicy things they discovered is, in any given situation you have two ways to win and only one way to lose.
They took a look at that very closely and very scientifically, they tested it over and over and over and they discovered and described that there really are only two ways to win and one way to lose. One way to win is to get in agreement with the situation. Another way to win is change the situation to something your already in agreement with. The third one is to just lose. That's one of many, many nuggets that I learned by taking courses from LaFayette Morehouse. You can go to their website, read about their course descriptions. Really fantastic information. It's not always information you're going to get from mom or dad, aunts or uncles, or teachers at school. I've noticed that throughout my life people could tell me how to drive, they could teach me how to use a camera, how to speak new languages. Not a whole lot of people taught me how to communicate effectively through high emotional charge or how to create a rich and fulfilling sensual life where everybody wins.
“ I find that negotiating all that as well as doing it, as being really fun and making life better than ever.”
I was never told that I can be in a situation where not only was I happy, but everybody around me was so happy that we had so much surplus of fun and joy that it would spill out to everyone around us. I was taught compromise. Compromise is a situation where everybody loses a little. I thought that's the group for me. I took one of their courses called an evaluacy so I could evaluate group living with them and they could evaluate me and see if they wanted me to live with them. I did. I moved into a house with 18 people. The youngest being 3 years old and the oldest I think was 57 at the time.
I lived there four and a half years and I soaked up and learned and partied and was industrious. I started modeling when I lived in that house. It was amazing. Absolutely unchartered territory for me, so much fun. I really learned to get along with other people better than ever before. To find my solitude and my privacy within a group and to have things the way I liked them, as clean and as tidy as I like them, living with people that were much less clean and tidy than me at times. Often when I lived there people would say to me, "Oh my God. How do you do it? How do you do it? I can never do that."
We immediately go to the nightmares, the awful things maybe you remember a college dorm or being in a room shared with your siblings or a myriad of things. If you're deliberate and you communicate well and everybody has a say and feels heard and seen in the group, it is actually quite miraculous how lovely, fulfilling, and rich life can be in a group. I will continue group living. I'm doing it a little differently right now.
My group has grown and shrank and grown and shrank a few times. Living all alone with my fiance, I could see doing that for a few months. Maybe some traveling, because that's fun too. Pair off and do your own thing. However, I doubt, and of course, I'll never say never, that I would make my life always and forever with just one other person. It's funny because living with my girlfriend is very different than meeting her for lunch or for dinner or even taking off for a weekend. There is a much more intimate way of relating with people when you live with them. It's almost hard to explain, but all of us have done it at some point.
If you're an only child and you live with one parent, that's a group. A group is two people or more. You still have to communicate and negotiate and watch out for each other and watch each others back, and respect each other's boundaries and the whole ball of wax. I find that negotiating all that as well as doing it, as being really fun and making life better than ever. If you have any specific questions about group living. Or you want to know more. Just let me know. And I will be back next Saturday.
01:05 Living in a commune
02:50 The importance of communication and planning
03:50 Handling diversity with everyone winning
04:35 Humans are herding, tribal creatures
05:05 The freedom to do only what you want to do
06:05 What to do when you're having troubles in a group
07:05 There are always 2 ways to win and 1 way to lose
08:20 Creating situations where everyone wins
09:55 Learning to have things the way you like them within a group
10:30 How fulfilling and rich life can be if everyone has a say
11:40 The intimacy of relating to someone you live with