Exercise: Signing the Lease
June 10, 2011
Today we'll have a meeting where we ask our fellow guests for an agreement to live together and behave as good headmates. This parallels having someone as your roommate in the external world. It also signals changing from a more hotel-like situation to something resembling a group home (commune, co-housing, apartment building, whatever you'd like to picture), where some people are long-term residents, and others may be guests who haven't decided whether they are going to stay. It's possible that a few will hop on-board immediately, just like with the welcoming committee, but to be realistic this group home will probably have guests for some time to come.
Part of the agreement to live together as good headmates can include agreeing to complete this program so that you can have a more orderly life together. Here’s a suggestion for how you can separate these ideas from one another for a vote or signing party:
- I want an orderly life, so I agree to live together and behave as good headmates. (i.e. signing the lease)
- I agree to use United Front as a tool for becoming good headmates.
If you have enough meeting participants who are able to be “verbal” — that’s to say they’re coherent and able to communicate with you in any appreciable way — then you have enough participants to work on the wording of the lease agreement and the agreement to use United Front. You want as much buy-in as possible, even if it means compromising on the wording and coming up with alternatives to a direct 100% permanent agreement. A compromise for signing the lease could be to agree to a short-term lease instead of a long-term lease. And on using United Front, you could agree to vote on whether to do any given exercise, or have an escape clause, such as allowing a resident the option to take breaks or to be excused from the program under specific circumstances.
Ask each person for their agreement separately, so you may sign a piece of paper — in the outside or the inside world — signifying agreement, or simply take their word for it if they’re incapable of signing and note their agreement. You do not need a majority agreement to move forward, just try to find out what the concerns of the people who refuse to become residents are if possible. It’s always possible that some guests who attend the meeting are not co-aware or co-conscious enough to be able to agree to anything, so don’t be disappointed if you don’t get an answer to why they aren’t signing on. Keep moving forward with the program, and they may come around to sign later.
Encourage participation. The more direct participation you get on this step, the easier it will be to create house rules, enforce the rules, create a safe internal environment for your residents, and to build a trusting and eventually loving community. Once you have finished the lease-signing portion of your agenda, with the 2 agreements to behave as good headmates, and to use United Front as your tool to become good headmates, move on to the next agenda item.