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Values Alignment vs Habits Alignment

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I'm new to this forum, stimulated by Diana Leaf Christiansen's challenge to post something informative and provocative about intentional community prior to her workshop in Seattle.

So here's my observation/question.

Background: I lived in an intentional household for 35 years. Yes that's 35! Then I took 5 years of living alone to find myself again - to find what i like, want, need, enjoy apart from the daily small and long forgotten big adaptations that come from being in cooperative community. I drank deep from the well of solitude and got my fill and now I"ve chosen a roommate lest I go too far into self-centeredness for my spiritual health. I say to my friends, "I've had five glorious years when I lived with someone who always agreed with me" (that would be me) and I need the challenge of cohabitation again.

I bought a house with a friend - a perfect setup because there are two distinct private "suites" (one with its own door) and a big, airy common area. Our values and goals alignment is remarkable. I knew we'd hit challenges, but didn't know what.  And it's that our "habits alignment" is off. We thought we'd agreed on things, but until we were in the space we couldn't imagine the challenge. The issues are:

sound far too familiar to y'all?

We thought we had these handled because we could have complete control over our private areas, but still these habit factors are indeed tough.  I remember in my old communal experience that I simply ceded to the most sensitive members, and toned down my tendency towards clutter, exuberance, colorfulness. Those tendencies went private - and exploded into expression once i was living alone.

I'm hoping this time around we find a way for each to be expressive of Self in the communal areas so we both feel at ease in them. I want this to be a real home, and a place where many come to visit and grow.

Any ideas or stories about how you've created communal areas to feel yummy to all the people - no matter what their different habits and preferences are - who live there? And not succumb to having them be plain jane just to satisfy the least common denominator?
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