In November 2017, we, DNA, Raven and gil, formally started Cotyledon, an income-sharing egalitarian community. In August 2019, we realize that this no longer serves us and each of us desires to grow in our own ways. Therefore, we have made the decision, together, to release one another and move in our own directions. This did not come from a fight but rather from a place of caring for each other and wanting to support each other’s growth. Thus, as of October 1st, we will part, and Cotyledon will be dissolved.
We have learned and grown so much from our time together. This was an experiment from the beginning and each of us will take many lessons as well as care and support as we start new chapters in each of our lives. We offer these words to honor our commitment to ourselves, proactively answer questions, and prune back any grapevine gossip in order to cultivate a peaceful resolve.
“Only because of the trials and tribulations we have gone through, can we honor who we are by embracing the pain of honoring both the individuals and the whole.” — DNA
We are not a failure. Through living interdependently, we have come to know ourselves better, growing to trust the mirror we see in each other. Cotyledon is a success, one of which is not often found, much less honored in our society which values productivity over self-worth — and truth be told, we discovered how entrenched in these societal values we really are. Being able to admit that it is time to move on is difficult, sad and scary. We are a prideful people and all too often it is a false pride, a reaction fed by competition or greed, a crutch used to persevere through habit rather than health. We do not need to conquer change, we need only to embrace it. Seeing this pride, we know it is not useful to us anymore, accepting our own fears of control and trust.
“For years I had been living in and out of collectives, weaving my own way through the capitalist catastrophe. I could never have imagined the lessons I would learn from living communally.” — gil
Urban life in NYC is intrinsically stressful and expensive, so tackling such an ambitious, idealistic project within this context was never presumed to be easy. Perhaps Cotyledon could have grown more quickly in order to allow some of us to leave while others remain, but the realities of the real estate market and societal conditioning regarding income-sharing have made membership population and structural growth very difficult. All this with the additional personal struggles of experiencing the death of one of our member’s parents and being honest with each of our pasts has made for a challenging journey, but one full of lessons and mutual aid. Instead of letting those stumbling blocks completely trip us up, we continually focused on what we needed to do in order to form a foundation of trust, to believe in each other.
We are thankful for the lessons we could only learn through this beautiful experience, such as sense of community, depth of compassion and liberation. Through dedication to our values, we learned how to fearlessly express ourselves to our communards, and have been reminded that conflict is not abuse. Through this group evolution, we see more clearly our individual callings and needs. We know who we are more deeply now than when we started living and income sharing together. Cotyledon has come to be the springboard for the pursuit of our own truths.
We recognize that it is common, even expected, for change to come about resentfully, often through anger or apathy. These emotions are not guiding our decision. While we are experiencing pain and sorrow for the end of this beautiful chapter in our lives, we do not look back in anger. In fact, our support for one another is blossoming and ready for harvest.
There is no break-up trauma in our evolving relationships. We affirm that, short of living these communal and egalitarian values with us, it is challenging, if not impossible for others to comprehend our reasons for Cotyledon’s end. As we part paths, we do so in reverence of one another. Any ideas of Cotyledon “not making it” or, any presumed internal issues, should not be interpreted as Cotyledon’s reality. With clarity, we state that if these types of negative projections arise, they could be better used as an internal mirror to explore one’s own relationship with/in community or society. We implore that these traumas, fears and assumptions not be projected onto our situation.
“We came into this endeavor to support one another, I want to see us come out of it still supporting each other.” — Raven
We have agreed that, just as we started income-sharing on our first day, we will continue income-sharing until our last day together. We’re also working on ways to insure that each of us has what we need to flourish in our next chapter. As we began, so shall we end.
We are at peace with our decision, what has been is now fertilizer for life to flourish. We allow this letting go to happen, we ask for unconditional love to assist us in this sacred surrender. We invite in life, we invite in love.