This is my monthly column about our life, life in a triad in general, or whatever rants & raves I feel like talking about at the time.

Previous editions of this column can be found in the Monthly Columns Archives.

A Sense of Community

When I first created the Polyamorous Percolations online community, it was based on a concept that was twofold. First, I wanted to provide a place that folks could seek out for the purpose of education regarding the polyamorous lifestyle. Secondly, and more importantly, I wanted to create a place where folks would feel welcomed by people they had never met, a place they could call home despite the fact that they had never before visited, I wanted to create a sense of community.

Despite the fact that I knew exactly what I hoped to achieve through this website, I didn't truly know what community meant to me until just recently.

Not too long ago I had the wonderful experience of visiting The Four Quarters Interfaith Sanctuary in South Central Pennsylvania. In my opinion, these folks and the following of devoted members they have so deservedly amassed are my definition of the word community. Let me try to convey to you why this is the case.

Have you ever been welcomed home to a place you've never been before by someone you've never met? Have you ever been invited to take place in a sacred ritual that has repeated itself three times a year for ten years? To me, these are some of the very things that embody the sense of community I wish to build for all who visit our online community.

To some folks, community is represented by the very buildings of brick and wood that criscross their way over tracts of land all over the world. To other people, community is represented by friends, neighbors, co-workers, acquaintances, or family members that they choose to surround themselves with on a daily basis. To still others, community might be the very landscape itself. The familiar cornfield, street corner, town square or set of railroad tracks that they cross over every day on their way to and from work. All of these things are, in fact, viable and important components of what makes up a community. They're just that though - a component. They represent tangible, physical, in your face and real as day manifestations of the world around us. What they don't represent, though, is the spiritual sense of being that creates the type of community that I'm referring to.

I'm not here to define spirituality, but it does play a big part in the diversity of any community. Let me backtrack and expand upon something I already mentioned.

Have you ever been welcomed home to a place you've never been before by someone you've never met?

This to me was the greatest feeling ever. From the first time I stepped foot on the 150 acres of beautiful land that make up the The Four Quarters Interfaith Sanctuary (4qf), I knew I was home. I knew I belonged. I knew I was with family. A family which I had never met. A family that I am related to only in spirit. A family that greeted me and mine not with handshakes but hugs. A family that welcomed me home to my community.

Have you ever been invited to take place in a sacred ritual that has repeated itself three times a year for ten years?

At 4QF, they have been creating a Circle of Standing Stones since the birth of their community ten years ago. The Standing Stones of Four Quarters do not represent any one Tradition or Religious way; they have become their own tradition. They are not owned or labeled, and you will find no symbolic carvings upon their faces. They are not an imitation of things past nor are they a monument to any personís memory. What they are, however, is a legacy to be preserved and built upon for generations to come. Nothing embodies the sense of community more than hundreds of people working together to move these massive stones into place using nothing more than the ropes and log rollers that our ancestors used.

Spirituality. A sense of family. A feeling of not just being welcomed, but of belonging. These are the things that embody community for me. This could be the same for you, or it could be drastically different. This makes no difference as long as you find yourself a place that you feel welcome, a family that you belong to, a community to call home.

~ Chias, August 27, 2005

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