I’ve been thinking a lot about community these days are and what community means to different people. We all crave a sense of community through shared emotional or spiritual connections (McMillan & Chavis 1986). But community cannot be easily replicated -- there must easily be a sense of trust and belonging. I saw that last week at the Portland Trails 15x15 annual meeting, I see it daily at the dog park with the other dog owners, I feel it in my car listening to podcasts. How do we create a sense of community that makes it easier for us to reach out to one another to let each other know that we are struggling in the most intimate parts of our lives? How do you trust those that you haven’t met? What do you do to make the claim of “I belong. I’m a member.”
For me: Sauna is my community. On late Saturday afternoons, I escape from the city and slip into a hidden sauna oasis in the backwoods near Bradbury Mountain State Park. These are people I’ve come to love and trust who support each other, regardless of age, ethos, gender, sexual orientation, or class. When I see the candle lit in the window, I feel at home.
Through the Sauna Survey, I’ve been asking some of you to describe your community. Here are a few of your responses:
People who want to make the world a better place
…growing their own personal selves while sharing and teaching their experiences and values with the rest of us.
I seek a kind, supportive, inspiring, and open-minded tribe to embrace as “my community.”
They are my community because they are positive and supportive of meaningful ways to treat people with love and respect. They inspire me to create and bring beauty to the world while at the same time sharing in the day to day struggles of humankind.
And so … the Little Red Sauna building has begun, with wupport and love to the community that is bringing it to life: Mat O’Brien (Owner of O’Brien Wood & Iron LLC) and his team of artists are transforming Little Red from two-stall horse trailer into a sauna. No sneak peeks just yet, but you can see the progress on our Instagram.