• Shawn Hosford

Intentional Communities

Long-lasting, intimate and loving communities seem hard to find. This is the conclusion I’ve come to after research, observation, and discussion with others.

While taking a walk with Mark before a civil action I planned to attend on Memorial Day, we ran into a longtime friend who we hadn’t seen in quite some time. She saw us walking along a main arterial and turned her car around to stop and chat. 

It was great to see our friend, now 76 years old and looking exactly the same as the last time we saw her. We chatted about her retirement, the state of the world (because who doesn't when catching up at the side of the road), and many of her fellow community members. 

After our brief 20 power-minute chat with her, we walked away and I shared my curiosity with Mark about the intimacy of this woman's small, loving, and dedicated AA community. During our brief conversation she beamed as the updates and highlights were unloaded.

This got me thinking about communities of choice, rather a larger version of intentionally chosen family — the communities we create and how we bond as humans. I mused about my distant window into their shared celebrations, bonds of love through sorrow and tribulation as well as support through illnesses and death. 

Then my mind wondered about how small community groups are formed. One way I personally have been involved with them is through neighborhoods or commonly shared community grouping —such as being a parent — but both those seemed transient, since people move and kids grow up.

Then I considered church groups. But those seemed too large for comparison sake. What I was looking for was groups other than AA or family who share the good, the bad, and the ugly — or all of the worst and best of ourselves.

I was searching for someplace that was truly safe to be open and intimate. It seems to me those places are very hard to find. I think I have heard Carly refer to places like this as communities that are real and honest. 

At the civil action I attended in Olympia later that day, the speakers were open and honest, just like my long ago friend. They shared the bad and ugly as veterans of war. They shared their family stories. They share their families’ sorrows.

I was blessed to attend this third session of a six week series for The Poor Peoples Party’s Moral Mondays. Every week has a topic, Memorial Days topic was Militarization. We spent 8 hours listening, railing, and marching the streets of Olympia. The religious leaders at this event were determined to take a stand on the slipping morality of our country. As I watched these honestly forthright leaders I concluded that many of their churches, mosques, and temples likely have small groups of powerfully connected community. I was delighted to imagine more communities of love and support. Here's to one day seeing the webs of these communities being connected to each and every person on our planet. 

Where do you find your open, honest, and supportive community? Are you, and can you be, that way in your group of friends? Are you able to be exactly who you are with one or more loving groups? Does our society allow for these types of relationships easily? How often do you have to quell or hide parts of yourself? Are these big parts? Is this a good thing?