Last night, in the safety of our living room, 15 or so of us gathered for Salon.
Historically, Salons were called by fashionable women who would invite intellectuals to their house for a party to discuss heavy topics. It was a way that women could participate in discussions of policy and philosophy in an informal setting with good food and drink.
Here at Square Peg, Darius and I started hosting Salon to bring people together to dive deeper into complicated subjects in a respectful setting that felt more like a warm gathering of friends than in a “town hall” type setting.
But something magic happened. Our youth commandeered our California take on a cocktail party. They found Salon as a safe and welcoming space to be seen and heard – to listen and formulate opinions and share deep thoughts and experiences.
My job changed from making sure that there was stylish food to offer to gently drawing out those who have not felt safe enough to have their thoughts heard in a group. Salon is now more beautiful than I could have ever imagined.
Last night, we talked about community. We spent a good amount of time defining what a community is – is it a space with a common interest as vague as a video game or as deep as blood ties. The answer, we decided, was yes to both. We talked about the community of being a sports team fan and how that community because it had a cause and a mission (to beat the other team) could bring out excitement, but also violence. We talked about whether of not a virtual community, gleaned via the internet was a real community and how the pain of a shared experience can bring out the best of us in the uncharted waters known as compassion and empathy.
We started to explore how a community, at some point, has to develop rules to keep things fair, especially when resources become or perceive to become more scarce and that naturally led us to wrap up the night as we all agreed that the next monthly Salon be on the nature of Policy and hence, Politics. We agreed that we would do the best we all could not to get pulled into a divisive discussion of current politics and instead, think about how different political systems evolved and how one system might work for one community and not for another.
Pretty brilliant stuff.
I am grateful for the trust and care that the members of our Square Peg community show to each other in this sweet group.
And I’m wicked grateful for the lovely community that we have all built.
If you are curious, I highly suggest developing a Salon group of your own. Feel free to email me if you would like advice on how to do it.