Cornerstones of Community: How to Build Relationships from the Ground Up



Lenore from Diana's Grove


This is a guest post by Lenore Spitznagel, a Leader from Diana’s Grove Mystery School.

Relationships are tough! Engaging with a partner, an acquaintance or even a stranger can leaves us vulnerable to misunderstandings, hurt feelings and even rejection. Add sex to the equation and there is even more to lose.

Diana’s Grove Mystery School was founded by Cynthea Jones and Patricia Storm in 1993. They created and developed the Cornerstones of Community as a foundation for the Mystery School Community. Not everyone lives by the Ten Commandments. Few pay heed to the Golden Rule. Are you willing to suspend disbelief and consider the following Cornerstones of communication? Will you step out of doubt and try these ideas on for an hour or a day, maybe longer?


Humans are born sexual creatures. We all have our likes, dislikes, wants and needs. Each of us has the power to choose how we act upon those wants and needs. Choice is the fundamental basis of how we live our lives and who we choose to share ourselves with. I have the choice to live in community. I have the choice to be in relationship. I can choose my partners or choose to be alone. Our time is precious. We each choose how to spend our days. If a relationship is not feeding our soul or nurturing our body, we have the choice to leave or stay.

Choice is the power of self-creation or self-destruction. How we use this power is up to us. I may choose to be totally self-reliant or to share my future with a spouse, a lover or a friend.  Within a community or family, I can choose to build my relationships upon the following cornerstones or choose another philosophy or belief system.

Thinking Well of Others

If choice gives me the power to choose how I spend my time, then Thinking Well of Others helps me to construct relationships that feed my soul and create communities that make the world a better place. My friend Jenny says that Thinking Well of Others is “a starting point, a way of being open to someone new, as well as a sustaining behavior.”

When you and I meet, I have the choice to get to know you and who you are, rather than believe you to be who I think you are, or who I want you to be. I can base my knowledge on your race, sex, political affiliations or religious beliefs. You may remind me of my mother or my first love. If that’s the case, I could easily expect you to behave the way they did. There are thousands of ways to judge a person.

There are only a few ways to actually get to know someone. Let’s talk. Let’s listen. Let’s suspend judgment and discover each other in new and honest ways. I may believe that I know what you are thinking, but I can only know for sure if I ask you and you tell me. I may believe I understand your actions, but I will only truly know for sure if I ask you and you tell me. Direct and honest communication is the only path to true and intimate relationship.

Thinking Well of Self

Every relationship I have with others is shaped by the relationship I have with myself. Honest communication begins when I look at my personal beliefs and values. If my actions reflect my values, I should be proud of my choices. Thinking Well of Self is a process of self-discovery. I need to ask myself, “Is my behavior serving the greater good, or my own ego?”

My doubts and fears often take center stage when faced with honesty and intimacy. If you know all my faults up front you will not have any ammunition to use against me later. Or…if you reject me in the beginning, I will not be emotionally invested and get hurt. I ask myself, “Who am I serving by pushing you away?” When I am afraid, my ego says, “I know what’s best. And it’s safer to be alone.”

When I allow myself to question that essential belief, then I begin the process of Thinking Well of Self and open myself to the opportunity to be in healthy relationship with others.

Stewardship of Self

Now that I find myself in relationship, I discover that I am able to make healthy choices, relate well with others and with myself. As I get to know who I am and what I value I find that there are physical and social skills, gifts and talents that we each have and we each need to nurture in ourselves. In the spirit of being Sex Positive, let’s look at the physicality of Sex.

Sex is fun! Sex is spiritual. It is entertaining, emotionally fulfilling and physically sustaining. Sex is a gift we give ourselves and share with others. Like our many other gifts and talents, sexuality is a tangible part of ourselves to be stewarded, cared for, protected and cherished. It is to be nurtured and grown in order to reach the untold heights of intimacy and honesty in relationships.

Do you steward your sexuality or do you suppress your wants and needs? Which choice leads to a more fulfilling and healthier experience of living?

Sacred Wound

Some wounds cut so deep that we may be tempted to allow them to define our lives. Perhaps our body was used against us, or against our will. We may be tempted to punish ourselves for the crimes of others. After all, it’s our own scars we bear day to day. Or, we can lay these wounds on the altar of life and grow beyond their pain.

How different would sex feel if we sacrificed the idea that sexual pleasure is dirty and wrong, and replaced it with a sense of innocence and rightness? You deserve pleasure; I deserve pleasure. How does that feel to say? Find a limiting belief or behavior, a wound that still defines a piece of who you are, and consider life beyond it. Can you sacrifice a wound, and claim a more whole self?

Take those first times of exploration and discovery of our own bodies. Perhaps we were told to be ashamed of our sexuality. Maybe we learned from the media that we didn’t measure up to the standards set for us. Think of your first partner. If joy and exultation weren’t a part of that experience, you might need to grow beyond that beginning. Sacred wound as a cornerstone holds the place of willingness to change.

I invite you to sit with these ideas for a while. Can they help you find a way to self-discovery and growth? Can they be a foundation in your life for healthier relationships? Which idea is the toughest for you to understand or integrate into your life? Which one is most natural for you?

Lenore is a Leader in the Diana’s Grove Mystery School and Dog Rescue Communities. She lives a conservative lifestyle on the edge of daring in St. Louis, MO. She is grateful for the many voices that contribute to successful writing. You can contact her at  to discuss these and many more ideas about community, relationship and communication. For more information about workshops and classes for Leadership Training, Communication Skills, Community Building and Group Facilitation, please contact or