I often wrangle with the dilemma of not being able to find my tribe, to find that physical space (with like-minded others) that preferably already exists. But am I chasing a dream, chasing something that can never exist. Afterall I am ever changing aren’t I? So in order to find my tribe “they” would have to be changing in the same direction, at the same time. So does that mean I’ll always be chasing something that doesn’t exist, that can never exist? How can I find my tribe? Where do I belong?
When I originally wrote this blog it went off on a tangent about how living in intentional communities can be a tense, chaotic and unstructured mess with people continually pushing agendas side to side resulting in little, if any, forward momentum. BUT, yes there is a but, I stopped myself. Why? One word, ego.
I think it is important to share honest reflections, including all the ugly. I have been coming to grips with the not-so-shocking realisation that I, along with the rest of the population, have an ego. So because I am more interested in being real than in pretending to be some self-proclaimed guru I thought I’d take a moment to share.
We have all been lonely, lost, uncertain and even directionless at some point. I know I have and I still feel those feelings regularly. As I get older and start to “settle down” into a more anchored lifestyle I am looking around saying, Oh, where do I go? Where do I want to call home? Who do I want to be around me? I have to admit I have been thinking this for well over a couple of years. So what is for me and where the heck is it? I guess even when we are “settled” we still feel this way sometimes.
So, I have been seriously reflecting on these feelings for the last couple of months and something came to me again and again. As much as I tried to ignore it, saying to myself “PFT! That is not an answer”, it has finally landed. The reason I cannot find my tribe is because it does not actually exist. Well, not in the way I thought it would.
Here is why.
It is our nature and the nature of our social systems to constantly change, whether we like it or not. We decide we want new experiences, we relocate, move on, learn, grow and even die (sorry to break that news). Change is inevitable and happening every single microsecond. Even when there is a group who intentionally collects together (in the form of an intentional community, a community group, even a group of friends) people come and go from this group, things change, nothing stays the same. You cannot ever guarantee that something will be fixed because it is human nature, better yet it is nature, that everything changes. So how can you expect to find a place that is “home”? After all searching for this “home” implies it a fixed thing, just waiting for you to find it.
The problem with trying to find your tribe and the fact that we are in an ever-changing world is that people focus on the group through their ego, rather than focusing on what they share with the group, outside of all their individual differences.
It is the journey towards the vision, shared values and big picture goals that makes a tribe therefore you find your tribe by finding what the shared vision is? How we get to making the vision a reality will look different to different people, so this comes into play too. But the key is to hold something outside of ourselves where our ego cannot play out, where there is no ownership, just pure sharing, learning, tolerance and compassion. This way we can get past all the petty nonsense and continually re-orientate ourselves towards what really matters. When we focus on the shallow, surface level differences of how we are achieving the vision (instead of the vision itself) and we let ego dictate our relationships then we never feel relaxed within our community. We will never find our tribe.
I strongly believe it is important to hold onto a goal together, preferably one that everyone can relate to, share and act on in their own way. So, this is what I have decided to do. I have decided to move back to the intentional community where I once lived for 8 months about a year ago. The same community and I moved out of because it “wasn’t my tribe”. My goal is to find the vision we all share and I want to exist from that space. I want to operate from outside of my ego and within the shared vision. I want to learn how to practice effective communication (maybe I’ll even experiment with ineffective communication to see how it goes) and I want to keep bringing my attention back to the shared vision. It is so easy to walk away and externalise all of the b.s., aka ego-bruising stuff, but it is my intention to walk into it, head first. To force off the layers I have placed on myself. I intend to consciously loosen the grip that my ego has on my life and then see how easily I find my “tribe”. This should be interesting! I’m a little scared to be honest.
I believe we need to realise that despite the boarders, despite the cultural layers and all the “differences”, we are home. Earth is our home. We have the potential for our tribe to be all of humanity, no matter what bank account, colour or accent it is shaped with. And even though we may not get along with everyone all of the time or even understand others, it is our responsibility (to ourselves and each other) to move above our ego and concentrate on the important things, like co-creating a healthier and happier world.
But don’t be fooled, there is no end game. How can there be? I definitely do not expect to write to you one day explaining how I finally figured it out. This is a constantly shifting world and my hope and aim is that we can continue to shift it in a positive direction. We will rise and fall and it is my hope that those who are rising will help the fallen, and when it is their turn to fall there will be someone there to help them back up. There will be set-backs, there will be both good and bad things happening, the expected and unexpected will happen, but we mustn’t loose focus of our shared vision.
This earth and everything on it is constantly evolving, including us. So let’s keep bringing the focus back to what is important, let’s keep co-creating a healthier and happier world, and evolve with intention. I can’t wait to share my journey with you.
Apologies in advance if I over-share, but it will be necessary as I want to be raw, real and transparent.
Follow the blog for more. This is going to be a fun ride, wish me luck…
Katie Johnston | Founder & Managing Director | theoneworldcollective.org