TribeLife 101: The Art of Living in a Modern Day Tribe
TribeLife is the notion that living in community is far more rewarding than living independently of it. So today let’s talk about the basics of the art of living in a modern day tribe.
TribeLife is not easy for sure, it is not for the faint of heart, it is uncomfortable at times, and in my opinion it is worth it. The brave hearts of the world will live in community.
Does this idea of TribeLife sound appealing to you?
I think, initially, it sounds awesome to live among people who love and care for you. A place to belong is something we all desire. Walking out our belonging is where it gets tricky. For many it’s here, that it gets unappealing and not worth it. But when I tell you it’s worth it, I am speaking from MUCH experience. Living TribeLife is worth the discomfort.
When I stumbled upon this story 5 years ago, it grabbed me and just wouldn’t let me go. There has been tremendous controversy over its authenticity and, whether it's fact or fiction, it speaks deeply to my heart and soul and that is enough for me.
In this African tribe, when someone does something harmful, they take the person to the center of the village where the whole tribe comes and surrounds them.
For two days, they will say to the man all the good things that he has done.
The tribe believes that each human being comes into the world as good. Each one of us only desiring safety, love, peace, and happiness.
But sometimes, in the pursuit of these things, people make mistakes.The community sees those mistakes as a cry for help.
They unite then to lift him, to reconnect him with his true nature, to remind him who he really is, until he fully remembers the truth of which he had been temporarily disconnected: “I AM GOOD.”
I cannot read this story without crying. Water works E-V-E-R-Y time, it is ridiculous.
Like I said, whether fact or fiction, there are many things we can learn from this. For instance, when someone in our immediate circle does something harmful, whether directly against us or against another, what should our response be? Do we contribute to the harm they caused? Do we dwell on their wrongdoing and make them pay for it? There are many ways we can respond. Take a moment to reflect on the last time someone in your community hurt you or someone else.
What was your initial reaction? Are you okay with how you responded?
This story teaches me something I forget more than I’d like to admit: Mercy.
I took one of those strengths tests and scored the lowest on Mercy! HA! So this one takes a conscious effort on my part. It’s apparently not innate for me so my awareness levels are peaked post non-merciful response. That’s why there is a tribe… they gently remind me and help soften my hard edges.
I have fought for this TribeLife way of living for many years and continue to fight for it daily. So let’s talk basics, because everyone, whether you like to admit it or not, belongs to a tribe and it is important that you find yours.
Selflessness- there are more times than not when tribal living means putting others first. When their needs override yours.
Do the hard things- it’s easy to “live” alone, to stick with my way of doing things, it’s comforting and stable in a world of instability. It’s much harder to let others into my life where my weaknesses are exposed. No matter how tough humanity (you and me) is, we are more fragile than we think but when you are exposed in honest community there is covering that shields you.
Sacrifice- similar to selflessness in that others come first, but the intent is different. In the tribe, it is a gift to give up to make a way for another.
Flexibility- tribe=flex…flex=tribe…..they are almost interchangeable. Being with the people that make your life grand is irreplaceable and many times that means flexibility. Life changes, people change and grow, tragedy and celebrations happen, and with each of these events, people stretch and change. Some seasons pull you close together and others make you feel far apart, but what remains is that you belong and so do they. So be flexible with these relationships, give space when necessary then be present when it’s time to be present.
TribeLife does NOT happen without the next 2.
Honesty- paramount to all things. Best described as being free of deceit and untruthfulness. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve found that I am no longer as concerned about saying something that is untruthful, rather that I find myself rejecting truth more frequently. We can all be mistaken about something, but in community we allow each other to be the voice of truth in our deception.
Accountability- this helps to keep us grounded and focused on the right things. Being accountable to someone else is terrifying and liberating! Please surround yourself with people who love you enough to hold you to the dreams you've dreamt and the goals you've written, and who don’t give up on you! They are your tribe!!
If you are looking for community, I implore you to reflect on yourself. Search your heart and begin to become the person you want to be in community with. Make the hard choice upfront that you will fight for those you are designed to be in community with, no matter how uncomfortable it gets.
Living in a modern day tribe is an art, not a science. And more often than not, it’s an abstract piece.
We're on a journey to live fully and to be present in each moment we're given. We like to equate this to painting a watercolor picture with a toothbrush. It's messy, abstract, and takes time to see the beauty. Grab a toothbrush and let's do it!
Thank you for reading.
See you next Tuesday!