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Spring Cleaning: Redefine Your Tribe

March 21, 2018



a life on the road, with a head in the clouds





Spring Cleaning: Redefine Your Tribe


Though we may not always agree on why, I think most of us would agree that this past year has been kind of crazy in the United States, and has definitely been a difficult adjustment. The same can be said about the rest of the world, but of course we are most familiar with the things in our peripheral. Many of us have been frustrated, scared, and confused for quite some time now. 


All of us humans have this instinctual desire to be one collective thing. We want so badly to connect. We want to figure out where we fit into this whole. We struggle when people don't have the same ideas as us, because it's harder for us to understand them, and our whole idea of being a whole is rocked a little. We become confused about where we belong, confused about why someone else's ideas seem like their absolute truth (and seem to make sense to us in the moment) while ours are vastly different, yet also seem to be our absolute truth, and suddenly we're not sure how to make sense of things.  


There are few things more important than having your Tribe. Your community of close family or friends or a mix of both. Your community. But we've somewhat lost our sense of Tribe, for many reasons. For one, we no longer need a fire for warmth OR for light. The invention of the lightbulb was a great one, but has caused us to stop gathering around the fire (therefore spending less quality time together) ruined our sleep schedules (lightbulbs allow us to stay awake doing work much later than we ever could before), and has allowed us to become more and more individual, losing our sense of community in some ways. So we've been trying to re-create or re-define our ideas of community ever since.....with the internet, largely. We've traveled so far from what community used to be, that someone had to create Facebook (and thank God he did!) in an effort for to revamp it for this century. We now gather around our laptops, cell phones, or TVs as our new fires. We wave our cell phones in the air at concerts instead of lighters. We all gather around the fire of our cell phone at the end of the day and have "family dinner" with 4937223463837 strangers on the other end of the world instead of actually engaging with the people that we're currently in the room with. Social media, and the internet in general is amazing in many ways. We can connect with people we've never met and learn something new. We can say hi to Grandma from across the globe. We can research ANYTHING. But we're trying to make our Tribe a global one, which is dangerous if we are convinced of the fact that we all have to agree. 7.5 billion people are never going to agree on everything. What's more important is respecting views you don't agree with, loving everyone, and learning to work together through these differences. Not wasting time arguing who is correct about x, y, or z. Find Compassion, and Compromise, people :) 


Now, don't get me wrong. I love browsing Instagram. And being a social butterfly is very important to me. And while there's nothing wrong with wanting to have many friends, and explore/understand different cultures, and connect with others across the globe (I think it's beautiful and very important), we've placed too much emphasis on this global version of a Tribe in individual isolation, instead of investing real time with our family, our closest friends, and the people that challenge us the most. 


I think we've lost the purpose of Tribe. We don't need to be a global Tribe. What I mean by that is, we don't all have to agree on everything (how boring would that be??), and we don't have to be constantly connected to thousands of people around the country and the world. It's great that we have Facebook to remind us when to wish one of our friends a happy birthday. It's great that we can see what some of our colleagues are doing next summer. But balance is always key. 


We can have many smaller Tribes within this world, within this country, within this state, etc. We can connect with our own community. We do need to respect other communities and realize they are just as important as ours. But we don't have to have the same beliefs or values in order to co-exist and love each other. Besides, we already ARE one collective, anyway. We all share that divine fire inside of us. We breathe together. We are searching for something that already exists on the inside. Everyone can feel it in one way or another, call it The Universe, God, The Spirit, The Collective Energy..... we can't deny that it's there, even if it IS all explained by science. We already are one thing. So we don't need to try to artificially recreate a collective.


We don't need strangers' approval of everything that we do, and we don't need to get along with everyone. We just have to function in our own job field, or our own state, or country and love all the others.


It's easy to get lost in the fake world of concrete and accept it as reality. But now more than ever, we have to get back to what is actually real.


Let's get off our tiny hand computers, start making fires again, getting up and going down with the sun, living in silence, looking at the stars, and just being more present in general. Let's get outside so that we can go further inside ourselves.


Of course, in this world, physically being with your family, or your Tribe of choice is difficult because we're always traveling, moving, etc. Especially us working artists. What we can do, is use our cell-phone-fires for good and call our family regularly (related family, or otherwise), to recharge whatever communities we're connected to. We can prioritize returning home to spend time with them. Or prioritize living a little closer to them. Or have several communities throughout the world that we are close to at different times for different purposes. For instance, I have my Seagle Family; a group of people I'm thankful for every day. And almost everywhere I travel or work has a member of that family. I also have been lucky enough to have my OperaWorks family, as well. And best friends that I've had since high school and yet another small group from college. Though I don't get to see them that often, we talk regularly. It doesn't necessarily have to be true that we are in the same physical place as them at all times (as ideal as that would be, it's difficult these days). But we can be creative and find ways to prioritize these people and the time we spend with them.


We often surround ourselves with like-minded people, which can be dangerous. We should seek friends who don't agree with us, who challenge us, and learn to be comfortable with the uncomfortable. The more diversity, the more space for these important conversations. 


This has been a difficult several months for me, in many of ways. I imagine it has been for at least one other person out there. Many people have betrayed me or disappointed me (including me!). Many unexpected trials have come up that caught me off guard and challenged me deeply. But each struggle; each difficult conversation, no matter how big or small, is an opportunity for growth. It's easy to react to things that are unfair in anger, frustration, blame, etc. I'm guilty of all of those things. But when we stop blaming others for things we don't understand or things that are wildly unfair in our lives or in our world, and start listening instead, we can disagree without being disagreeable. We can disagree usefully. We can mix with ideas that are different than our own, to emerge stronger. 



Today is the first day of spring, which means spring cleaning!! So let's clean out all of the negative thoughts, the extra chatter in our heads, and any other darkness within. Let's rid ourselves of emotional vampires (as my friend Keenan calls them) that only use us and project onto us, and put the time in with our Tribe. Let's remember the phrase "What is done in love, is done well," remember what it is that we love, how we can serve others with our passions, and start leading with compassion in whatever we do.


Happy first day of Spring, everyone! And Stay Sunny :) Hopefully these storms will come to an end soon and we can REALLY enjoy the sun!! :D  


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