Find Your Tribe
I was a freshman in high school waiting for volleyball practice to begin after school when two of the popular varsity girls were sitting above my best friend and me in the bleachers. We could hear them snicker about our volleyball skill level, hand-me down pit stained uniforms, weight, and other humiliating topics of high school-minded drama. Too shy and fearful to speak up for myself, I absorbed their hurtful words with tears welling in my eyes. Moments later, I felt a wet, sticky drip from the top bleacher where the girls were seated fall on the side of my face; soon to be followed by snickers of laughter and, â€œthat is so funny, the spit landed on her face!â€
This episode has been with me from the age of fourteen for a number of reasons:
- #1: it reminds me about the mean, hurtful, and inconsiderate actions of others (which serves as a baseline to help me teach compassion, tolerance and non-judgment to students enrolled in my high school yoga program)
- #2: why in the hell was I so afraid to stand up to the â€œmean girlsâ€ and defend myself?
- #3: how important it is to identify the specific fears (acceptance, approval, doubt, etc.) that kept me silent
- #4: why making the investment to do the inner work (speak with personal truth, acquire self love, compassion, etc.) is an invaluable tool for growth.
Ultimately doing the personal work, leads to a connection with others who have been through difficulty, aspire for personal understanding and knowledge. This path has led me to being part of a tribe that embraces many inspirational, strong, confidant and loving individuals. To those women and others I have found in my life to create this connection with, I thank you.
I went for years without having a tribe I could trust, rely upon, or that really understood me.
Moving during pivotal years of my childhood and adult years resulted in social withdraw from others due to not wanting to force surface friendships or navigate rejection. Additionally, I felt very alone, angry, and like an outcast because I was not always welcome or accepted by others. These emotions spiraled into a great deal of pain until I found ways to heal from the unnecessary anguish.
We all experience some form of hardship and suffering in this lifetime. There is no scale large enough that can measure the magnitude of a damaged heart or pained soul. As human beings, our work relies on identifying the triggers that perpetuate harmful habits, sabotaging behaviors, manipulation, and all other actions that keep our moral compass from finding its true north. However, when we allow our additions to the â€œquick fixâ€ in order to mask pain instead of allowing discomfort take over, the inner work of love, acceptance, and self-realization is left unknown. Members of our tribe can help keep us accountable, forthcoming, and hold space for acceptance and love regardless of personal indiscretions.
It is fearful to dive into our imperfections, regrets, and hurt.
If there is a continued avoidance of truth, we tend to operate on the surface level on connection. The fake smiles, â€œhelloâ€™sâ€ without meaningful eye contact, patterns of racing through life; this leaves remnants of disconnect, dissatisfaction, and being a servant to the subconscious mind. However, those in our tribe know and understand fear, are on the path of embracing difficult emotion, and have the inner desire to do the work. We are never alone.
There continues to be times in my life when I forget how to get real with myself. I tend to shy away from uprooted emotion, confrontation, and commitment due to limiting insecurities. In the past, it felt safer and much easier to bury myself with work, food, exercise, toxic relationships, and ego-serving action, than it was to face my own truths of not knowing how to love myself. When I find myself out of alignment, tools such as yoga, meditation, and breath are antidotes to my healing.
It is difficult to image anyone craving disappointment. So many of us avoid and resist what needs the most work. This is why the importance of creating a connection with others in our tribe can help elevate us out of the harmful dialogue we encounter within. Individuals that make up our tribe may spring up in the most unforeseen circumstances; others you may have known for years. I am very fortunate to have pockets of tribes with connections from yoga and special sisterhood bonds with unbelievable, inspiring women. From a dinner out at CafÃ© Gratitude on the night of a full moon, tear filled moments of laughter, to meaningful walks along the oceanfront, to baring your heart and deepest sorrows to someone willing to listen. These are the individuals who know the importance of doing our personal work, to help offer a buffer of support, love and unconditional acceptance along our personal path to self-realization.
A few personal suggestions to gatherÂ the strength and do the inner work needed to attract others of your tribe who vibrate with your frequency on the path to connection:
1) Do something alone that makes you uncomfortable: eat in public; go to a movie, amusement park, etc. Get out of your comfort zone.
2) Forgive others. Not everyone wants to learn or has the willingness to do their personal work.
3) Release the victim mentality by remembering you have a choice to feel that way or not.
4) Change perspective. Instead of looking at tasks that are daunting or purposefully avoided, make it a fun experience to encounter
5) Write. Without looking back. Steady stream of consciousness for five minutes every day.
6) Do Yoga. Meditate.
7) Learn how to be mindful; with all that you do: driving, eating, talking, breathing.
9) Join a support group that focuses on solution based dialogue, versus a ranting bitch session.
10) Unleash your inner passion by learning something new to rediscover a piece of you waiting to shine.
11) Stop hurrying. Use all five senses (sight, touch, sound, smell, taste) to complete one thing at a time.
12) Set a timer for social media use. Record time spent. Reflect if time used to browse the lives of others was more important that spending that time on your self.
13) Ask for help. This allows us to strengthen our vulnerability muscles. Find therapy.
14) Participate in volunteer work for a cause or purpose that makes you happy: animal shelter, soup kitchen, after school program with kids, etc.
15) Break up with friends that end up sucking the life out of you versus filling you up.
16) Practice gratitude. Wake up each morning and begin with five aspects of life that you can be grateful for.
17) Trust yourself enough to fall in love.Â
Life is too full to experience it all alone. There are times that solitude and reflection are necessary to help gain clarity and insight; however, retreating to a life that pushes friendships away will only lead to greater suffering. I have learned how to reach out; how to trust myself and those in my tribe with the delicate truths that are difficult to face. We are never alone. My heart is full to those friends who shine their light with me. Together, we vibrate higher with love, compassion, and energetic connection.