A nice set of thoughts about finding community:
Remember the first steps along my Five Fold Path:
- Love yourself (enough to keep yourself safe, and forgive for your flaws)
- Love another person (extend your sense of “self” beyond your own skin)
- Love mankind (and understand how we got where we are without guilt, blame, or shame) which leads to:
- Find your tribe.
We need to have a group, a family, friends and companions, mentors and students, clients and customers. IF the foundational steps have been taken, this one is powerful indeed. If you’ve not taken the other steps, this one might feel impossible.
I like the first step in Lisa Rankin’s list: set your intentions. I’ve created my entire life by seeking to be attractive to the women I was attracted to, and respected by the men I was respected by. Seriously, it was in many ways that simple.
Given a different world, I probably wouldn’t have spent much time in the martial arts. Probably more time in Yoga or the arts. Dancing. Music. I was such a gentle boy. So open hearted and happy, until I slammed into reality. I got hurt a LOT, and felt I had no protection anywhere. In a tribal culture, I’d probably have been a griot, shaman, or healer. Those are the more “natural” paths for me. The warriors of the tribe would have protected me in exchange for providing value to their lives, and I would have worked my heart out to take care of them.
I had no such ring of protection. So the only choice I could see was to become my own protection, and went down that road, no matter how brutally hard it might have been, until I felt safe at last. I thought I could banish my fear, but instead learned to live with it healthfully. Accept and love myself. Forgive myself. Along the way, I found love, developed a sense of history and human existence that allows me to understand what I see around me as well as understand history and anticipate future changes with a sense of unfolding. There is chaos and grief and pain and fear…and there is love and creativity and sharing and sacrifice and healing. All is well. It’s just life.
And in that process I’ve also gained students and readers, clients and allies, family and friends. To my delight and surprise, the martial artists I admire respect me–not necessarily because I’m some paragon, but because they know I walk the same road they walk, that I’ve done the best I could with the resources I had, that I’ve gone as far below the surface as I could, and come to them with an open heart.
The same is true of the path of writing. I know so many fine men and women who are beyond my horizon in terms of skill and accomplishment…but I walk the same road. That’s all we can do. And no matter how far and how fast we run, we’re never any closer to the horizon. There is The Work. And if you keep your attention on that, rather than “who’s better?” then you won’t stray off that path.
My tribe is the group of people who believe human beings are basically just human beings, that there are no differences worth dwelling on between races, that we are building this world together and that the most basic realities of life and existence are a balance between entropy and increasing complexity, and you have to choose a side.
The first step is love, without which the fear and doubt and lack of faith can destroy you. We start there, we end there. And when finding your tribe remember not to admit those who cannot see the same reality you see. Do not let them lure you into negative thinking or perceptions, even if they dangle rewards of money, love, sex, or fame at you. Ultimately, you are responsible only to the Child you were, and the Ancient you are becoming.
My commitment: One Million Awake, Aware, Adult human beings. My strategy: to nurture one thousand Awake, Aware, Adult writers. I am so happy for all of you who have declared yourself walking the same path: you are my tribe.
All others, I wish success and health on your path. Report back, please. Let me know how your journey is working out for you: if you are getting better results, I promise I’ll investigate and see if there is something there for me to incorporate in my own Way.