In the months since we began facilitating coaching circles, one of the unanticipated outcomes of the circles has been the building of community. I’m not sure why, but it had not occurred to me just how alone people have been feeling. Certainly I have noticed it myself. I just assumed that because I choose to live rurally now, that being alone was my new way of life.
With the start of each coaching circle, we ask participants to share with us their intentions for what they want to gain from the experience. Inevitably several of the participants mention that they are looking for community. Specifically they want to connect to like-minded individuals who, like themselves, are choosing to step on the path of self-discovery and shape their life differently.
As facilitators we have learned that the coaching circle is a transformative experience, partly due to the coaching and largely due to the sharing of experience of the individual participants. Participants relate to the feelings, thoughts and experiences of others. Suddenly they realize that they are not alone in those sometimes dark places and that their struggles to live their life differently are shared by others.
In a recent blog posting from colleague Lianne Bridges, www.shiftvillage.com, Lianne shared her experience of attending the Wisdom 2.0 Conference in San Francisco, “To be in the presence of conscious individuals is awe-inspiring….What was so amazing about this conference were the sixteen-hundred people from all walks of life and four corners of the world who shared one main perspective – the strong desire to use their expertise and gifts to better the world.”
Lianne also refers to community as one’s tribe. By her definition, tribe does not necessarily refer only to people who are bound to you by familial, geographic, political, cultural or even racial ties, but also includes people who share your closely held beliefs or world views.
Finding our tribe, our community, may be one of the healthiest and most essential gifts we can give ourselves. People do feel alone. The isolation people are experiencing is a secondary effect of our technological prowess. We have grown attached to the I-phones, Blackberries and other gadgets that give us the illusion of being connected. It is however superficial – words with no depth, no real meaning, no eye to eye contact.
We have also lost many of the social structures that once connected us – the church communities, the service clubs, the back yard BBQ’s. Is it that life has simply become too busy?
Whatever the reason, the loss of these social systems has left people searching for ways to connect.
Developing community, or finding your tribe as Lianne has suggested, has become important. It is part of feeling whole and consciously connected to a shared meaning and an opportunity to learn more about you through the eyes of others.
So where do you start; how do you find your tribe?
· It begins with reaching out to others whom you sense have a similar desire or who may want to rally around a shared cause.
· It begins with your desire to understand yourself and to share the experience of personal discovery with others.
· It begins by being clear about who you actually want to ‘BE’ with and taking the time to describe who would be perfect for you at this time in your life.
· It begins by being open-hearted, generous and kind – first with yourself, then with others. You can only attract these kinds of companions when you give it to self-first.
· It begins by stepping out of your comfort zone and reaching out to others, or perhaps signing up for a program which you believe will attract others you want to be with.
· It begins by trusting your heart more than your head, listening to your intuition when you encounter others and your deep sense of knowing they are a perfect companion.
We have a tribe of sorts through the Seeker. You can guess that those attracted to the newspaper share common values, desires and perhaps stories. Understanding this, I challenge you to put out a call to your friends, those who read and enjoy the Seeker, and start a conversation regarding the contents. You may find your tribe!
Until next time…