The Ants Go Marching

When I was a little girl we lived in this tiny apartment in Hollywood, Florida. Four females in a one bedroom apartment. One small bathroom the size of a closet. I would spend time in the bathroom to give myself space alone.

There were these tiny ants (that my mother hated and tried everything to kill) go up and down the pink tile through the window. I would sit there and study them. They would make a straight line up and down, stopping to communicate, and keep going out the door of the bathroom. It was always the same two tiles and the same straight line.

I marveled at the stories they would whisper to each other. And if there was a crumb they would carry it to each other. They worked together as a tribe. Sometimes passing the weight on to another ant coming the opposite direction.

I would close my eyes and prayed that when I grew up I could be strong like them, resilient and committed. I dreamt of having a tribe who would let me know of danger ahead or when to let go and allow another to pick me up. I wanted friends who showed me the way without manipulating the path. I desired non judgment, competition, or jealousy. I wanted what those ants had.

As young as 11 years old I recognized the importance of a village. It took till my mid-forties to find one. I looked for the ant-like tribe for years. I admired it in others. I would create scenes of life stories while watching “Friends” or “Seinfeld.” I believed it wasn’t a myth. I would someday have what those ants had in my little imagination.

Once I stopped filtering myself I attracted the most powerful village of loving folks who wanted nothing from me but love. Once I became vulnerable they showed up. They have supported me, helped me, created with me, and allowed me to grow spiritually.

We are all trying to find our way home while believing that we are all alone. We are not. Sometimes folks come into our circle for ten years. Other times for ten days or ten hours. People are mirrors of your soul. Not everyone will stay forever. But when they do they help move mountains, carry your spirit through rocky waters, help elevate you and you are no longer alone. You become a circle with no beginning or ending just sustaining each other through it all.

Thank you to my little ants who help me get from here to there. I love you. And to all those others I am yet to meet along the path! 🐜🐜🐜

Compassionate Tribe

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I read somewhere long ago that there is a tribe in Africa who shows tremendous compassion and support for one another. When someone commits a mistake or a wrongdoing they don’t judge or bring them down. They don’t punish their tribe member for what they did. They stop everything that one day and they gather around that person. And, one by one they lift that soul who has been broken with loving words. They tell that person, sharing with kindness while reminding them of their attributions and beautiful things. They enhance their greatness.

I don’t know if this story is true or not. It doesn’t matter. I feel that this is the way our society needs to be. We need to lift one another when we have fallen. We all live based on our past mistakes. We come down on ourselves and beat our self esteem to such low levels. To get support from your village, oh my! It’s hard enough to deal with our own judgment and self-criticism. It’s even more appalling when others are constantly seeing the flaws instead of our beauty. I want to live like this tribe. I want to raise another when they fall and they hurt. I want them to know that it’s okay to have hard life lessons. It’s not okay to stay there and live as a victim.

This is compassion at its fullest. This is community and true empathy. This is the world that I want to leave for my children and grandchildren. This is what we came here to do. No one cares about the political climate or religious beliefs. This is not about any of that. It’s about finding hope and kindness when we really need it. Remember that it’s wonderful to spend time with others when all is well. The hardest part of being with one another is when we are hurt and feel raw. We feel neglected and rejected. We wallow in the anger and negativity of how others see us. We need to be there for one another in vulnerability and in joy. Yes, yes, yes! This is how I want to be of service to another.

Imagine! Can you truly envision a world without judgment and criticism? A world that has joined together to lift one another?

I want to know that as I walk throughout this journey I can squeeze out laughter and love from as many people I can.

Join me in this venture!!!

Your Tribe

holding the world

One of my dearest and oldest friends called me last night. We’ve known each other a thousand years. We spoke about events that have unfolded in her life and family. My heart was opened in such a way that when we hung up I cried. My first and only thought to my fiance was that I wanted to fly and be with her. We are almost 3000 miles apart. I have responsibilities and so does she. But, the miles disappeared while we were on the phone. We know each other well enough to understand that all we need is a listening ear and an opened heart. This is our human desire. That’s all we require in moments of discomfort and pain. I cannot be there next to her to hold her hand, but I can be here to listen when her tears flow and her heart is fractured.   I can be here to make her laugh even through the moments of feeling lost.

In my old life I could not handle emotions. I would lock up when I saw someone crying in front of me. I would always suggest that people release and cry…as long as it was not in my presence. But this was due to my own issues of control and holding tightly to a life that was a complete and utter facade. I was not living authentically. I was living a life of made up stories and pretending to be happy. I was constantly busy taken care of things, people, and I was the very last thing on my list of things to care for. I was running the universe of a martyr and didn’t even know it. Now when someone cries in my presence I feel honored and humbled for their spirit showing me them…and for allowing me to witness their humanness. I listen. I am able to be in that space without needing to run for cover because I, too, might break down. I cry at a drop of a hat now. It’s not just in movies or reading a novel. I cry at the sight of pain, love, injustice, and the many levels of spirituality I see around others.

We are made to run in packs like wolves. We have tribes and warriors in our lives. We gather in moments of weakness and pain. We rejoice in moments of joy and love. When one person is vulnerable another steps in. If you don’t have this then you need to find your tribe because you aren’t meant to be alone carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders. We are all connected in this place by a thread of humanity through love. I’ve experienced that the more real and open I have become the more folks appear in my tribe group. It’s magnificent to feel the sense of unity even from thousands of miles away.

I have often said that we are the sum of our experiences. We are legends because of each triumph, failure, obstacle, success and connections with one another. Even monks who live in silence have a tribe. We are not meant to be alone in our grief. I have witnessed the love and support from total strangers and reading or listening to their stories allows me to experience life through a different lens. Humanity wants to be heard. We require the sharing of stories, the acknowledgment for our lives, and love without judgment through listening. This is who we are. There’s an urgency to be heard in a world that has turned to technology for connections. There’s an ache to be understood in a time that things are misinterpreted through text, emails, and posts. I am horrible with phone calls. I rather have a person in my presence. I still love handwritten letters and cards and personal emails. I love connecting with others through words. And, I do understand that it’s “old school” but this is a small legacy I can leave behind.

Find your tribe and be grateful for them. When we share among others we see that we are not alone in our stories. Everyone is experiencing something similar. Stopping ourselves from reaching out (because of fear, shame, and embarrassment) is an injustice to our spirits. Loneliness, sadness, despair, and so much more are compositions to our journeys but we can still reach out with our love and feel the comfort of another holding us up. You are not alone. You got this! I love you mucho.

To find our tribe means finding people we can learn from, people who are better at some things than we are, people who have something to teach. We say we want it, but how many of us fear being a beginner more than loneliness and much more than being in the wrong crowd? There is a strange comfort, a sense of safety, to suffering and loneliness. To be happy, to find our family, we must be willing to let that go.” ~Vironika Tugaleva

 You are truly home only when you find your tribe” ~ Srividya Srinivasan

your tribe