Took mom to the airport this morning. It was really tough to say good-bye. I haven’t spent very much time with her in about a year and wasn’t ready to see her leave. Driving home I started thinking about the power of unconditional love, the power of community. My heart was full with my mom’s visit and now I was experiencing a deep sense of loss. Part of it was the freedom and healing of being with this very special person who completely “gets” me, knows what I’m about and accepts me just as I am. This is what we find when we find true community. When we find, as Seth Godin says, our Tribe — that group(s) of people with whom we resonate, connect, enjoy being around. Those who “get” who we are, and who honor and celebrate (or at least accept) who we truly are. Finding such a community can transform our life.
At my brother’s wedding in St. Lucia, we saw a beautiful tribe in action. Omar and Dani were surrounded by their closest friends, they shared the wedding week in celebration and without issues and it was fabulous to see the sweetness, honesty, respect and the beautiful bond between them. It was dazzling and inspiring.
Sometimes we can experience this in our workplace or our office. I’ve worked with amazing creative teams where everyone was working towards a goal and having a blast doing it! Magic happened on the pages of the catalogs … and in people’s hearts. This is not always easy to create in a work environment, but when it is there … that community … that team spirit … that shared vision… it’s a winning combo for the business, the projects, the customers and the staff.
Some of us join religious groups, clubs, sports organizations to experience community — to basically hang out with like-minded people who have a shared purpose — yes, even if that purpose is just “hanging out”. There’s actually great value in that. Great value for our hearts who seek, quite naturally, connection. Great value for our health when we are in community. We may not even notice it, but when we are with our tribe, with our true community, we feel free — free to be who we truly are. Our hearts begin to open, our minds begin to open, we experience a feeling of contentment, and all our cells, neurons, synapses begin to vibrate and work in a harmonious way. Communities can and do heal. The mere fact of being able to talk to someone, a kindred spirit, and share something true from deep within, is immensely healing.
Our modern life in our beautiful country has unfortunately become an exercise in independence, loneliness and isolation for many people. Neighbors don’t relate. People want to be left alone. We have grown suspicious of each other. At the office, many compete rather than collaborate. Instead of customer service and customer empathy, overworked and unappreciated employees adopt attitudes of “us” versus “them”. We have a high standard of living, but a very low standard of true connection. Crises can wake us up momentarily and propel us to action. It’s sad but true that it requires a tragedy for us to see, grieve, hear and commune with each other. To drop the masks and the shields and the suits of armor and be real. And relate from the heart.
Finding a community where we can be seen, heard and be ourselves is a huge gift. Whether it’s our family, whether it’s our spiritual gathering place, whether it’s our office or our neighborhood … we must find it if we want to begin to heal ourselves and in the process help heal our organizations, our relationships and our world.