I believe in people.
I believe in the power of the individual and I believe in the power of the community.
Deeply, I do.
I believe in the power of ideas and the sheer penetrating force of a collective movement toward a higher consciousness. I believe people come together when they are meant to come together by the energy of values and ideals that matter sincerely to them.
This is sacred; this is work; this is precious.
I want to connect and I want to converse. I want to elevate and listen and understand and offer what I have.
And then I want to be left alone to my thoughts and my soul and my creative process so that I can come back again when I’m ready to engage from a centered place of authenticity, strength, clarity, balance and truth.
I believe that is what mindful people do. I believe that is what good artists and leaders and thinkers and spiritual seekers do. They move away from the crowd often enough and with loving affection enough to objectively observe both their individual motives and actions as well as those of the collective.
We forge new ways of looking at the world that are challenging, uncomfortable, uncertain and may or may not leave us on our own for a while.
We may have to be deviant. We may have to go out on a limb. We may need to push back against what’s trendy. We may (if we’re doing it right, we WILL) be called to do things, say things and express things that reject and/or directly oppose the opinions / biases / judgments of others.
And it’s essential to embrace this challenge to go our own way. We must remember that things will change, evolve and progress in ways that we cannot predict but to which we must remain open.
Which is why there is something about the uber- (not that Uber) trendy use / overuse / abuse of the word tribe that makes me want to stand perkily up and walk promptly out of the room.
Never looking back. Never to return.
It’s not because I don’t think we are incredible, gorgeous creatures or that when we gather in the name of something worthwhile it’s not a powerful thing.
We are and it is.
A movement is indeed a powerful thing – possibly The Most Powerful Thing a collection of human minds and spirits could ever manifest – and a movement by definition is a group of like-minded individuals advancing shared ideas and spreading them more broadly into the collective consciousness.
A movement is the elevation of a cause, an idea, a concept.
Which could be a sharp triumph.
Or could be a muddled debacle.
And that latter part there? That debacle part? That’s why the word tribe – the way it is carelessly flung around in the cyber world today – turns me off faster than… I don’t know… black socks with brown sandals (come on, guys, seriously).
Because if we aren’t crystal clear about who or what we are “joining” and why, debacle in some way will surely ensue. No good can come of blindly turning over your voice, your mind, your clarity, or your mission to something you do not thoroughly respect or understand.
Seth Godin’s popularizing of the term tribe (back in 2008) was tremendously insightful in helping us to navigate, appreciate and harness the mechanics of a movement and what it takes to create one.
But insightful and helpful isn’t often what tribe sounds like anymore.
When we hear tribe now (and later today and tonight and again tomorrow and again and again and sweet jesus someone make it stop) it sounds increasingly like a faceless, nameless glob of group-think that roams without eyes, trying to imbibe otherwise wildly fascinating individuals into something that we can no longer understand or recognize.
I’m not convinced that said glob can understand, either.
I’d be more likely to try to understand, though, if people would stop trying to quick-claim me as their tribe and instead would share patiently, clearly, honestly, intelligently and compellingly with me why their movement matters.
And why it’s any different from all the really loud, obnoxious, frenetic, ridiculous, flash-in-the-pan bullshit that folks are trying to sell off as worthwhile “movements” everywhere all the time all over, seemingly for no other reason than to amass a sweaty pile of blinking, stumbling, robotic human beings. (I don’t know why they are sweaty. We probably could have done without that. Sorry, troops.)
These are hyper-social times, you guys. Everybody wants to be seen and heard and understood. Including me, including you. That’s human nature. But that’s also why it is even more important than ever to make sure we are constantly coming home to our own voices and listening to what is our deep truth, so that we are extremely careful and deliberate about who and what we align ourselves with.
We need to have a deeper understanding of what our personal mission and message is in order to effectively stand guard against the noise. What’s that old saying that’s totally cliché and highly irritating? Oh yes: If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for everything. (Yeeeap – still annoying. But true. And, therefore, more annoying.)
People are constantly vying for your attention and your loyalty. They will try everything they can think of to collect you for their own reasons which may or may not be reasons you respect or support.
Do not take this constant contest for your precious attention lightly, warrior babes.
I’m not looking for a tribe; I’m not looking to join one or to build one.
I don’t need any pledges of allegiance.
I don’t think that way.
One of the hairiest (why is everything so gross today?) problems of our time is that far too many gobs of people are numbed into thinking that way.
What goes on in the social realm must remain fluid if it is to remain TRUE. Sticking to a group simply for the sake of sticking to a group (but the hashtag’s so fucking clever, though) holds no inherent value in a creative, dynamic environment.
Look for something much deeper and much broader and much (MUCH) less easily buttoned-up.
Don’t put up any more walls around people or collections of people or – and this is the truly horrific danger – around ideas.
Let’s look for something that takes originality and work and wit and sweat and cunning and doesn’t tie anyone to anything. Something that gains and loses and breathes and is permeable.
“This is the heart of the matter: every leader cares for and supports a movement.”
- Seth Godin from Tribes
I’m for movement. I fully and totally am. That’s why we are here: to move and dismantle and disrupt and build anew. That’s what Glory Begin is all about and that’s where my commitment is: to the movement and evolution of a message. The message that our souls have beautiful secrets they need expressed and our art is how we express them.
My commitment is to delving into the mystery and importance of creativity and spirituality and giving these ideas a place to grow and evolve. People will come and people will go (trust: I can hear a few of them going now even as I type this thing).
The only way to develop these ideas in an authentic way is to stay true to my own voice, in my own way, in my own time, in the privacy of this mind that I will strengthen and protect on my own.
We don’t need more empty cheering or more nontent (because that’s a thing, tragically) or more numbers.
We need more substance and more depth. We need more of the time and care and work it takes to truly develop loving worldviews that advance us not toward some kind of distorted attempt at mass domination but toward the freedom to expand into the full breadth of who we are.
Individually. And together.
So call me your soul sister. Call me your fellow spirit warrior.
If you are feeling particularly valiant (you slick beast): look me in the eyes, accept me exactly where I am and call me Allison Marie.
Just don’t come along for a hot minute and call me tribe.
Not unless you’re damn sure what you stand for.
And that you know exactly what kind of unshakable love, courage and commitment it would take to stand for me.
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