Just Don’t Call Me Tribe

dont tribe gb

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.

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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.

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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.

Enough.

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.”

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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34 thoughts on “Just Don’t Call Me Tribe

  1. Samira

    Beautiful. Beautiful. Beautiful. So perfectly written – You blow me away every time! Love you gorgeous grrl 💜 Beautiful Allison Marie 😘✌🏼️💜

    Reply
  2. scot

    you are part of a unique part of society and your writings show how proud you are for having your own thoughts, opinions, ideals… after reading this, a word, an old one came to me, bandwagon… being a part of something that’s in, or popular at the moment because it popular. there’s nothing wrong with this, on a basic level, but its hollow and lacks conviction or any credence, in the grand scheme of life.

    Many people need to be part of something, hence the whole social media thing where everyone needs to know everything that your doing 24/7 or so you or they think so.
    your writings are spiritual/open/refreshing… and your own… cherish this everyday…

    Reply
    1. Allison Marie Post author

      Thank you for reading, engaging and taking the time and care to leave such a beautiful, thoughtful comment. I am so grateful for it and I’m glad this one resonated for you.
      I fully appreciate and cherish your thoughts on this. We all need each other indeed. May we shine and share the best way we know how with one another.
      Thank you again and I wish you much peace and strength. Always. :)

      Reply
  3. Deborah

    I think this is one of your best blogs I have read. Honest (as always); perceptive and passionate! Thanks for taking the time to provide us with a provocative and meaningful post. Came at a great time.

    Reply
    1. Allison Marie Post author

      Hello, hello Deborah,
      Thank you so much for taking the time to engage and leave such a perfect comment. It means so much to me! I am truly grateful to know this one served you so well – that is always, always my sincere intention. And knowing the timing was spot on, well, that’s just beautiful!

      As are you.

      Stay fierce, my friend. :)

      Reply
  4. Olaf N

    Thank you Allison for this nice blog post. Very good read and I like to be barefoot in sandals best.

    So true that our tribe is nothing solid state, the tribe is a flexible, changeable and evolving construct. Live it don’t be forced into one. Very well written and enjoyable. Thank you, I feel honored.

    Reply
    1. Allison Marie Post author

      Hello, hello Olaf,
      Welcome and thank you so much for engaging and taking the time to leave such a thoughtful comment! I am truly grateful to hear your thoughts – barefoot is lovely! :)
      “The tribe is flexible” – what an absolutely gorgeous thing to say. Namaste, my friend. Thank you for your presence and light. I feel honored as well.
      Much peace to you, always,
      Allison

      Reply
  5. Marta Stemberger

    Thank you, Allison, for a another wonderful article. I truly appreciate you taking on the term “tribe” and shedding some light on the current use and abuse of it. Deeply appreciated.

    Reply
    1. Allison Marie Post author

      My beautiful friend, Marta,
      These words coming from you mean so very much, truly, deeply. I’m honored and so happy to have your presence, light and engagement here in this space.
      Thank you for taking the time and care. The pleasure is mine! Blessings and light, always.

      Reply
  6. Anonymous

    yes! I don’t know why its so ‘difficult’ for people to Be Them Selves. People have their Own Voice to share; and, mimics – do not contribute anything new to share.
    Its too bad ‘tribe’ has been polluted. I like the word and have always used it, but only in the context of my close family. Not as part of some trend/fad, cult, or following the sheep Herd.
    great post Allison :) cheers, Debi

    Reply
    1. Allison Marie Post author

      Hello hello dear Debi,

      Thank you so much for your awesome comment – I love it when something resonates that’s the BEST.

      I totally feel you. And words are just words, of course, and tribe isn’t ruined in and of itself. I think it’s just a matter of what you actually mean when you say it. If you really mean you are ride or die for certain people then hey, I have mad respect for that all day long. But don’t throw big words about loyalty around if you don’t actually mean them. There’s something disrespectful, dishonest about that, right.

      Thank you for reading and engaging and being so damn gorgeous, my thoughtful friend. ;)

      Cheers! X

      Reply
  7. Liesl Garner

    This is important to me in so many ways. I value you putting words to it.

    I have been on the outside of groups, wishing to be at the banquet table, pretending to share something they all say they have so I can join in, and then quickly wanting to retreat again to back outside, in the cold, with the silence of the snow, looking in at all the sparkling dishes and bright colors and enjoying the beauty of it without having to sit with all those people. Part of what I must love is the longing, and the lingering outside the painted window, looking in, and the ability to sit with my own thoughts and my own feelings and stare off in space in my own time.

    Just last night, as I was making the coffee up for this morning, the thought struck me that I have not been governed by joy, but by fear all my life. It was a quick little thought that needs more exploration, but I thought, that’s why I panic, that’s why I am anxious, that’s why I worry over my kids sometimes instead of just sitting back and enjoying them.

    Part of the fear was placed there by early introduction and induction into a tribe – to a church – to group-think. Part of the fear is always present in What Will People Think of Me? I am a grown freaking woman, and I still worry about disappointing my parents.

    I feel like I keep shedding these layers of what has caused so much pain, and I keep finding more wrappings that need to go. Belonging is a problem. Wanting to conform to be a part – to be worthy of being considered One Of the Tribe – has been so damaging to me.

    I hope it doesn’t bother you that your words end up dovetailing with thoughts I’m having and I drop morsels of them here to hash out later in my own heart. You get things started sometimes, or they burble more to the surface after reading your bright, sparkling view of them.

    You awaken a desire in me for so much more freedom of expression than I currently possess. I ache to be able to be Me totally and completely, with all my flaws accepted and embraced, and regardless of whether I meet the approval of a group. And yet I am a member of a few. They have taken up residence in my soul, and parts of me still love parts of them. What a mess this seems at times. The conflict to love and let go, the both, side by side.

    Thank you for giving me even more to contemplate, Dear Vibrant Mind! Your freedom gives me pause to address my own chains, and I wonder who is keeping me in them these days, myself or others?

    Reply
    1. Allison Marie Post author

      My gorgeous, beautiful brave friend.

      Please do not think in any way that you EVER bother me. Quite the exact opposite, beloved. I read through your comment and was stuck by just how deeply you went and I honor your presence and your process. There is nothing more I could hope for than to simply provide a space, a sanctuary of sorts, where you can flesh thoughts, feelings, hurdles, A-HAs! and bits of inspiration out.

      You really cut into something so eloquently when you said this (I am beyond grateful, dear one): “Belonging is a problem. Wanting to conform to be a part – to be worthy of being considered One Of the Tribe – has been so damaging to me.” I witness this. I know exactly what kind of soul-searching it takes to be able to even recognize this. Bless you. Reading your thoughts always resonates with a part of my spirit that seeks to fly higher, it is a gorgeous thing.

      I once read an article that a dear friend recommended to me about a certain kind of empathetic person who may truly never find their “tribe” whatever that means. I think we need to be okay with this. Because the danger is in preaching that you need to fit in, above all else. That is the damage and it’s painful and unnecessary, I believe.

      Seek to love, above all else. That may mean something different for you (and I and so many others) but different is okay. Different can be rich and it can be a gift. Love is freedom. Anything that feels like punishment or chains or a restriction on who or what you are “allowed” to be is not love.

      You took my breath with this line: “The conflict to love and let go, the both, side by side.” My soul sister, I thank you for your willingness and your openness and your raw search. Stay close to you and love will reveal the rest. I read a quote in my readings this morning and wanted to share this with you, as you mentioned being “grown” and I understand how that feels – sometimes I feel like I should be farther along than I am. I was feeling that way when I came across this in ACIM:

      “Time is kind, and if you use it on behalf of reality (meaning: love as the “real”) it will keep gentle pace with you in your transition.” Time is on your side, angel. We are exactly where we need to be. It’s all good, it’s all love, it’s all healing.

      You are such a damn BEAUTY, Liesl! From inside and outside and every side of every side. Xxx

      Reply
    2. randyjw

      Just an outsider looking in… On the special person who would write such special thoughts. I think you’re voicing reality for the fragility of all of us. Anyways, I see what Allison sees — a beautiful person there.

      Reply
      1. Allison Marie Post author

        I hope you guys don’t mind my jumping in here because I really do not want to get in the way of your absolutely beautiful exchange. but may I just say that I feel beyond blessed to be witness to the lights you are. Liesl is one of THE BRIGHTEST lights in our world and to have you come along and highlight that, randy, is literally warming my bones. Love and light in this place, you guys. This is the stuff. x

        Reply
    1. Allison Marie Post author

      RAJ!! My sweet, beloved soul brother,

      How I have missed you and your presence and your beautiful name for me. :) You bring so much light, thank you. And with your comment here you have captured my heart. I am not a tribe, and that you understand that blesses me so deeply, deeply. Thank you. Effulgence. . . my heavens, I am weak in the knees! I always love your words.

      Bless you, dear one, may we shine may we shine may we shine. Xxx Tejaswini

      Reply
  8. Darshith Badiyani

    Sorry for being late.

    Hey, Allison, this is great! The word ‘Tribe’ in itself speaks volumes of similar thoughts in which you are a part because you want to & you choose to. No one’s forced you to be in it. You’re great <3 I wasn't able to come sooner :D How was #11? I will check the mail ;)

    Love & hugs & smiles,
    Darshith

    Reply
    1. Allison Marie Post author

      Hello hello my beloved friend!

      I am so happy to see you here. :) Of course, I am glad you enjoyed this article, I truly hope it serves you well.

      You are great, too, friend. Talented and kind and warm and insightful. I am truly grateful. I am VERY curious to hear what you think of the gifts I sent you in the email on the 11th . . . I look forward to your thoughts!

      Much love always,

      Allison X

      Reply
    1. Allison Marie Post author

      What a gorgeous and awesome thing to say, my friend. Bless you. I am so honored to have you here – let us do celebrate! I am thrilled you enjoy the poetry. I honestly don’t know where it comes from or where it’s headed but it is the best to know you enjoy it. Thank you SO MUCH for your light. Sat Nam, friend. :)

      Reply
    1. Allison Marie Post author

      Hello Plamen,

      Thank you so much for reading and taking the time to leave a beautiful comment. I am so grateful.

      I will, I promise! :)

      Peace to you, my friend,

      Allison

      Reply
  9. Anonymous

    I like the post’s title. It immediately says don’t box me in. You articulated your case well. Thanks for your visit and liking Delight Night.

    Reply
    1. Allison Marie Post author

      Thank you so much, I am really glad this one resonated for you.

      It was my pleasure. And thank you, too, for taking the time to engage.

      Peace to you,

      Allison

      Reply
  10. Amaya

    Hi Allison,
    Even though I wasn’t aware of the overuse and deconstruction of the word/concept “tribe,” I agree with what you said about people striving to be part of something bigger than themselves and that they are vulnerable of losing their voices and becoming ideologies. This is actually a major theme of my writing because I find it especially pertinent today when social media threatens to drown out the true, outlying voices and showcase the “flash-in-the-pan bullshit.”

    Reply
    1. Allison Marie Post author

      Hey Amaya,

      I am so fully and deeply touched by your comment – thank you SO MUCH for taking the time to engage. Everything you say resonates with me and especially this which you express so perfectly: ” . . people striving to be part of something bigger than themselves and that they are vulnerable of losing their voices and becoming ideologies.”

      I am thrilled to the bone that this is a major theme of your writing. It is brave and so deeply important. I believe it takes a strong soul to say what she actually believes in these hyper social times. Knowing you are out there doing your gorgeous thing warms me and keeps me going. Thank you much for that.

      Rock on, sister soul!

      Reply

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