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Individuals, Teams, Tribes, & Communities

I have been swimming in all kinds of thoughts around these things for the past couple of weeks. I’ve been wondering all sorts of things. What are the similarities and the differences in these things? Which one is the right tool for what I’m looking for in the moment? Why in this culture do we romanticize tribes? What have we forgotten about the value and possibly of real community? What did we never know in the first place and is now available to us? I was one of those kids that loved to play the “What If?” Game with my father. 😂

Some of this was sparked by deep grief these past couple of weeks. The loss of a dear aunt, the pain of the world, the lack of capacity of a friend to be in the deeper stories of life, the places that I can see in the world that are blind to others (the cost of wisdom), the changes in who I am now and who I can no longer be, all of this and more has been working me.

One of the things that I have been carrying with me is something my dear friend Rhea said during a conversation with her and Jamie, said, “I want to work with leaders who build tribes not leaders who build teams.” She went on to say that tribes hold one purpose. This made me think about Caroline Myss and her work around archetypes. She was talking about the tribe archetype vs the individual archetype and how they are in tension these days. She goes on to say the light side of the tribe archetype is that it keep traditions, rituals, and ancient knowledge in place and the shadow side of the tribe archetype is that the tribe is not forgiving. And the strength of the individual archetype is that it can find it’s individual genius/purpose in the world and the shadow is that it can forget to consider the tribe.

I believe this tension is trying to teach us about real community, what we have forgotten and something new.  Rhea (in this same conversation goes on to say “A community can hold multiple purposes. You can not build a community because it is an emergent phenomena. Every time you try to build it it fails.” You can create the conditions that support an emergent phenomena but you can’t build one.

This makes me think that maybe a community is a tribe that has learned how to forgive and individuals that have learn how to hold onto themselves while also honoring others in the community.

In a followup conversation Jamie added a piece around money and exhaustion he said, “When a community is exhausted they have nothing to give, there inner resources are depleted.” It struck me because I often speak about how our busyness is violent. This busyness, this exhaustion is one of the things that feeds capitalism. If we live in communities with depleted resources we have to pay for the things we need.

Ok, that’s enough for now. What are your thoughts on this?


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