Tribal Growth

I spent last Thurs-Sunday at Tribal Convergence, a “bi-annual gathering of Visionary Leaders from diverse regional conscious communities coming together as one Human Family to cultivate right relationships between ourselves, each other, and the Earth.”

(photo by Nick Heyming)

It was a challenging weekend.
I was outside of my comfort zone and it was good for me.

Before I went, I felt I had things to share: whether Hug Nation ideas or 1st Saturdays experiences.
But I was nervous, too. I am ignorant in many of the areas that the conference would discuss, like perma farming and community eco-living.
Since I have been feeling a call towards sustainability, I knew it was important to overcome my insecure feelings and go.

I walked in with a glowing heart and intended to give myself to the experience.
I was quickly in new territory.
And new rituals.
There was a way of interaction that I was not used to.
More participatory, perhaps? People would say, “Aho!” after a speaker’s statements. And people expressed all sorts of hand gestures that appeared to be intended to receive or give energy & attention.
Breath and sound were a part of most things – sometimes dramatically.
I witnessed the new age equivalent of “speaking in tongues” many times over the weekend.
I don’t say that as judgement.
But it did challenge me.
Even as I enjoyed a speaker or exercise, I would see people experiencing it in such dramatic ways that it made me question my own experience.
Clearly I am not feeling this in the same way.

It became evident to me that my connection with nature paled in comparison to most of the attendees. The group was filled with people who had made life choices to put them amongst trees…I had hired a gardner to deal with my yard.

When I spoke with people one on one, I was always struck by the immense love. I felt incredible openness and connection. It was a remarkable group of people.
Even so, I felt a bit like I didn’t belong. Or at least as though I should do more listening than speaking. Which I did.

This humility was good for me. I was quiet, I listened. I was introspective.
At times my self-judgement got pretty harsh as I saw people so free with their voice & body expression. There was a dance circle saturday night that people entered and boogied one by one. It was not a chance to show-off, it was just joyous expression that the crowd cheered – no matter what. I did not dance – even as I got chance-after-chance to answer the call, “Who hasn’t been in the middle, yet?”

On Friday and Saturday nights they had “Tribe Talks” which were sort of like TED talks. 10 minute slots where anyone could sign up to share a project or idea. I did a compressed Hug Nation Saturday night and had a blast.
Apparently the person I was on stage contrasted significantly with the person I had been the last few days. A facilitator said after I spoke, “I had no idea you were so dynamic.” Heh.

I’m still processing the experience. Trying not to judge myself too harshly – but still being honest.
My romantic thoughts of buying land have dwindled. (My love of restaurants is too great. And my dislike of food prep and manual labor remains strong.)

I am more deeply aware of my body disconnect. I hope to integrate more yoga and breath work in my future path.

Or not. But I am aware that my mind & spirit are more developed than my body.

Maybe some day I will feel like I am peers with the people of Tribal Convergence. Or maybe not. Either way I have learned from them and deeply appreciate who they are in the world. I feel grateful for the time spent and admire their paths. Now it is up to me to figure out what to do with this reflection.


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