The dislocation and emasculation experienced by the individual cut free from the familiar and comforting structures of the tribe and the clan, the village and the family. It is the state of modern life.
– Steven Pressfield (The War of Art)
When I read this, I was instantly reminded of a scene from an 80’s movie (adapted from the novel series by Jean Auel) called Clan of the Cave Bear. The scene involves a character named Ayla (Daryl Hannah) who left the Neanderthal tribe that raised her, and set forth into the unforgiving terrain on her own.
Ayla was different than her adoptive tribe members. Most strikingly, she was Cro-Magnon. She was strong willed and often broke rules and clan customs, particularly the taboo against women handling weapons. She tried hard to fit in with the Neanderthals, but she didn’t possess the ancestral memories of their clan and had difficulty learning and relating with them. In Auel’s books, the Neanderthal rarely spoke and possessed limited vocal abilities. They did not laugh, smile, or cry. When Ayla wept, they thought she had an eye disease.
How to be true to yourself, and find your tribe
The archetypical theme and lesson in Ayla’s story is similar to that of the ugly duckling. Not fitting in can be a signal that you have emerging gifts that are unrecognized. Often, when we decide to explore these gifts and live true to them, we may undergo a social transition and period of isolation that can be confusing and frightening, causing us to want to go back to the past, back to the limited and comfortable. As Steven Pressfield referred to it, “the despair of freedom.”
So what can we do to navigate this transition?
Understand a bit about tribal social dynamics. Throughout our lives, most of us will move in and out of many different social groups or tribes. Our groups can be genetic, work based, hobby focused, or even soul family.
The most successful families and tribes evolve together, building on a foundation of common values and commitment. Members naturally fall into helpful leadership roles that forward the group. When change occurs, there is a tension created in the web that connects members. For instance, when a member transforms and shares, ideally, the group adjusts and makes space for the new insight, truth or evolution. In some instances though, if the other members aren’t ready to accept the truth or the change being introduced, the tension can trigger judgment and blame which prevents tribe members from facing their own fears and realizations that surface when relating to the transforming member.
When the group collectively ignores fearful or angry reactions from other members to avoid rocking the boat, the integrity of the entire tribe is sacrificed and the limited reality is locked in place.
There was a study published and shared on all the major news outlets recently that showed that we humans share significantly more DNA with our friends than with strangers. James Fowler, a professor of medical genetics and political science at the University of California at San Diego and co-author of the study, said that the resemblance is about 1% of the genetic markers, like being fourth cousins. This has huge implications for evolutionary theory.
Now looking at this data, you might say that we are unconsciously drawn to friends who are similar to us genetically. You may also consider the possibility that our genes are being altered by our environment–specifically, by interactions with people we are closest to. As Biologist Bruce Lipton put it, ‘Our DNA are the ‘blueprints’ – passed down at birth via genes, but they are not set in concrete. Genes are not destiny! Environmental influences, including nutrition, stress and emotions can modify those genes without changing their basic blueprint. The modifications can be passed on to future generations as surely as DNA blueprints are passed on via the double helix.’
What if your genes can be altered based on the dominant social energy present…for better or worse? There comes a time when you must ask yourself, Do I really want to be a part of this person’s (or group’s) reality? You might just be better declaring your independence, and that transition can be scary.
There are four ways to thrive in the transition.
1.) Acknowledge your feelings and check your perspective.
We all have an emotional navigation system that lets us know when we are on or off track. Loneliness and/or a pervasive feeling of being misunderstood can be linked to limiting beliefs. Root out those limiting beliefs.
After you’ve identified and eliminated outdated beliefs but still find yourself alone, ask yourself, “Am I being of service? Do I convey positive energy?” If not, try to understand why people may keep a distance. Start contributing. Volunteer. Read a book like How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie or the Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale. Focus on YOU and meet your own needs lovingly. It’s time to fill your cup and get ready to overflow.
2) Let go–without pushing away.
Adopt the attitude that there are no toxic people, just toxic dynamics. If you abandon the dynamic, while maintaining loving boundaries and communication, you will be able to catalyze great positive effects in yourself and your circles. I have found that when I ‘sit out a round’, get clear, and focus on living my VALUES, good things happen.
If a person or tribe is meant for us to connect and travel with, nothing can keep us apart for long. Trust that they will re-emerge when the time is right and our values are aligned.
We are pulled to those we have a vibrational match with. When someone leaves our life, it is the perfect time to make the break and connect with those who are a better fit for us. Just let go…if only for now.
3) BE yourSELF and enjoy being with yourSELF!
This is the point at which many of us fall into insecurity and codependence. There is a big difference between lonely and alone. Alone does not carry the emotional charge that lonely carries–often from fear-based limiting beliefs. Alone can be cleansing, resetting and energizing.
In your aloneness: Observe. Transform unhelpful habits. Serve others. Play. Create.
This period can be fun if you fully trust and open yourself to the new energy coming in. Make space by letting go of what is not healthy for you. When you accept and love your purpose and path, awesome people begin to show up.
4) Create a new circle in relation to the truest expression of YOU.
Motivational speaker Jim Rohn said that we each are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. When it comes to relationships, we are greatly influenced by those closest to us. Allow yourself to be pulled toward those you admire and value rather than spending so much time trying to fix or save those in lower vibrational conditions. You may actually have been enabling and and perpetuating those conditions. Those people who will truly be positively affected by you will be inspired by your example, not fixed by your efforts.
Allow yourself the freedom to play with different people and groups. Be a freelancer until you find the tribe that works for you. Because different people and tribes have different rules of engagement and social structures, tread lightly and check out the vibe. If it feels good and makes you feel light and inspired, you have probably found a matching vibration. Go with it. Hang w light-hearted, generous, service focused people and you may find those traits rubbing off on you.
One way to know you’re in the right place: Ease. They get you and your gifts are valued. Embrace those who receive the fullness of your love and those who allow you to receive them. Healthy receiving is all about asking, allowing and welcoming. Who treats you with consideration, enthusiasm and appreciation?
How conscious have you been of who you are spending your time with? Choosing your tribe wisely speeds your evolution. It’s the perfect time to courageously let go of old dynamics to reveal a more potent life. Summon the strength to speak your truth and weather the adjustment phase–in which you may find it’s healthier to be alone than attempt to fit into your old tribe.
As we grow, our identity evolves. Bless the old circles and keep the distance you need to prevent being drawn into the old spirit-dulling dynamics. Be yourself and watch who shows up! When you decide to grow strong and live a high vibration life, you will attract other like-minded people. This new energy creates a brilliant constellation around you and your new tribe emerges.