A while back I (Teresa) wrote a series of blog posts on the three “arenas” of love that we are taught in the scriptures to pursue. Loving God is the foundation and overarching principle. Think of it as a love sandwich and God is the bread. The sandwich itself is made up of: love and respect for self (self-care and personal responsibility), love expressed within our intimate relationships, and love of the “we” - our community. My premise in writing was twofold: 1. We need to strive for balance in all three arenas and 2. Each arena serves its own purpose in our lives and when we get those confused we get into trouble relationally.
I think one of the major reasons we struggle to stay connected as a tribe is because we are out of balance. Time and again I observe how often we ask our intimate connections or community to “do for us” that which we are supposed to be taking responsibility for ourselves. When that happens we often end up frustrated with the “other”. We get our feelings hurt. We ask why “they” didn’t love us enough “to do_____”. Are we as willing to turn the question around and ask: “Why don’t I respect myself enough to do____? What is my part in this intimate relationship? How does my presence support the thriving of my community?”
There are a million ways this kind of dysfunction messes with tribe. Maybe we have the opposite problem. Maybe we become needless and wantless, thinking that our job is to give and give and give ourselves away. That’s equally problematical. It is unsustainable. And...it creates imbalance among the tribe, where ideally everyone is doing a little which adds up to a quite lovely and balanced way of living amongst one another.
We have proven by our acceptance of the premise without pushback that we value community but I am not sure we have thoroughly digested what it means to participate in making a community “successful.” I am pretty confident that it doesn’t mean actually succeeding at goals and objectives. I trust that it is more about showing up. Trying. Being kind. Simple and straightforward. So simple and straightforward that we might miss the beauty of it if we are distracted by “success” in all its traditional presentations.
What is your definition of success from a tribal perspective? Is it too focused on what you get out of it? Is it not focused enough on what you need from it? Do you believe it requires that certain objectives are reached? Do we all have to get along? What about the role of conflict within community? Can you handle the inevitable complaints and criticisms that come when a group gathers? Where does forgiveness AND accountability fit into the picture? These are good questions that we must address for ourselves personally, between our intimate connections and within a tribe.