This weekend I got to spend time with some of my Tribe. These are folks who have travelled The Seeker’s path with me, going to workshops and intensives to learn how to be more conscious and mindful. The four of us who get together in Des Moines for meditation are part of this larger community, called Foundation, as are people all over the country.
It was hard for me at first. It always is when we come together. I’m so used to being solitary, that more than two or three people can be overwhelming. But I can say that to this group, and they hear me. I’m safe with them.
I have history with these particular people, who knew me before electroshock. Some of them hold parts of me I’ve forgotten. Their memories of me are such a gift—like filling in holes with beautiful light. Their prompts help me remember the person I was and, in many ways, still am.
Part of our tradition is to share meals together. Food flows non-stop. Many of us are trying special diets—vegetarian, vegan, Paleo, gluten-free, diets for blood type or a particular illness—so we’re not easy to please. But we always have glorious, delicious meals. It always works.
When we get together, we meditate and we talk. Everyone is engaged, whether we study quantum physics, yoga or sacred dance; whether our lives are settled or are in chaos; whether we lead with our intellect or our heart. Friction happens, which creates the best opportunities for mindfulness. We get to watch how we react to each other and follow those reactions to the source—expectation, judgment, pattern. Then, we discuss all that, too, if we want.
Often, our work together allows personal issues to surface—fears, anxieties, grief. In the safety of the group, we can be vulnerable. We can feel what we feel and be held by the group with compassion and genuine love.
And genuine laughter. I never laugh so hard or as long as when I’m with these folks. Especially when Sandra whips out the Fart App on her phone.
We gain so much from each other—not just the book lists we tend to generate, or the theories we throw around, or the practices we share. We connect and are enriched by the connection. We know each other on a deep level even if we don’t know each other well personally. We really are We.
I drove back and forth from my home in Marshalltown to Des Moines each day, which takes about an hour. While all my friends in Des Moines offered to keep me overnight, I wanted to drive. I knew I’d need time alone to rest after being with a big group, and I wanted to be as functional as possible. Driving home from Barb’s for the last time on Sunday, I felt in my bones that while I may be an introvert and solitary, I’m never alone.