Time For A New Tribe? When to Leave Outdated Alliances For a Truly Supportive Community

Time For A New Tribe? When to Leave Outdated Alliances For a Truly Supportive Community

Photo Credit: Hanna Busing, Unsplash

Do you feel as if you’ve outgrown your circle of friends? Perhaps you do not feel safe or understood any longer. There may be fewer and fewer things you can share with people in your habitual circle, and it leaves you feeling lonely or isolated. If so, you are not alone. Welcome to one of the core dynamics of continuous growth!

As we continue to evolve, many of us struggle with a sense of not quite fitting in with our traditional community or tribe: we may have expanded or changed beyond the borders of tribal norms, and no longer find the same sense of belonging there. Other members may have tightened the tribal rules to foster a sense of security. As a result, we may feel a sense of disconnection or alienation.

In truth, each one of us belongs to many tribes simultaneously: there is your original tribe – the family you were born into – and then there are all the communities of choice you have joined: your work tribe, your social circles, your faith-based community, your neighborhood, and more. These communities are not static; they are in continuous flux because they consist of individuals who are in continuous states of change. When there is a lot of change happening in either the individual or the community, a sense of dissonance results.

How are we to deal with this? First, it is important to recognize that tribal allegiances were historically forged for survival. They were adapted over the course of centuries to ensure the safety and survival of the group. Survival required that individuation be sacrificed for the trade-off of security.

In modern society, the tables are flipped. Whether we enjoy it or not, change is essential for survival at every level of being. The pace of change is driven by technological advances and happens with increasing rapidity: sociologists estimate that more change has taken place in society over the course of the past 100 years, than in the totality of the previous 6,000 years. Individual adaptation now is a requirement for survival, and the pace of individual change does not always match the pace at which our various tribal communities evolve. The resulting dissonance can cause intense friction and pain.

Dissonance also results from confusion between the concepts of ‘connection’ and ‘community.’ We tend to equate one with the other, when they really relate to different qualities. Connection relates to connectivity: the objective physical technology or media that enables us to build community, but which does not represent the quality of that community. Connectivity simply offers the opportunity to connect with others through internet, texting, phone calls, or any other social networking options.

Community is the result of building relationship through meaningful interaction over time. There is no shortcut; it is a process that develops when bonds of trust and intimacy are nurtured and honored.

And here lies a caveat: When we confuse connectivity with community, we depersonalize the sacred nature of true community and start relating to people as objects. Instead of developing intimacy over time, we collect friends on social network sites or try to buy people’s allegiance. Yet friending is simply an act of connecting; it does not create intimacy.

In fact, social experiments indicate that technologically dominated connectivity results in alienation and social collapse over time. In a groundbreaking social experiment conducted by Josh Harris, one of the founders of social networking on the internet, he found that the more people’s private lives were exposed by 24/7 technology, the more their sense of intimacy and relationship deteriorated until the community collapsed in violence and self-destructive behavior.

It is time to revisit our concepts of community so we can create tribes that offer a true sense of intimacy and belonging.

In his 1987 book, The Different Drum: Community Making and Peace, psychologist M. Scott Peck described several core characteristics of true community. Beyond the obvious components of inclusivity, commitment and participatory consensus, Peck pointed out the quality of embracing diversity through realism. When each member contributes their unique viewpoint from a place of humility and goodwill, the community benefits from a broader perspective in which to better grasp the full context of a situation. In other words, mutual tolerance helps members to embrace one another’s different viewpoints as an integral part of the whole, instead of imposing a forced compliance to groupthink or cohesion.

In an environment like this, members experience and express compassion and respect for one another. They allow others to share their vulnerability, to learn and grow, and to express who they truly are. When conflict arises, they learn to resolve it with wisdom and grace. Members listen to and respect each others’ gifts, accept each others’ limitations, celebrate their differences, and commit to find solutions together rather than to fight against each other. Indeed, the true spirit of community is the spirit of peace, love, wisdom and power. The source of this spirit may be seen as an outgrowth of the collective self or as the manifestation of a Higher Will.

Does this description of community sound spiritual to you? It is indeed, because Spirit is the common denominator among all of us, regardless of how separate we feel from others.

As human beings, we often experience a socio-economic sense of separation from others because of different opinions, beliefs, expectations, language, culture, or interests, since each one of us expresses these in a way uniquely different from anyone else. And still, we continue to differentiate! In this ongoing process, we continue to evolve or devolve in response to life. A community that felt like a good fit last year may no longer work today; the places where we felt embraced, now may suffocate us. Over the course of a lifetime, we can expect to outgrow and change allegiances to many of the tribal communities we once belonged to.

And yet, when we transcend the layers of physical appearance, mental beliefs and socio-economic conditioning, we find in the presence of Spirit a common denominator in everyone around us. Perhaps it is time to expand our tribal definitions to embrace a spiritual community that includes all of mankind as children of God.

Mother Teresa admonished her nuns to see Jesus in every leper they encountered, to find His presence as they looked into the eyes of the homeless. When we can look past the issues that divide us to find omnipresent Divinity in each other, we will uncover the foundations of true community.

Spiritual community transcends all socio-economic borders, beliefs and backgrounds. It is inclusive because it operates on voluntary self-responsibility and mutual compassion, and its doors are open to everyone.

Building this type of community takes time: time to listen, to hear, to respond and to participate. Take a few moments to read the description of spiritual community again. Then, make time in your life to foster that type of connection with people who matter to you. You are one of the architects of community in your life, and you can participate in building a tribe where you belong.

©Copyright Ada Porat. This article may be freely distributed in whole or in part, provided there is no charge for it and this notice is attached. Ada Porat is an energy kinesiologist & pastoral counselor with extensive international teaching & clinical experience. She uses body/mind/spirit techniques to help clients make optimal life choices. For more information, visit https://AdaPorat.com

Ten Truths To Empower You Right Now

Ten Truths To Empower You Right Now

Living your best life is all about making the most with what you have right now. Clearing the cobwebs from old, limiting thinking can be a great way for you to shine. Here are ten truths to challenge limiting beliefs and empower you so you can make the most of your life now:

1.Nobody knows why anybody does anything – and it doesn’t matter.

You don’t have to figure out why your neighbor ignores you or what happened to someone as a child to make her so mean. We humans are products of both our nature and our nurture – most of the time, we do things simply because we can. Trying to figure out why keeps us stuck in the past, so stop the over-analysis. Let it go, be here now and don’t take things personally!

2. Nobody owes you a thing.

Life is a precious gift, not an entitlement. You could never repay the time, love and support it took to get where you are today: loved ones, teachers and peers believed in you, challenged you and pushed you to become who you are. So, the real question is not what you can get from life, but what you are giving back in return.

3. You’ll be balanced when you’re dead…

Not a moment sooner! We chase balance like the Holy Grail, but it is the very cyclical nature of change that adds momentum to life. If you’re passionate about something, you may well want more of it in your life, so go for it. Your kids won’t turn into losers if you miss a few softball practices, so ease up on yourself. Learn to surf the waves of change with inner equilibrium instead.

4. Multi-tasking is an oxymoron.

Don’t be intimidated by people who do five things at once. Studies show that we don’t actually do more than one thing at a time – we simply switch our attention rapidly between projects, and we compromise on the quality of our output. Would you feel comfortable with a surgeon who juggles performing your surgery while texting and making phone calls? Choose to be masterfully present with one thing at a time instead of trying to be a jack of all trades, and you will ultimately be more effective.

5. You don’t deserve anything you have.

If in doubt, go back to #2. Entitlement is really unattractive. No matter how hard you’ve worked or planned, it is delusional to think that you are in complete control of the outcomes. God, circumstance, the actions of others, and timing all play big parts in your success, so skip the entitlement and practice gratitude for what life brings.

6. You’re ordinary. 

Relax, it’s a compliment! Ordinary people are reliable, industrious and consistent. Superstars often lose their inner freedom to the demands of fame, especially when their egos take over. Who would you rather call at 2 AM when your car breaks down – Tony Robbins or your brother-in-law?

7. You’re not a victim; you’re a volunteer.

The old saying that nobody can take advantage of you without your permission is true. We teach people how to treat us. If you don’t want something to happen anymore, don’t set it up in the first place. You change your life by changing yourself first.

8. You’re right. Life isn’t fair.

Life is more random that we could have ever imagined! It is also interesting and instructive when you keep an open mind, for it is from the seemingly random dynamics of change, that miracles emerge and possibilities show up.

9. There is no perfect time.

There is no place where time stands still and standards are lowered to keep you in your comfort zone. At any point in time there are only three things present: you, and life, and this very moment. What you make of this present moment, is up to you. What are you doing with your life right now?

10. Gratitude is next to Godliness.

Cleanliness is way down the list!  I have yet to encounter someone at the end of life regretting the dust on their furniture or the stains on their windows… but many regret the opportunities for gratitude they passed up. Eckhart Tolle puts it this way: “Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.” Look for things you can be grateful for and you will be amazed at how many more blessings show up.

About The Author:

©Copyright Ada Porat. For more information, visit https://adaporat.com. This article may be freely distributed in whole or in part, provided there is no charge for it and this notice is attached.

Empath Survival: Five Steps For Balanced Giving and Receiving

People are often shocked to discover they are empathic. They simply never questioned their ability to sense what is going on inside others, or their innate ability to take care of those around them.

The empath’s natural compassion, generosity, and caring are wonderful traits—the world would be a better place if more people dared to care for others in this way. As Maya Angelou put it: “I think we all have empathy. We may not have enough courage to display it.”

At the same time, empathic tendencies can backfire when not properly balanced. Spending all one’s energy taking care of others leaves empathic people feeling depleted and unsupported. This can lead to a negative spiral of give, give, give… until you give up!

While navigating human relationships is a lifelong task for everyone, empathic people can make things easier on themselves by understanding a few core principles:

  1. Differentiate between empathy and compassion

Empathy without boundaries leads to overwhelm and burnout. Empathic people often feel the pain and emotions of others, yet feel helpless about what they can do about it. They simply take on more and more of these emotions until they are overwhelmed. This self-destructive behavior leads to incapacitation and disempowerment for both the troubled person and the empath that picks up on their emotion.

Compassion, on the other hand, feels the deep emotion of others without taking it on personally. Compassion allows a person to recognize the emotion or pain of another, and then to consider possible actions that could be taken to render a helpful service to the other.

Compassion may lead the empathic person to say a simple prayer for the other, or to give them words of encouragement without personally taking on their emotion. At times, compassion may even guide the empathic person to recognize that there is nothing to be done about a situation, and thus to gently disconnect from it.

  1. Distinguish between service and sacrifice.

There is a fundamental difference between service and sacrifice that is critical for success. Empathic people often think that service entails self-sacrifice, and because they are so caring, they end up giving more than is healthy.

Service and sacrifice are not the same thing—service focuses on the value others get from us, whereas sacrifice describes what we give up for others.

If you come from a limited viewpoint, you may think that others can only receive when you give something up. But sacrifice is not a requirement for service! When you smile at somebody, the other person can receive joy from that smile without it taking anything away from you—in fact, it will typically lift your spirits too!

In fact, sacrifice happens when service is pushed beyond the limits of healthy boundaries. If we are to be effective in our service to others, we absolutely need to be mindful of honoring our own boundaries so we can be of service without sacrificing our own needs.

Empathic people especially need to learn how to take care of themselves first, so that they can have the energy and stamina to take care of others. This will help them focus on true service rather than sacrifice.

You can tell you’ve sacrificed yourself for another when it leaves you with less—less energy, less motivation, less happiness. This often leads to resentment later.

In contrast, when you’ve acted in the spirit of true service, you’ll have a sense of more afterwards- more satisfaction, more connection, more love, and more alignment to your purpose.

  1. Learn how to balance polar opposites.

Polarity refers to the relationship between two opposites that are interdependent. Caring for self and caring for others are two sides of such a polarity.

Balance is key here. It’s impossible to focus on only one pole and expect it to go well. If we only give to others and ignore the need for self-care, we will ultimately burn out and become a lot less fun to be with. Likewise, avoiding the polarity of self-care, will cause the polarity of care for others to suffer as well.

When we learn to balance the polarities in our lives by giving both poles adequate and equal attention, we avoid burnout.

  1. Stay open to receive from others.

Most empathic people become so overwhelmed by the energy drains they experience when they are surrounded by people whom they see as takers that they will look for ways to avoid interaction with others. As a result, they may not allow themselves to receive much from other people even though receiving is very different than taking.

Empaths are essentially givers, and while this is a beautiful intention, giving without receiving is imbalanced and eventually becomes unsustainable. When we limit the amount of support we receive, we also limit what we can give to others. In contrast, receiving support from others can help us become much more effective at giving.

Empathic people need to work at finding balance between receiving and giving. This may require asking for help, receiving support and letting go of the idea that you have to do everything by yourself.

  1. Learn to say “no.”

We all have a limited amount of time in our days. Learning how to make space for the truly important things in each day is critical—and one way to do that is through the power of saying “no.”

Empathic and service-oriented people typically dislike saying no. And yet, learning to say “no” to the distractions in life, will free up precious time and energy for the things that truly matter.

My rule of thumb is simple: Say “yes” when you can do so with a happy heart, and learn to say “no” without guilt. This will ensure that you stay aligned with your core values, your purpose and your inner balance.

Being empathic can be a great gift—and great gifts tend to come with equally great responsibility. When you learn how to temper, channel and protect this gift, you will be able to enjoy the enrichment it offers.

About the author

©Copyright Ada Porat. For more information, visit https://adaporat.com. This article may be freely distributed in whole or in part, provided there is no charge for it and this notice is attached.

Individuation: Its Cost and Benefits

Human beings are strange and miraculous creatures.  From our first moment in life we hurtle toward uniqueness and individuation. We seek it out individuation at all cost, yet this sense of individuation comes at a price: for every door we step through, any number of others are closed.  We become who we are at the expense of who we are not.

Recognizing there is a cost to every path we choose and coming to terms with that, is not easy. Before we reach acceptance, we often resent the circumstances of our lives; we resist the limitations on our path and focus on what is lacking. We define ourselves by what we are not, and this leads to envy, resentment, anger and bitterness.

Once we accept the process and price of individuation, we can turn toward gratitude instead. We give thanks for the miracle of life and all it has brought us. We are humbled by blessings and double our efforts to build upon it, using our lives as vehicles to enrich the tapestry of humanity.

We learn to accept our brilliance with humility and to forgive our shortcomings with grace. We learn to respect our dreams, acknowledge our fears and measure ourselves against a simple standard: how we conduct ourselves to leave a living legacy for generations that will follow. Instead of envying what others have, we celebrate in them the gifts and blessings not present in ourselves, because we know their unique gifts are not threats to be envied, but gifts that offer wholeness and diversity to our world.

At times, we may look back and think our lives have turned out to be less than we dreamed of. We may even stumble or fall along life’s path. This is not a crime. The crime is in refusing to get up and continue, or failing to embrace others who have fallen in their own way.

We will probably never be as good or worthy as we wish to be. Yet if we can forgive ourselves for our failures, we find grace to forgive others theirs. Ultimately, it sets us free to make the most with what we have.

When I think of the life I have been blessed with, I am humbled beyond words. I could never have imagined this life at the start. Its unique unfolding is a miracle, a treasure of unexpected grace. Though I am not what I once thought I should be, I am more than I might have hoped for. The landscape of my life fills me with immense gratitude.

Today, I know that I will never be a wealthy philanthropist who can eradicate poverty and disease on a national scale, or a mother surrounded by extended family, or even a mystic leading a life of pure spiritual consciousness unencumbered by the cares of the world.

But I do know that I am blessed. I am privileged to touch and transform many lives one by one; my path allows me to offer nurturing and love to all my relations, human or otherwise; and I get to walk between the worlds of spirit and earth, nature and society, where I can help restore health, harmony and hope.

I am honored to play a part in healing the world we live in by making the most of the gifts and opportunities I do have. It is my way of giving thanks for the miracle of life.

About the author

©Copyright Ada Porat. For more information, visit https://adaporat.com. This article may be freely distributed in whole or in part, provided there is no charge for it and this notice is attached.

Authentic Living Brings Peace, Joy and Power

I write about peace, joy and power not because I have mastered it, but because these qualities are the hallmarks of authentic living. As such, I am always learning how to bring more of these qualities into my own life.

Living authentically requires us to practice what we teach: to the degree that I am able to live from my core of harmony and truth, I am able to help others discover these qualities in their lives also.

Along the way, I’ve come to realize that living authentically – from one’s core –  brings true peace, joy and power; it defines who we become, and is not something we simply acquire.

The profound sense of peace that comes from authentic living far exceeds the temporary high of shopping, distractions, entertainment or other forms of pleasure. While physical distractions and activities can bring a temporary sense of happiness, it can never compensate for the lack of inner bliss that pervades so much of western society.

Authentic living means something much deeper. It means living life in harmony with your inner value system; becoming still enough to listen to the Inner Voice that guides you; and if needs be, to march to a different drum than that which drives the marketplace. Authentic living also means acting from a place and in a way that nourishes and respects your body, mind and spirit continuously.

Authentic living requires you to align your life with your core values and beliefs so that your actions become congruent with your truth. It asks of you to make choices that align your external actions with your soul’s ultimate purpose at any given time, choosing to do what energizes and renews you from the inside out. It means owning your  inner truth, so that your outer life becomes transformed by that inner wellspring of life.

As you start aligning your actions, choices, and behaviors with your inner truth, something magical happens: it triggers a release of authentic personal power that may have been long dormant. You’ll become ever more aware of a deep inner Presence that brings peace, joy and harmony to every area of your life.

Sharing the way to this blissful space is my passion. And yes, you can live from this space, too!

All human beings have spiritual thirst: we desire to connect with our inner truth; we want to tap deep into the inner well of sacred power and joy that we may know about but don’t quite know how to reach.

Finding this place requires you to make space for spirituality in your life. It may call for some serious spiritual and emotional housecleaning. You may have to clean out old beliefs and behaviors, getting rid of mental clutter and self-destructive habits that linger in the forgotten corners of your life.

The results of authentic living, personal transformation and inner bliss will be worthwhile in every way!

The process will gradually redefine how you see life, yourself and others. You’ll find yourself able to let go of what others may think to cultivate more authenticity. It will help you establish healthy boundaries, while opening up the way for you to live from your authentic inner power.

Over time, you’ll find your perspective shifting from self-judgment to healthy self-respect. Aligning with this power will fill your life with the bliss of living authentically from your true core – and loving it.

In you search for peace, joy and power, remember you were created to play big, not small. Playing big is your inherent birthright as a soul. Spirit is always ready to heap on you all the bliss you can stand, but you need to make space for it in your life.

Why not let go of things that don’t serve you and create space for authentic living now, so you can enjoy that inner peace and power!

About The Author
©Copyright Ada Porat. For more information, visit https://adaporat.com. This article may be freely distributed in whole or in part, provided there is no charge for it and this notice is attached.

Twelve Steps To Simplify Your Life

Ever wish that you could simplify your life by tuning down the daily stress to find more balance? If so, you’re not alone.

Stress is a destructive by-product of modern life that can wreak havoc at many levels. It can corrode your health, your work performance, your relationships and your well-being until you break down at your weakest link.

Add to that the bad habit of juggling too many commitments while being bombarded by a steady stream of social media, email, advertising and other forms of energetic spam, and it can turn downright nasty. Simply too much information!

No wonder that large numbers of people are joining the voluntary simplicity movement, recognizing how simple living can help alleviate tension-related symptoms such as insomnia, nervousness, anxiety, neck and shoulder spasms and even chronic fatigue.

Now, I’m not advocating that you quit your day job to go live on Walden Pond, but there are ways that you can simplify your life and reduce stress.

If you want to reduce stress in your life, you absolutely need to limit the amount of information you expose yourself to. Being swamped by stimuli does not improve quality of life; it simply causes more stress.

We can all use more simplicity in our lives. From decluttering our closets to weeding out the vampires and energy drains in our lives, an effective approach requires that we address these forms of clutter at all levels: body, mind and spirit.

Here are a few ideas that can help you simplify your life so you’ll have more time to smell the roses:

  1. Set the appropriate tone for your day. Create a morning routine that influences the rest of your day in a positive manner. Enjoy your morning cuppa outside in nature, start your day with meditation, or do some devotional reading. You will reap the results of peace and calm throughout your day.
  2. Decide what is most important to you. When you are clear on the important things in your life, it becomes easier to say no to the random demands that may be well-intentioned, but conflict with what’s truly important. Prioritize by acting on the most important things first each day before you assign remaining time and energy to other demands.
  3. Learn to say no without guilt. Over-extending yourself complicates your life. Learn to say ‘no’ when you are unable to accommodate demands with a happy heart, and you will find it easier to say ‘yes’ when you are able to. It is important to realize that saying no to some things allows you to say yes to other, more important things.
  4. Create white space. Instead of stuffing your schedule with activities, leave some space for the unexpected. The extra time will allow you meet your commitments without feeling rushed or overwhelmed. Likewise, resist clutter by leaving some empty space in your physical home or office – it will create a sense of simplicity and you’ll have less cleaning to do!
  5. Take a media break. By restricting the constant stream of negativity, opinionating and propaganda on mainstream media, you can create space for your own thoughts. Silence is a gift. Learn to embrace pockets of silence in your day and you will find it easier to stay in the present instead of worrying about the future.
  6. Stop multi-tasking. Have you ever felt ignored by someone who keeps interrupting your conversation to check incoming texts and answer calls? People who do this most likely operate from a place of FOMO – fear of missing out. In reality, their need to be included everywhere all the time creates excessive anxiety. It is also disrespectful of others. When you are with someone, the biggest gift that you can give them is to be fully present with them. There will be enough time afterwards to catch up with other interests.
  7. Do more with less. Learn how to love and appreciate what you have instead of wanting more. When you express gratitude for the things you have, you signal to the Universe to bring you more of it. Start by expressing gratitude for your eyesight, hearing, and the ability to breathe. Instead of wanting a perfect body, appreciate the beating of your heart. Learn how to turn your circumstances into blessings by looking for what is good and positive about them.
  8. Evict the vampires in your life! Life is truly too short and too precious to waste time on toxic relationships and frenemies. Always remember that you have the power to remove yourself from negative and abusive people – they will usually not lead the way because of the attention they get from you. You don’t need to demonize another to let go of the relationship; you simply need to recognize when it is no longer a two-way street. Give thanks for what they have taught you, hand them back to the Universe with gratitude, and open your heart to the next person who can share your journey.
  9. Automate What You Can. When you put some of life’s routine duties on autopilot, you relieve stress in two ways: You save time by not having to do the task and you don’t clutter your mind to remember the task. Start with automating your irrigation system, programming your home thermostat, signing up for automatic bill pay options, or scheduling maintenance services out a few months at a time.
  10. Do a daily review. At the end of each day, spend a few minutes to review your day. What did you do well? Celebrate your success with gratitude. Did you fail at something? Look at why it did not succeed and what you could do differently the next time, so you don’t have to repeat the mistake. Did some tasks remain undone or new ones arise? Write them down to free your mind so you can have a good night’s rest.
  11. Take care of your body. A healthy body is much better able to handle stress, while illness can cause great amounts of additional stress. If you want to enjoy quality of life in a stressful world, you cannot afford to neglect your body. At the very times you feel that you simply don’t have enough time to eat a healthy diet, exercise or get enough sleep, it is important to recognize that you need those things the most!
  12. Renew your spirit. Stressful thoughts and emotions imprint on the cells in a matter of seconds. Just as you need to cleanse your body of accumulated dirt and grime each day, it is important to cleanse your soul as well. You can do that by taking up a meditation practice, engaging in prayer, spiritual learning or personal growth work.

Remember, you are an eternal soul inhabiting a physical body in space and time. Everything that is truly meaningful in life begins and ends with Spirit. The more you shift your perspective from the mundane issues of duality-based reality, to living from the timeless perspective of the soul as observer/witness, the more peace you will experience. It will free you from the superficial urgencies of daily life and help poise you in a place of peace, which is the essence of simplifying your life.

©Copyright Ada Porat. For more information, visit https://adaporat.com. This article may be freely distributed in whole or in part, provided there is no charge for it and this notice is attached.