I still don’t live with my tribe.
And although this is hard for me, lately I’ve heard a lot of people from many different places say the exact same thing. Even people who live in notoriously cool places.
I heard a podcast this week in which a pretty famous writer said that even thought he lives in Austin, TX, which is a pretty artsy place, most of the people he feels closest to live elsewhere, and he connects with them online.
It seems obvious that a yoga teacher living in Mansfield, PA, population 3600, might not be living with her tribe, but a writer in Austin,?
So maybe I shouldn’t think it’s so depressing to be living in a place with no grocery store, or art, or activism, or people with any obsessive passions whatsoever.
Maybe I just need to “Suck it up, Sally” and get used to ordering my organic food online (or drive to another state to get it) and get my art fix from reading about it on the internet, and console myself with written accounts of people living with passionate intensity.
Maybe this is what most people do. Maybe this is just normal and I should quit whining, thinking I am the only one.
Today I went to Ithaca. The last time I was there was in January for my Winterlude. Ithaca is where I feel a strong tribal affiliation. The people are engaged and bright and interesting, because most of them are invested in some kind of project. And when I have even the briefest of conversations with anyone, and they sketch out their lives for me, it always makes me feel amped and inspired.
But my biggest inspiration in Ithaca is Zee.
Today she gave a benefit reading at the Tompkins County Public Library, and since Sandy so generously subbed for me, I was able to attend. The reading was stellar, but what was even better was the vibe of love for Zee in that room. She has built a particular tribe around writing, and the love of books, and reading, and creativity.
About 50 of us smiled and laughed as she told stories (half fictional/half autobiographical) of a spunky, sassy girl negotiating the confusing, and often absurd world of family and friends.
When it was finished we gave her a standing ovation. The whole day warmed my heart. And the icing on the cake was that it was even a warm day: in the 60s and sunny!
It was so sweet, and so comforting to walk the .streets of Ithaca and feel a part of Zee’s tribe.
Thinking back on Elizabeth Gilbert’s post yesterday, I want to remember that even though some tribes are toxic and you have to abandon them, the power of true and deep belonging is as rare as it is transformative. And I felt that spark of transformation today.