One of my favourite kinds of love is the love that we have within our own Tribe. I love this word;
Definition of tribe
1a: a social group comprising numerous families, clans, or generations together with dependents, or adopted strangers
I love that part of it’s definition is “comprising of family…….. or adopted strangers”.
Adopted strangers…adopting strangers, what beautifully possibility there is in that term.
I have always fostered deep friendships, I cannot fathom the point of shallow relationships, why waste love and energy in that way? There have been times when this has lead to heartbreak, but overarchingly I have found that when you give into a friendship with love and support that it is returned tenfold in unexpected ways and the gratitude I feel for the amazingly beautiful, loving, supportive family and friends that I have grows daily. I admit that I am fortunate but I see this partly from my perception of how friendship is given and received.
I was reminded very recently of the depth of this love and support. I had been interstate for several weeks and just a day and a half before returning I received a phone call at ridiculous a.m., informing me that my daughter had crashed her car. My heart was leaping out of my chest, my body shaking and my breath unable to be found. I was staying with my childhood best friend. I woke her immediately and without hesitation she took the phone from me, walked me out to her living area and embraced me while she calmly tried to decipher what was wrong. I was received with only love. We stayed up hours, almost till daylight, with her speaking on my behalf when I was unable to. Never a question of how this would affect her the following day, as she tended her own children on her day off. We called my sister & my mum, as I was having great difficulty contacting my local police, being interstate. Again, I was received with only love. My sister, who has 3 small children & my mum, who works full-time, never hesitated to be as much the me I would be, in my absence, to my daughter. They drove to the police station and to the hospital to make sure she was alright and give her the love and comfort that I was too far to give and when we were assured that she was going to be okay and there was nothing else that could be done, they went home, leaving all contact details and receiving reassurances from the nursing staff that they would be contacted as soon as she was ready to be picked up. Several hours had passed and it was now stupid a.m., before going to bed, my sister, sensing my helplessness in my distance and creeping guilt, told me she loved me and assured me that I am a great mum & that my daughter is “made of sterner stuff”, just like the rest of the women in our family. Which was exactly what I needed to hear at exactly the right time.
After the phone calls, after all had settled, my best friend made me tea, made me laugh and stayed with me in quietness, just sitting, just reading, just being, until my heart slowed, my breath steadied and my mind settled, until eventually we could go back to bed. She held me tight and told me she loved me, then kissed me on the head and sent me off to bed. Only a few short hours later we all arose and went about our days, of work and kids and what needed to be done.
There is no debt, no judgement, no bond other than love. This is the love that I give and This is the love I receive. I am fortunate and I am overwhelmingly grateful, every day. I am also aware that this kind of love is not limited to these three beautiful women, in my life. This is kind of love is present in varying degrees and amazing ways in all of my relationships with the members of my tribe. Old friends, new friends, male & females of all ages. It fills my heart daily. I now see it in the friendships and relationships that my kids are building and that fills my heart again.
Recently the findings of a 75 year study was released. The study followed over 400 American men from all demographics. The main overall finding of the study was that happiness in a persons life was determined not by fame or wealth, but by the quality of the relationships they had in their life. All relationships.
When we build our own tribe we get to choose who and how. Family and adopted strangers. Not everyone is right for your tribe but you will know the ones who are. We give what we want to receive, without judgement or defensiveness, with open hearts and open minds, resilience, support and love. Our tribe loves us when we forget how to and then holds our hands while we find our way back, or our way there. They may not all be from the same circle, in fact, I recommend that you cultivate relationships within your tribe with people from all walks of life, as it is not necessary to consider that they would need to all be in a room together. There is such beauty and wisdom in diversity and a wide spectrum.
I have few rules for cultivating our own tribes, but they are important to me and have rarely failed me:
There is unrivalled beauty in every one.
Time and distance know no bounds; If I have loved you once, I always will.
Always to give without expectation to receive.
Each tribe member is different and each relationship you will have is unique so we give into them differently, whatever way that evolves. Learning the intricacies of new relationships (and old), defining boundaries, keeping them growing and developing them can be challenging but is ultimately rewarding. What could be more rewarding than Happiness at the end of our lives?