Finding your Flock
In our current culture there is an emphasis on an "every man for himself" mentality. Maybe it is more prevalent in New York City where the race to the top doesn't include watching out for one's neighbor. There is a constant lack of respect and humanity in day to day life. We are bombarded by the media with stories about acts of pure selfishness and entitlement. I often think about this. As someone who was raised with the moral obligation to respect and care for others it boggles my mind that any human could look away from someone in need, or from a potential friendship because their own agenda is more important.
I recently listened to a lecture given by Dan Buettner, the author of The Blue Zone Solution. In it he talks about the Okinawan population where their life expectancy far exceeds other areas of the world. One of their rituals is placing young girls at the age of 5 in a group called a moai. It is basically a group of friends that stay loyal to each other throughout their entire life. An extended family of sorts that each member can rely upon for support and advice. This group grows and remains close, so they know each other's history. The camaraderie that the moai creates contributes to the better wellbeing of individuals in Okinawa, and in turn is one of the reasons life expectancy is higher.
Throughout history most species have traveled in packs or tribes to protect and help each other. I am reminded of this every time I see a flock of birds in flight. It is astounding that they are able to migrate hundreds of miles to relocate each season. They use impeccable team work by switching leaders through out the flight. Why is it that as a society we no longer believe that this holds any relevance? In so many cases there is a deterioration of family and friendships in an effort to get something more for ourselves, all the while we become more miserable and jaded.
This topic is at the top of my mind for a couple of reasons. I recently started meeting with a mastermind group. It is a small clan of women. We meet twice a month to discuss our struggles and accomplishments in our wellness businesses and personal life. It is so refreshing to know that I have a support group that understands what I go through as a woman, and a health practitioner. I also am able to share advice that may help one of them overcome a struggle in some way, which is also soul soothing. Each of them is a great asset to my life.
The other reason I have been contemplating this, is the upcoming arrival of my new baby. I love the idea that in other countries, an entire tribe is available to help raise new babies and children. In my case, I live two hours from "my tribe." Even though I visit my family every weekend, it seems like that may not be enough. I would love for my son to be able to have his whole family around to help shape him into who he is to become. The reality is that my job, as well as my partner's are currently in NYC, so our dual reality will continue on. The baby has made us think more in terms of family, however, and how important it is to band together for support rather than trying to be a one man team.
Has anyone else contemplated this in terms of your own life? How important is having a tribe to you?