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3 Ways to Escape Your Tribe

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I love ya. I gotta go.

You’ve started to entertain the notion that keeping identity with your tribe makes less sense than ever before. And you wonder at your own sanity because the facts before you do not match the story your tribe keeps telling:

  • Maybe your tribe believes one person in your office has nothing good to say, but you think otherwise.
  • Maybe your tribe is willing to look the other way as the elected official—whom the tribe helped elect—continues to lie, goes against the sacred center of your tribe’s beliefs and behaves increasingly erratically.
  • Maybe your tribe shuts down alternate readings of your sacred text because those readings don’t suit the current ideological goals of the people calling the shots.manysigns-2-20170126

For these and any number of other reasons, it may be time to leave your tribe. But how? It’s tricky, because most of your friends and your family friends and friends of your friends are in the tribe. Maybe you spend all your time with these people. Maybe you live with these people. But here are three starting points:

  1. Check in with soul-friends. You know people who are like-minded and are driven less by ideology and more by relationship and caring. Find these folks and build trust with them. Spend time with them and share your concerns. Ask questions together and see if a new story emerges.
  2. Read and talk widely. Get different opinions from diverse people. Look for ways to read books that challenge the orthodoxy. The good news about challenge is that what is true remains while what is false slips away. But reading is best when you share points of interest with others—especially with those soul-friends. Look for opportunities to step outside your tribe: the person at work or in class who is clearly coming from a different perspective. Who knows where friendship and insight might come from? Actively seek others with questions, remember that you are not alone with your questions.
  3. Have Faith and Take Courage. Hold your core your beliefs firmly and ask questions of the periphery. This is the time-honored way of artists, writers, thinkers, activists and leaders. See where the questions lead—this is the way of sanity and art. Turning a blind eye to inconsistencies and discontinuities leads to a very bad place, a place where reality differs from tribal knowledge.

There is a way forward and you will find it.

Good luck and God-speed.


Image: Kirk Livingston

7 Responses

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  1. Good stuff Kirk.


    January 26, 2017 at 10:48 am

  2. Life is a minefield right now. I continue to be surprised by almost everyone I know… Good luck Kirk! (K)


    January 26, 2017 at 12:23 pm

    • I hear you, Kerfe. Discouraging times, but I am actively cultivating hope.


      January 26, 2017 at 12:25 pm

      • Thanks Kirk, we need those good vibrations.


        January 27, 2017 at 5:27 am

  3. I’ve been wondering how you’ve been doing. The election (pre and post) almost destroyed me for far too many weeks, but art continues to be a healing presence. I’m on IG as you know. I hope you and your family are well. I do believe it’s only a matter of time before he’s out-sky. Not sure if you know about but he’s doing a wonderful job of connecting the dots (I think). Hope all is well, Kirk! I hope you’re still drawing/painting.

  4. Hi Laura, Thanks for your note. The Trump years are a big bummer for me, where lies and aggressive bullying seem to win. But I am heartened by the reaction of many to this ridiculous man. I’ve not sketched much. Well, I sketch a lot in a little notebook, but nothing worth looking at. I’m teaching a new class at a new college and it seems I’ve been racing to put things together and grade homework. I hope to pick up my fountain pen again in a few weeks. Thanks for your caring note! I’ll look at that Palmer report. kl


    April 21, 2017 at 7:16 am

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