What image does the word tribe conjure up for you? Is it of a human social group associated with kinship? Is it of groups of Native American Indians camped out around a fire with their tipis or the Maasai of southern Kenya and northern Tanzania, with their striking clothes and incredible ceremonies? I must confess that this was my image (of a tribe) up until four years ago when I read a book (several times) called the Chimp Paradox.
This book has helped me to see the world, those around me and more importantly, myself, in a completely new way. It explains how our brains haven’t evolved much, if at all, since humans first walked the planet 1.8 million years ago and how our sympathetic nervous system or our fight or flight mechanism still comes into play in the modern world, whether or not we are going to be eaten by a bear. It is commonly recognised these days that it is this mechanism that pushes our stress buttons and that by calming it we can become much less stressed and anxious. The Chimp Paradox talks about the brain in three parts: Part one is the human -this is our logical voice, the I in me. Part two is the computer, which runs all the day-to-day stuff we don’t even think about like breathing and runs our auto pilots, when we do things automatically without thinking like making a cup of tea. It also creates the emotional responses we have to situations. These responses are deeply ingrained, sometimes over several lifetimes, and to change them we have to work hard to reprogramme the computer. The third element of the brain is referred to as the chimp; this is our primeval brain, the fight or flight response. The book goes into great detail about how to keep our chimp happy, avoiding setting off our fight and flight mechanism but enhancing our feelings of well-being and happiness.
One of the ways to keep our chimp happy is to work out who our tribe is. To do this, think about the people who resonate with you the most. Who do you feel most at home with? Who do you miss and long to see if you haven’t seen them for hours or days? Typically, your tribe will be 12-15 people and whilst the names on this list are changeable, the change is generally slow and takes place over years. I recently found my tribe list from four years ago and it has changed but only with a couple of people who I’m less close to now and a couple who I’m more close to. Of course, this is perfectly natural. We experience every soul we meet for a reason and some stay for a season whilst others stay a lifetime. We are grateful for them all and the lessons we learn together.
Recently I’ve become part of a new tribe - the Soul Happy tribe - and what a wonderful group of people they are. It’s quite a privilege to meet and be part of a group of heart-centred people who genuinely love and support one and other. It makes me light up when I’m with them. Their brand of open spirituality and positive vibes is helping to reconnect me to my spiritual roots and transform feelings from dark to light.
I want to mention another tribe of beautiful people who have incarnated at this time and chosen to be connected to Peterborough. It seems to me that there is an abundance of souls who help light up others around them and over the last few years I’ve been lucky enough to get to know many of them. These are people who may not be in my direct tribe but are part of a wider community of activists, creatives and healers who are making a difference in this place and time, who choose to shine their light in a special way and brighten the lives of others around them.
It’s been an amazing journey of awareness since reading the Chimp Paradox. Discovering and valuing my tribe has helped me to build and value my relationships and the wider tribe of community helps me and the place I live be strong and vibrant.
Some of the members of my tribe (below), I'm blessed to have such beautiful people in my life:-)