December 2 – Sangha (Tribe)

Where have you discovered community in 2011? What are the defining characteristics and essential qualities of your tribe?
“Simply being with other people who are also seekers and who are involved in the same quest you are is very meaningful.” ~Dan Wakefield

I’m grateful for the growing, laughing community of Guatemalan and expat yogis and yoginis who come to my yoga classes and retreats here in Guatemala. I’m grateful for my colleagues at school; when you teach eighth grade, you need a strong network of supportive, sane adults around you and I’m lucky to have that. I’m grateful for my wonderful family and network of cherished friends, old and new.

Lastly, I’m grateful for my Yoga as Muse TRIBE. Being a writer can be lonely. Writing is innately a sole proprietorship. So it’s refreshing and rewarding to connect with such a likeminded, forward-thinking, change-making community of creatives.

I first met Jeffrey Davis when he gave a workshop on yoga and writing at Dharma Yoga in Austin in 2006. Over the years, I’ve attended his retreats and benefited from his steadfast, compassionate coaching and creative guidance as I navigated various writing projects. This year, I participated in his Yoga as Muse (YAM) Facilitator Training from May through October — along with four fellow tribe mates.

In his book, The Element, Sir Ken Robinson posits that “finding the right tribe can be essential to finding your Element,” and points out that tribes enable an artist to become her true self, because they “allow her to feel her most natural… affirm her talents… inspire her, influence her, and drive her to be her best.” Back in my previous professional life, I felt the painful opposite end of this spectrum, when I was among a tribe of advertising creatives and felt totally suffocated and uninspired by that work. These days, I feel validated, appreciated and motivated when surrounded by my fellow writers and teachers.

Versatility, confidence, authenticity are the three virtues cultivated by YAM. Practice helps bring them out more and more each time. Sharing our writing with each other in the tribe enhances each writer’s versatility and confidence.

6 thoughts on “December 2 – Sangha (Tribe)

  1. Oh, I like those three virtues of a tribe – versatility, confidence, and authenticity. Many groups I belonged to in the past were short on authenticity. This year I found a wonderful tribe through Tara Sophia Mohr’s Playing Big program – women helping each other thrive. I’m also grateful for my family, my small faith community, and a tribe of photographers from all over the world who inspire me.

  2. I love the tribe that follows and comments on my blog about creativity – I have also found so many supportive people as I’ve begun business development work on my nonprofit, Compass Yoga, an organization that provides yoga and wellness programming to people with mental and physical health challenges. This business development work is a constant source of inspiration and encouragement for me.

  3. Back in 2002, when I drafted a book about yoga’s integration with writing, I included a chapter on “A Writer’s Sangha.” At the time, the ideal stemmed in part from what I had experienced with a previous enclave of writers who built each other up, from my budding workshops, and from my idealistic desire. But, really, what’s happened with the Yoga As Muse tribe is just what Michelle describes it as. Sometimes the TRIBE thrives in ways I’ve never imagined.

    And then there’s just this incredible sangha in New York’s Mid-Hudson Valley from Woodstock down to Accord and across the river to Rhinebeck and Poughkeepsie. Amidst a series of towns and hamlets and mountain ranges live remarkably progressive innovators, both humble and audacious at once. When I moved here, I told my friends two things made me feel “home” at last: the mountains and the people. I should add now “the rest of my animal friends.” For the year is incomplete without seasonal visits from certain feathers and fur, beaks and paws.

    Versatility, confidence, authenticity – right on.

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