For the past 5 days I’ve been in Miami spending time with one of my very good friends, someone I consider part of my “Vegas Tribe”. The Tribe was a concept born from a group of hippy artists I became very close to my last two years living in Vegas. The Vegas art scene is very unique in that it is very small. Because it’s small it’s easier to connect with other artists in a communal atmosphere. It’s common for artists to attend birthday parties and weddings of other artists or for a group of artists to host a Thanksgiving dinner together. There’s more than a few that have gotten together and collectively rented a house. That’s just how we roll.
I don’t get to spend time with my Tribe very often but when I do I’m reminded of how much I need that supportive energy. As much as I love Atlanta the one issue (which also happens to be the biggest issue) is that I haven’t been able to cultivate a Tribe there. Even establishing authentic friendships has proven challenging. I’ve experienced a lot of people who are attracted to appearances and/or what they think they can get from you. They approach you under false pretenses in order to try to use you. There are a lot of fakes in the city of Atlanta.
This has been very difficult for me because I am generally very open and authentic. I take people at face value and have no reason to mistrust because I am honest in all my dealings with others, so I never expect anyone to be dishonest in their dealings with me.
Yeah…idealistic, I know.
And my idealism has resulted in being flat-out lied to and used, several shady living arrangements, unfruitful business “partnerships”, flaky acquaintances that want to call themselves friends, clients with ulterior motives, and being owed a total of several hundred dollars for work done for a few small businesses. And while I could be upset about these experiences I refuse to be a victim. My participation means that I am a co-creator. And each bad experience has been a lesson on what I need to do to tighten my ship; speak my truth, improve my business practices, call out bullshit, be discerning, and be discriminating on who I allow into my circle.
And speaking of the circle….
I’ve recently come to the conclusion that I don’t need any new friends. An Atlanta Tribe isn’t necessary because my Vegas Tribe is more than enough. I have more than enough love and support from the true friends and family in my life. They know me. They understand me. I don’t have to explain myself to them nor do I have to worry about being taken advantage of. I am part of a strong collective that ensures that all involved grow and elevate. We honor each other with the up most respect and integrity. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
So to anyone new, I’m good. Unless you are of the same caliber my circle is closed and I am ok with that.
There has been so much going on that I don’t even know where to begin But I can happily say that in the seven months since I moved to Atlanta I have either accomplished or planted a seed for everything I set out to do here. I’m teaching yoga, launched my holistic company, traveling, building my healing arts and communal living community, figure modeling, sharing poetry, and getting into my healing studies. I’ve advanced my own spiritual practice and have started my shamanic training as well as learning pranic and tantric healing arts. Personally I have deepened my connections with others by living in my truth and maintaining an open relationship with my Beloved. However each consort I engage has been a beautiful mirror and teacher. Each one has given me the space to expand my heart-letting go of past hurts and unhealthy ways of moving through the world.
Lately my feelings have been full of wonderment and gratitude. Every time I’m on the train passing the beautiful Atlanta skyline I marvel at the fact that I’m living in the city I’ve always wanted to live in. Every time I connect with a member of my community I feel welcome, humbled, and supported. Every time I teach a yoga class, step on the podium to art model, grab the mic to share poetry, or complete a healing session with a client I feel joy that I’m doing exactly what I have been called to this earth to do. I am living my life’s purpose.
I’ve been reflecting a lot on what exactly it means to live your life’s purpose. In my experience it means being present to your inner voice and humble enough to seek guidance from those that are sent to be teachers. It means being one hundred percent authentic, open, and receptive because sometimes our purpose means we have to detach from the things we think we want that directly interfere with what we are meant to do. And sometimes we have to change patterns of behavior that hinder us and that also requires complete authenticity. You have to be fearless, vulnerable, and very self-aware. You have to pull yourself out of the matrix of modern society and let go of the need to be validated by others. You have to cultivate patience, faith, and a lot of acceptance. And, most importantly, you have to grow the fuck up. Owning your life’s purpose also means owning all the responsibility that come with it.
When I take a step back and look at the bigger picture I realize that so many things truly don’t/didn’t matter in the grander scheme of things. Every situation, every connection is a lesson meant to push you towards your purpose. Every thing I’ve experienced over the past four years is an example of that. When I was so busy being caught up in the drama of what the Universe was trying to show me I lost the lesson. I was knocked off my path. And I suffered. But now I am grateful for the insight-for the people and situations that did what they were supposed to do to put me exactly where I am in this moment.
“With great respect and love, I honor my heart, my inner teacher.” ~Tantric Yoga Prayer
I was talking with a friend of mine today about a friend of hers whose interested in me. Apparently my friend is trying to play matchmaker despite the fact that I have no serious intention of getting deeply romantically involved with anyone at this point in my life. However I’m a lover and I like having lovers so I’m open to the possibility. When I inquired about this friend of hers she made a comment that struck me. She said that her friend is not the type to leave a situation that’s “stable and comfortable” for something that’s “new”. Of course this was in direct reference to the circumstances surrounding my most recent ex. However it caused me to reflect on the bigger picture and the concept of the 80/20 rule.
The 80/20 rule basically states that one doesn’t leave a partner that has 80% of what you want for someone else that has the 20% of what’s missing or lacking in your current relationship. It’s really kinda common sense. What logical person would gamble with their relationship or willingly give up a lot just to gain a little? But it happens all the time. People tend to get bored in long-term committed relationships. Or they focus so much on the negatives that they start scouting for greener pastures. Then, as if in answer to the energy that’s being projected, someone comes along that appears to be new, exciting, and everything that the current partner isn’t. And when a person is bored and discontent with who they’re with its rather easy for them to chase after what they think is better. Exciting is hardly ever stable or practical though.
On the flip side it’s also important to know what is it that we want and don’t want in a partner or relationship. To be clear on the things that may be deal breakers and the things we’re willing to compromise on. To pick and choose our battles between the issues that can be worked out and the ones that can’t be changed. Most importantly, it’s essential to know what you’re working towards and whether or not the relationship has all the elements that will move you towards that end goal. If you’re faced with two options and one has the most of what you need to reach your goals while the other has the bare minimum…well…the choice is kind of obvious.
I often say that the grass is greener where you water it. Our relationships mirror who we are on the inside. If we are discontent within ourselves then we’re naturally never going to be happy no matter who we’re with. I’ve also realized that an unhealthy ego or sense of entitlement tends to interfere with feelings of gratitude, causing us to harbor a lack of appreciation for our partner. This is what makes us focus more on the small negatives than the many positives within the relationship. This is something I’ve personally been guilty of and have had to check myself on.
Emotional immaturity when it comes to committed relationships also plays a part. This was a common experience when I was younger, but as I got older I started to see this less and less. That’s because as we mature and settle into who we are stability in a relationship starts to become a priority. We’ve identified what it is that we want. We’re more inclined to think about our future and how our current actions affect that future. We are grounded in the things that are important to us, seeking out and maintaining relationships with those who can help us towards our life’s purpose. We’re less likely to get caught up in random thrills or the disruptions that usually come with them. What I’ve observed in couples at this stage is that they are fully aware that their relationships are what they make of them. Therefore they focus on continuously cultivating within their relationship the things they may feel are missing, rather than seeking it elsewhere.
I’ve never been one to “leave” someone I’m with for another. This is because I hardly ever get into committed relationships to begin with. But also because once I commit to someone, that’s it. I never allow anyone to pull me away from what I’ve established and built. On the other hand, I’ve had plenty of experiences of being “left” for someone else. This used to have detrimental effects on my self-esteem but as I’ve grown and gained better understanding I realize that it was more a direct reflection of the people I was with (and my choice to be involved with such people) and less to do with my “success” or “failings” as a partner. Anyone who would willingly trade 80% for 20% is saying a lot about what they think of their own worth–about what they think they deserve. Or don’t deserve.
The same applies to me as well. The lesson for me is never to forget what I am worth.