One of the cornerstones of the Mediterranean Lifestyle is Pillar 2: Focus on Family & Community. In the Med, families and neighbors are close-knit. Want to keep a dirty secret? Failed an exam? Lost a job? Hate your husband? Fuggetaboutit. It all comes out within weeks, days, hours – and spreads like tropical storms across the Caribbean skies in September. There is no hiding your dirty laundry. Children grow up, marry and move down the street, perhaps to another village, or to the “city” a couple hours away (to the horrors of the devastated mamas in the Med). Suffocating at times, but these kin are your family – like it or not. They have your back, and they will never let you falter.
I am one of those lucky people who grew up in a tight-knit, totally functional family (is that even possible in today’s reality-TV-obsessed-bigger-is-better-world??). I then married into this same type of situation, and my familial tribe grew to include my in-laws and the rest of his clan.
But what happens when you don’t have such a laundry list of healthy, functional family members? Or if you love your family until it hurts, but they still may not get your eccentric ways. Find your own Tribe. And although I grew up with a functional family, I was always a little bit off. A little too loud or laid back. A little more Mediterranean than Western. I was blown away to discover a new set of Tribe members. We call ourselves Rock Sisters.
I write for a mega-blog called Women Who Live on Rocks. Chrissann Nickel, our fierce and fearless leader, a total rockstar (pun-intended) decided to organize the first ever Writers’ Rock Retreat to introduce 10 female writers. Instead of meeting virtually, we did something so 20th century. We actually met. Women Who Live on Rocks is focused on Caribbean island-living. As a Mediterranean Lifestyle chic, I think I slipped through the cracks. And boy am I glad I did. For 5 days in San Juan, Puerto Rico, we collaborated, laughed, danced and drank. Not necessarily in that order, either. After all these years, I finally found my Tribe.
Why you should find your Tribe:
According to Abraham Maslow (as in Maslow’s Theory): one of the most fundamental of human needs is the need to belong. In the age-old days of the Mediterranean, people live close to where they grow up. Their family is their Tribe (ring in mental clips of The Godfather). But in the West, we move for our jobs/careers; for our husband’s jobs/careers; for better schools for our children; for a better quality of life. Heck, I’ve even heard people moving for better weather. Along the way we may lose our Tribe.
Haven’t found your Tribe yet? Rest assured, they exist. Somewhere out in this big, bad world, they exist and are waiting for YOU to complete them 🙂
How to find your Tribe:
- What do you love to do? Not to get paid for, but actually choose to do for pure enjoyment. I love writing. I love acting. I love swimming. Join a Meetup group near you. If one doesn’t exist to fit your exact niche (Dancing in the rain while eating Little Debbie’s snacks?), start one! You never know who is thinking: yes! That’s exactly what I *love* to do, too.
- Go back to school. Yes – I’m serious. Visit the website of your local university or community college. Schools have come a long way in community outreach. A quick scan at my local university, and I see that I can take a class on the cosmos, dream analysis, and ukulele for beginners (I’m serious). Classes are typically pretty cheap, in the evenings or on the weekends, and a great place to meet your potential Tribal Sister or Brother.
- Log on. Facebook, Yahoo! and other social media sites are laden with groups you may be passionate about. The more precise or specific, the better to narrow in you like-minded folks.
- Watch Yes Man with Jim Carrey. Avoid stupid, dangerous stuff (unless that’s your thang) and then say yes. Had I not said yes to flying to Puerto Rico, leaving my children in my husband’s capable hands and doing something DIFFERENT, I may not have met my ultimate Rock Sisters. Say YES to new adventures and see where it leads you. I almost guarantee you won’t be disappointed.
- Put it out in the Universe. It may sound corny, but it worked for me. Writing can be a lonely process. It’s hard to meet like minded passionate, positive, strong, fun, and fabulous women from my home office. I put out positive vibes into the Universe, and it came back, ten-fold.
I am also old-school. I love social media sites, but nothing compares to a gaggle of girls, sorority-style, playing, laughing and learning in a big house in Old San Juan. I will treasure those days and look forward to when we will be reunited. In the meantime, my What’s App chats keep me chuckling as I proceed with normal life as a wife, mom, writer and entrepreneur. And, I think this is what a Tribe is all about: they got my back; I got theirs. They keep me laughing, sane and focused. And sometimes (like right now) very unfocused, as I am trying hard not to check my messages and see what some of those crazy gals are up to.
Focus on Family & Community is Pillar #4 in Goddess Living. I am humbled to realize that it has more to do with choosing a positive Tribe than simply what family you were born into. Choose your Community. Choose your Tribe
Want to meet my awesome Tribe? Check out what these fabulous ladies are up to.
Chrissann Nickel (the organizer of this life-changing event); Women Who Live On Rocks
Jennifer Legra, Dominican Republic: Drinking the Whole Bottle
Riselle Celestina, St. Maarten: The Traveling Island Girl
Mariah Moyle, The Bahamas: Out Island Life
Brittany Meyers, Tortola, BVI: Windtraveler
Lizzy Yana, St. Thomas, VI: Island Lizzy
Liz Wegerer, Bonaire: The Adventures of Island Girl
Jennifer Morrow, Puerto Rico: Jen There Done That
Sherri DeWolf, Key West: Deeply Creative; Island Jane
Want a peek into our 1st ever Writer’s Retreat? Click here
I’d love to hear more about Your Tribe! Have you found them yet? Let’s hear it, goddesses. . .
There is soooooo much about this that I love! “Dancing in the rain while eating Little Debbie’s snacks?” amazing. sooooo funny. But also the part about family and that even if you love them and they love you sometimes they still don’t totally get you. and Lastly, the universe. I SO BELIEVE IN PUTTING THINGS OUT THERE IN THE UNIVERSE (Hence my capital letter). It isn’t corny. The universe conspires… (The Alchemist)
Thank you, Jen! Keep on living like a goddess, girlfriend!
This is FABULOUS!! I am taking heed to the tips, but also just so proud to watch you in your journey Claudia!
Thanks, Mandy! I adore you and your support, your love of life and zest. You are my inspiration!