On Tribes, Partnerships, And How To Truly Miss A Friend

So yeah, a new year started a few hours ago. I chose to spend the last few hours of last night, well into the wee hours of this morning saying ‘Happy New Year’ to pretty much everyone I know on Facebook and WhatsApp. And even though I keep a modest following at best, it took me a very long time, and I did miss quite a few, so if you’re one of those, please forgive me, I tried my best.

I felt a tinge of sorrow and pain when I got to the abandoned account of one of my very best friends in life. To those who know me well, I’m the classic introvert with a limited capacity for getting in touch and keeping up the lines of communication between my friends and family and my wider network. But there remains those special few, those friends on the path with whom one’s spent a sizable amount of time growing together and stumbling together that are just going to be there and hold the title of a friend-for-life no matter what.

My friend, who shall be unnamed, had stumbled into a compounding of bad decisions, bad karma, and the wrong kind of company, which led to a catastrophic event in their life that I shall not name as well. Suffice to say, my friend, who is one of the people I feel closest to in the entire world, is now in a situation of suspended animation as if some hit the ‘pause’ button on their whole life. They’re incommunicado for an undetermined period of time and that leads to a constant feeling of loss that stings the most when I feel the itch to just say ‘Hi.’

The road is long and hard, and the company we keep matters. You are the average of the 5 people you associate with the most. You tell me who are your friends and I can tell you who you are. Old wisdom tells us to choose the friend before we choose the road. This is why partnerships matter in school, college, career, business, marriage, and parenthood.

One cannot choose their parents, environment, country, language, culture, and religious affiliations from the get-go. These things are forced upon the best of us and not many would seek to challenge and redefine their reality. But it’s within us all to choose our tribe once we reach that clarity of discernment and that quality of thought that drives us to follow our own path. It becomes a magnetic force that tethers us to a specific crowd.

We choose, for good or bad, whom we associate with, and their thoughts and feelings will contaminate ours, no matter what, as our thoughts and feelings will contaminate theirs as well. This is why when you notice your kids are hanging out with the wrong kind of friends, you keep them away from that company because the behaviors of their friends will bleed into their character.

This is why people of affluence know to send their children into the quality and more expensive schools, not because the teachers are better or that the facilities are more modern or safer, or that the rules are set to nurture the necessary kind of discipline, even though these things matter, but mostly it’s because of the crowd, and who their kids are going to hang out with, and who you get to hang out with as a parent in PTA meetings and school plays.

It is why when you set your eyes on your career or your vocation, you seek to choose the sort of crowd that meets your interests. It is exactly why wanna-be actors move to Hollywood, or why comic-book fans go to conventions, or why dog owners hang out at the park. We each seek our own tribes, and many of us find ourselves at the nexus of many tribes of varied composition and interest.

But that’s not to say that we are destined to remain within the influence of the same kind of people forever. As time goes by, our personality evolves and our interests and intellect eventually diverge from most of the people we started out with. Forks in the road pull people apart and we often find ourselves ina new stream with other types of fish, more like us at that period of our growth, until we aren’t and we leave those behind as well.

As you grow older, you recognize the importance of being extremely mindful of who you allow into your world and into your head. I’ve noticed a long time ago that I am like a sponge for the quality of thought, humor, character, and mindset of the people around me, and that is when I decided to take a big leap back and reexamine my relationships. I wasn’t able to resolve all my long-term association issues because life is way too complicated for abstract concepts to be applied with a sharp knife, but I tried to place a set of filters on whose thoughts I consume with no barriers whatsoever, and who do I keep locked outside a castle with a draw-bridge behind a mote and a clearing that ends with barbed-wire and a ‘No Trespassing’ sign.

We are what we consume on a regular basis. Be that food, music, books, TV, movies, friends, abuse, foul language, good company, addictions, sports, or advice. I used to listen to a lot of sad and angry music as a kid, and it suddenly dawned on me one day that I was being sad, depressed, and angry a whole lot more because of the programming this kind of music was doing to me.

Our bodies and minds are not made of solid materials. We are creatures made of energy, we produce energy and we absorbed energy. If you take a look at what makes you a person, it’s an extremely complicated ecosystem of multiple layers of extremely complicated systems built upon one another and that complexity took millions of years to develop. But as science tells us, we go beyond our body to find cells, and beyond our cells to find chemicals and compounds, and beyond that molecules and atoms, and beyond that subatomic particles and beyond that, pure energy.

The sentience we developed as a human species is miraculous when put in its proper scientific perspective. A spec of dust floating in a sunbeam had just the right set of circumstances to allow for the constant building of complex systems within its components to create moving cells, plants, animals and then evolve into sentient beings capable of complex thought and emotion.

Our human history as Homosapiens shows us that the trend is going in the same direction as more complex systems combine on top of one another. A man unit became a tribe, which evolved into a village, and the village into a city, the city became a state, the state became a kingdom. Then it was a straight shot to the emergence of nations, and then to form coalitions with other nations based on shared locations, history, language, political ideologies, or religious affiliations, and now here we are evolving into one electronically connected super-being.

Our entire universe is built on connections and being connected to other people. We are creatures of energy that needs to circulate our own into other people and recycle other people’s energies into ours.

We are creatures of love.

This is why we feel the harsh pain of the loss of parents, siblings, children, lifelong friends, and those we love because we miss their energy flowing into ours.

I hope the new year is full of joy and love to all of us. I hope that we all can maintain the love and energy of those who love us, to stay connected, and not to drift apart.

I wish for myself and for all of you a life where you can find your own tribes of like-minded people with whom you feel the strongest kinship and bonds of shared interest.

To all of you who are lost, seek a connection to something, or someone that seems like it’s a move in the right direction. We are meant to move and flow, we are not meant to stagnate and stop moving. Any motion, even in the wrong direction is better than doing nothing, you can revise that direction later, even if it turned out to be the wrong one in the long-term, do what is best for you as best as you can figure out based on what you know at that point in time. Always seek progress and motion, because to do nothing is death, and it is not our time yet.

Happy New Year to all of you.

Love and Peace.

 

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