Sometimes You Need a Helping Hand
One of my primary goals through everything I do in this website is to create a Tribal Community for nomads on the road. I’ve never thought it was enough to inspire people to try the nomadic life or just to teach them how to do it, because without a support system in place the odds of them succeeding drastically go down. I know from first hand experience just how difficult and lonely those first few days, weeks and months on the road can be. I’m pretty sure I would not have endured the initial difficulties if I had the option to go back to a “normal” life! I was lucky, my bridges were burned and there was no going back so I stuck it out until I fell in love with the nomadic life.
My understanding of Tribalism is that generosity of spirit was by far the highest and greatest value, and selfishness and individuality was the greatest social taboo. If anyone in the community was hungry, the whole tribe shared with him. If one person lacked, they all lacked, no one accumulated wealth or excess for themselves because that would have been the greatest “sin” (although the concept of sin didn’t exist until much later when civilized men invented organized religion).
Being nomads, they had a very different way of thinking about possessions; to them, owning more things was a giant burden when it came time to travel and so the tribe simply threw their “stuff” away and made new when they arrived at the destination. After all, the earth provided abundantly.
In Tribalism, they treasured and loved people and scorned things–the exact opposite of modern life. What would our life be like if we adopted that attitude? I think much, much` better!! They were the ultimate “all for one, one for all” way of living.
Just recently I’ve been confronted with the question, “If that is the natural way of a tribe how can our growing tribe of Nomads implement that?” Unlike the Tribes of old times, we don’t physically spend much time together. Fortunately, many of us gather together in the winter in the Arizona desert–and there you will find the Tribal spirit of generosity in abundance! Every year we put out a give-away pile where we give away things we no longer want or need. Every day we ask if there are any needs and put people with needs together with others who can help them. It’s truly remarkable to watch!
Unfortunately only a tiny percentage of the Tribe gets to come to those gatherings. There is a much larger number of us who are on the east coast or even on the west coast who don’t travel and can’t ever join us at our winter gatherings. Even though I’ve never met them, they are just as much a part of the Tribe, so, how can we include them in the inherent generosity of the tribe?
On my blog, forum and Youtube channel, every so often a person will join and want to promote their Gofundme campaign at https://www.gofundme.com/. To be perfectly honest, I’ve had no idea what to do about that. On one hand I feel really bad about refusing to at least allow someone in need to advertise their need on my websites, but I am equally aware that if I allow just anyone to post their needs, I’ll be flooded with requests from hundreds or thousands of people wanting my help. The simple fact is I can’t turn the websites into a charity or it will drown out the important work I feel called to do:
Reaching everyone who needs to hear my message of an alternative, simple, nomadic life of Freedom is my highest priority and I don’t want to water it down.
And yet I equally need to actually live the Tribal Nomadic life by including generosity as a major part of it. How do I find the balance?
Frankly, I took the easy, cowards way out and did nothing about it at all, I just hoped the conundrum would go away and leave me alone. But a situation has come up in my life that has forced me to confront the problem and reach a decision. It’s kind of sad that it took a crisis to force me into it, but there you go, that’s just the way of human nature–or at least my human nature.
A very good friend of mine, James, has recently had a “perfect storm” of circumstances that left him no choice but to begin a go-fund-me campaign to cover some major expenses. Being someone I love like a brother and a long-time and beloved Tribe member (since 2012), he is the perfect person for me to do a post about him and ask you to support his go-fund-me campaign. But how can I let him do it, and not every member of the tribe?
Choosing my favorites to help is the exact opposite of the Tribal Spirit of “all for one, one for all”.
One of the things I’ve felt since I started this a long time ago is that if the Universe brings a person into my life, then I was responsible toward them. It was my obligation to do all I reasonably could to help them.
I believe this attitude is the answer to my question. If the Universe brings you into our tribe, then I need to help you. But, the Universe needs to bring you into my life, not you. In other words if you are already a member of the tribe and a part of my life, then I’ll help you, but if you come to me for no other reason than to take advantage of me and use me, then I won’t. With that attitude, you aren’t really a member of the Tribe.
I’ve equally felt a strong need to balance my attention between self-care and caring for others, so I’ve also adapted the attitude that the Universe gave me two hands, one hand was to take care of myself and the other was to reach out to others. The two hands must always remain in a basic balance or my life would suffer for it. Worse, if I don’t take care of myself, I will be of no use to others, and if I don’t take care of others, I will be no good to myself either.
In my first 40 years I tried living a self-absorbed life and it was an utter failure, I must never allow myself to fall back into that again. But neither can I neglect myself, I must find a balance of being others-centered and equally caring for myself.
- If you are a member of the tribe and I know of you, then you can contact me and we will work together to help you in times of need. But if I’ve never heard of you, and no one else in the tribe has either, I probably won’t. I hate being put in the position of judge and jury but I don’t know what else to do. There is too much need in the world for me to help everyone, I must discriminate. Limiting it to active members of our tribe seems like a reasonable solution.
- Your situation must be fairly dire. There should also be a reason you can’t handle it yourself and a time crunch that limits you.
- As of now I will only do one go-fund-me-campaign per month, unless an emergency comes up. I have to limit it, or it can come to dominate the website.
About my friend, with a marriage coming to an unexpected end, blown motor and a broken shoulder, James’ only option was to ask for the help of friends and fellow tribe members so he set up a Go Fund Me Campaign to make it easy to send him money for a new motor. I know most of you will respond with an open heart but a few will think “Well, he’s just getting what he deserves, let him stew in it.” or “I’ve never needed charity, go get a job and take care of yourself!”
That’s our old, civilized way of thinking which has proven to be a total failure! It’s led to world where a billion people are starving to death while we throw enough food away every day to feed many of them. Or a world where 1% own 99% of the wealth while the rest of us starve or struggle to live paycheck to paycheck. Or a wealthy country like America where 49 million people struggle every day to have enough food to eat. “Well, it’s their own fault, they should just go get a job!”
No, it’s time for a different way of thinking, “all for one, one for all“. That’s the kind of thinking I’m trying to instill in our nomadic tribe.
I had planned on posting his gofundme campaign here and asking that we each consider giving a small amount. If many people give $1 to $5 dollars, and a few give more, then the problem can easily be solved without a sacrifice on anyone’s part.
However, he made a video of his situation, posted it to our Youtube channel and he got all the money he needed in just a few hours! That’s the power, and majesty of a tribe! When the chips are down and any member suffers, the human heart inherently wants to reach out in love and grace to care for the other. It’s our political and religious teaching that keep us from doing it.
The horribly sad thing is that the religious, political and economic philosophy of this country–which is based on the Puritan Ethic of “If you don’t work, you shouldn’t eat.”–despises an attitude of generosity and compassion and more often than not we have to overcome it do do a simple act of kindness.
There should be no difficulty in deciding if I will act in love toward others, but in this country it is a controversial decision that will make me many enemies and attract many users. But I have no choice, I must be true to my conscience, as expressed by some of the great Masters like the Dalai Lama, St Francis of Assisi and Jesus: