In his work “Cat’s Cradle”, Kurt Vonnegut proposes the concept of “karass” which he described as “a team that do[es] God’s Will without ever discovering what they are doing”. In time this term has been broadened to also include people that share a common purpose and who develop or discover links between themselves whilst collaborating to achieve that common goal.
The term I like better, because it is even more broadened and also because it simply speaks to me at a deeper level is that of “soul tribe”. Some people put the equal sign between the two and the truth is that they might be right, considering that both concepts lack a clear, concise and universally agreed definition.
For me, “soul tribe” also includes the close friends that make you feel loved, valued and understood even if they are not part of the same “team” in fighting for a certain purpose. You might as well have developed connections with people who, even though they are not involved in environmental matters (say) and do not actively fight for the same cause as you do, they are still people close to your heart. Thus, I will use this particular distinction in this piece, although, as I’ve said, either or not this interpretation is right or wrong depends on how every individual thinks about a given concept.
I was never the one to say that “people ruin everything”. On the contrary, I always believed that people are fully capable of making things better one for the other. A happy moment shared with somebody gets more profound and remains with us for a longer period of time and hard times are always easier (even if just a tad) to pass with somebody that you know it is there for you.
I, for one, love people and I am fascinated by them. Obviously, I do not like just every person in the world nor do I get along with everybody. Rationally speaking, that is simply impossible and frankly undesirable. It could be then argued that the only difference between a “people’s person” and somebody that think that “people ruin everything” is that the latter has not (yet) found enough people to his or her heart. They did not yet find their soul tribe.
I do not claim to have found mine either. But I know for sure that at least I’ve got a taste of it recently and I am still bewildered about the feeling I’ve got. It is worth mentioning that I believe the soul tribe is an ever growing and ever changing structure and its composition is a life-long process. Nevertheless, you do not have to wait all your life to feel like you belong in one, to feel that you have found “your people”.
In a recent trip to Budapest I’ve been fortunate enough to meet a lot of wonderful people that shared a lot of my goals, ideals and principles of life. All of us were there because the interest we had in human rights, peace and democracy and thus from the beginning it was easy for us to find a common base on which to start building a connection. It was also the basis to form a “karass”.
There were about thirty of us and we’ve spent about ten hours a day together for five days. In all this time I have been completely bewildered about the level of connection between us and the atmosphere of the group. Everybody felt welcomed and they felt like they were understood and felt to express themselves. Everybody felt a kind of delicious freedom of being.
Even if involved in intense debates about various delicate topics at no point there was any kind of negative pressure in the group as a whole or between individuals which I find to be pleasantly surprising. Do not get me wrong, I do not mean to say that when people spend a lot of time with each other sooner or later they end up fighting, I simply say that conflicts of ideas and of personalities are normal and often encountered, but they missed completely between us.
We were all different, coming from very different countries, with different backgrounds, having grown as persons through different experiences. But we shared very similar values and goals and all of us wanted to make a change. And perhaps even more importantly, we started our time together appreciating each other from the start. We appreciated each other for being there and this is one of the greatest way you can start an interpersonal relation, appreciating and being grateful for the presence of others.
If I think closely about everything I will, for sure, find even more reasons why “we worked” but that is not the point. Rather, the point is to express the fact that those links that Vonnegut talked about, that are mysterious and sometimes lie within ourselves without our knowledge, are really there and when you start discovering them, it’s a truly wonderful feeling.
We go through life facing challenges of all kinds, from physical to spiritual, from the ones that we have no powers to change to the ones where we control everything but still face difficulties. Knowing that there are others fighting the same fight is definitely reassuring. But knowing that there are others working towards the same exact goal, ready to help you with their ideas, input and actual work really makes you feel a certain type of “safe”.
We all want something. If we look closely we might find that there are people very close to us that are heading towards the same purpose we want to achieve. It is worth inviting them to go together. People are truly capable of miracles, things of an indescribable beauty. In the end it was people, humans just like us that invented some of the things we love the most. There were also just people too that have destroyed some of the things we loved most. That’s why we need to find those with whom we belong.
Make finding your soul tribe an objective and as soon as you begin to fulfill this objective you’ll see that it will get easier to also fulfill the others you have.
And perhaps even a little bit more important, be very grateful for the members of your soul tribe that you’ve already found and don’t be shy to tell them how much you appreciate them (On this note, thank you!).
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”