We are in the middle of Kwanzaa right now. Happy Kwanzaa, to those of you who celebrate it!
Kwanzaa is an African American holiday which celebrates the African American community, family, and culture. It’s an important holiday because it reminds all of us how important it is to be a part of a tribe and the power of a tribe, what a tribe can do.
It wasn't that long ago in American history that African Americans were treated like less than human beings and now we have an African American president of the United States! That is power, and that happened through a tribe. Yes, there were several key players that helped the movement but it was tribe, the people uniting and coming together that made that possible. That is something to celebrate!
In my own tribe, the Jewish tribe, we have a joke around holiday times that every holiday is about, “They tried to kill us. We prevailed. Let’s celebrate!” My people were nearly wiped out in genocide and if it weren't for the power and the tight knit community of my tribe, I would not be alive, nor would my child.
We all belong to different tribes, many different tribes. I belong to the female tribe. I’m very proud of that tribe. I am so grateful I came into this world as a woman, and I can celebrate that and honor that.
What tribes do you belong to? It starts with our family tribe, and grows to our community, our schools, our work place, to our state tribe, to our country’s tribe, out to the world’s tribe. At the end of the day we are all part of the human tribe, and what we can create together is extraordinary. It is extraordinary if we come together as a human tribe, while still celebrating and honoring our individual tribes. Once we come together as a human tribe we can see then that we are part of the life tribe. The living tribe that includes animals; that includes mother earth. We are part of God’s tribe, life, love. We are all in this together.
We draw on our tribes for power, for support, for nourishment. Tribes are important; they’re meaningful. They connect us to something much bigger than ourselves, and in all of the psychological and spiritual studies that have been done, the #1 thing that gives people meaning in their lives is to be a part of something bigger than themselves. That means being part of a tribe, whatever tribe you belong to. It could be a tribe of choice. It could be a volunteer agency that you’re involved with, you are a member of that tribe.
Happy Kwanzaa! I honor African Americans, Africans, and everyone, all of you who are a part of some tribe. Isn't it great that we can all be members of a tribe and still get along and admire and appreciate other tribes? More power to the tribe!
Heather Hans, LCSW, MSW, MBA, CPIC, is a Visionary, Healer & Teacher, and the author of The Heart of Self-Love: How to Radiate with Confidence. It is Heather's firm belief that loving oneself is necessary to have fulfilling relationships and a successful life.