For some reason, I am someone who attracts people who need to tell their most painful, gut-wrenching stories, who need to have their story lovingly heard and witnessed and honored without shaming or judging or fixing. People tell me stories that break my heart, stories that move me to tears, stories that evoke compassion and fill me with outrage, the ones that elicit an impassioned upwelling in my heart to make the world a safer place for tender, sensitive, deeply-feeling souls. I hear stories that wreck me about doctors who unwittingly abuse their power and harm the very people they’re here to serve. I hear people’s #MeToo stories about bosses who harassed or raped them and then threatened to fire them if they didn’t stay silent. I hear stories about police and lawyers who not only failed to protect an innocent person who had been violated; they abused or even wrongfully killed someone in that vulnerable state. I hear stories of priests who abuse their power and molest young children in the name of God. I hear countless stories of people whose parents and siblings molested them, violating the ultimate trust any child should be able to have for safety in one’s own family. I hear stories of people who have been traumatized by gurus and spiritual teachers and self-help authors who abuse their power and commit the most atrocious crimes against Love in the name of “I’m just helping you get rid of your ego.” I hear stories of people who are getting the crap beat out of them from spouses who say, “I love you.” [Lest you ever question this, THIS is not love. Don’t ever believe an abuser who gaslights you with “I love you” right after abusing you. This kind of psychological manipulation is as abusive and confusing as the emotional or physical violence. Love does not abuse power like this.]
As New Years approaches, let's try something different. Studies show that approximately 40% of people make New Years Resolutions, but only between 8–19% of people actually follow through on fulfilling those promises two years later which means that 81–92% of people who make New Years Resolutions wind up feeling like undisciplined losers…
This morning, a friend was telling me about how someone she loves treats her. Her stories sounded painful and brutalizing, even abusive. I wondered why she tolerated such apparent disrespect. She was describing someone who obviously doesn’t appreciate the gift of this friend of mine, who is such a love bomb. When I asked her why she didn’t give herself the gift of distancing herself from this person and make space in her life for someone who treated her with more affection, appreciation, and care, she said, “But he loves me.”
Since we announced our new Soul Tribe subscription service yesterday, we’ve received some feedback via email and on Facebook asking the question, “How is it ethical to charge money for Soul Tribe? Isn’t it everyone’s birthright to be part of a Soul Tribe? How dare you exploit people’s loneliness and commoditize community? Doesn’t community require diversity, and doesn’t charging money limit diversity?” One woman said, “If you want to build a community where I share my expertise, then you need to square why your contributions are remunerated and mine are not." These are completely valid questions—many of them without clear answers—and I want to honor them by responding to you all. Because I HEAR YOU, and I care. And trust me, this is something my team has been pondering for four years, so this is not something we have been cavalier about.
Today is my beloved mother's funeral. In honor of this final memorial, may I share with you the eulogy I wrote for her. When my father was dying in 2006 from a brain tumor, I wrote his eulogy before he died and read it to him. It touched him deeply to hear how he touched me. I did the same thing for my mother, and I invite you to honor her memory here with the family, if you feel called to do so.