Following on our recent podcast with Sebastian Junger about our shared evolutionary programming for tribal living, this week Chris meets with community-building experts Bill Kauth and Zoe Aloman, co-authors of the new book We Need Each Other.
Many PeakProsperity.com readers know that Chris has long found value in his weekly men's group. That group spawned out of the ManKind Project, which Kauth helped found back in the 1980s.
In this week's podcast, Chris, Bill and Zoe discuss the best practices and critical success factors for how to create tribal ties in our own communities. The work is not easy, but nor is it impossible. And it is incredibly rewarding.
For those looking to develop more Social Capital in their lives, this will be a particularly relevant interview to listen to:
The alienation in our culture in general with the way the whole system is designed to keep us away from each other. It is actually designed that way. I do not think deliberately, but it in terms of the kinds of pathological values that too many of us hold, it is almost like it was designed to keep us apart and alienated. We are so swimming against the current in what we are doing.
I've studied all the research on this. It is the question that people have been asking for years: What is it that you most want in your life? Most everywhere else in the world, they always say love, family, and community. But in America, what do people go for? Money, instead of what they really want.
One of the big learnings we had was that you cannot call a group together and build a tribe. You actually have to start with one person at a time, which requires a champion or a founder, who then has the values and the structure ready to go, and introduces and invites the next person. Those two invite one more. It sounds slow, but it is actually not that slow. It is very deliberate and it is what works.
Click the play button below to listen to Chris' interview with Bill Kauth and Zoe Alowan (46m:57s).
Chris Martenson: Welcome to this Peak Prosperity podcast. I am your host, Chris Martenson, and it is August 30th, 2016. Today we are going to talk about solutions. Not the trivial sorts of solutions like which insulation is best or how much gold to buy. Today we are going to dive straight into the heart of why so many people are discontent[ed] and lack deep connections with each other, and therefore, resiliency. In a recent podcast with Sebastian Junger, he noted that returning veterans were almost universally dissatisfied with reentry into the very society they were sent overseas to protect. Some, so much so that they commit suicide. The name of his book was Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging. Where that book raised the need for something tribal in our lives, it left out the concrete steps toward getting there.
We know now, further, that the opposite of addiction is not sobriety, it is connection. Connection to others, but first and foremost, that begins with an authentic connection to self. How do we connect deeply with each other in ways that can promote both inner and outer connections that will truly inspire and uplift us, make us happier today and far more resilient for whatever tomorrow brings? Today’s guests are true cultural pioneers and real life practitioners of how to create and live in a tribal setting. No, not in a jungle with drums and all that. Okay, maybe drums, but we will have to ask them, but within the context of our modern Western lifestyles, living tribally within those. I will introduce Bill Kauth first, somebody who had a profound impact on my life.
In 1984, he cofounded the New Warrior Training Adventure of the ManKind Project. Having taken the ManKind weekend, that experience shifted my entire life trajectory and is at the root of my long running men’s group that focuses on emotional resiliency and preparing for the future. Bill is also the author of A Circle of Men, which came out in 1992 and has literally launched thousands of support groups, many of which have become communities. He met our second guest, the multitalented artist Zoe Aloman, at Burning Man. They married in 2008 and together they have been working with men and women building long-term, committed, and non-residential communities. Zoe is a painter, a sculptor, a dancer, a songstress, a mime, and a storyteller. Her work in women’s circles reclaims beauty and wisdom.
Together, they co-wrote the book We Need Each Other. Their new book is Time for Tribe: How to Build Your Personal Community, coming out in 2016. Welcome Bill and Zoe.
Bill Kauth: Thank you Chris. It is so good to be here.
Zoe Aloman: Thank you Chris. What a great introduction.
Chris Martenson: My pleasure, of course. So, set the stage for us. Why is a deeper sense of community needed at this time?
Zoe Aloman: Either one of us can take that. There is a profound increase in isolation and an almost tragic statistical decrease in friendship.
Bill Kauth: I am so glad you referenced Sebastian Junger’s book Tribe. Most of our friends have read it and it is so relevant, the pain of not having connection and community. It is just profound. It is almost like everybody knows that, but nobody knows what to do about it, which is why we took on this task of actually building our own tribe. It was not easy. It took us seven years to get the pieces right. We now have a beautiful tribe of 20 men and women that meet every single week. We are profoundly intimate and connected with each other. It is sure looking like we will be with each other for the rest of our lives.
Chris Martenson: Let’s go there. Where is this tribe of yours located?
Bill Kauth: Right here in Ashland, Oregon. One of the major theses of our particular thing is that we do not live together. We each have our own homes or apartments. We have a devotion to meeting face to face every single week, which you know from your men’s group that when you meet that often you just bond and connect. You stay connected. We also have a piece in our work and our training that we actually give ourselves the right to choose who we want to be with. We rather carefully chose our tribe and the new people that come into it.
Chris Martenson: Do you have anything to add to choosing a tribe, Zoe?
Zoe Aloman: I do. This is a huge piece of learning as we kind of failed forward in our growth. There has been this classic tendency for people to just say, “Okay, we are going to build a tribe. How about that everybody? Does that sound like a good idea, bringing people together?” That was the last time that group ever met. It took us a while to realize that people feel like they have to include everybody, and yet when that happened, like when Bill started something called In My Village right around the time I met him and heard about him. It was a great experiment that lasted for almost a year. It brought in people who were not able to build the kind of trust that was needed. A lot of this is about finding the conditions to rebuild trust.
Bill Kauth: What she is suggesting there is this. One of the big learnings we had was that you cannot call a group together and build a tribe. You actually have to start with one person at a time, which requires a champion or a founder, who then has the values and the structure ready to go, and introduces and invites the next person. Those two invite one more. It sounds slow, but it is actually not that slow. It is very deliberate and it is what works.
Chris Martenson: This sounds like something that would elude a lot of people, myself included, to just think about how I could go about starting something like this. It took you seven years to get it to where it is. It may seem easy now, but let’s talk about the basic elements. Suppose somebody wanted their own tribe. You say they would get started with that one person. They invite one other person, but obviously it is more than that. You cannot just invite somebody over and the next thing you know a tribe is going to spring out of whole cloth there. How do you really get started doing something like this? What is the intention you have to set? What are the practices?
Zoe Aloman: This is a big learning for us. We realized that somebody had to come up with the values and intentions, as well as commitment. Commitment is that big word, having just one other person join them. It was really when Bill wrote down the commitments and the values. He reached out to me and said, “Okay, I want you to fill out this piece of paper and agree to this.” I really saw that there was this transparency in there, speaking about your past and what you wanted to do with your life. There was also your willingness to commit to something. By actually signing that piece of paper, I was then able to give it back to him and say, “Would you fill out this testament of your intentions?” Then he did that. We had something to plot out that we could offer to other people who we felt had a kindred resonance.
Bill Kauth: There is a certain formality to it that actually works. It sounds a little squirrely, but it actually works, to do that and to make those commitments very precisely. It rests in your soul somehow.
Zoe Aloman: One of the big commitments, especially for us here in Ashland, is making a commitment to place. We are in a society where people are saying, “Well, I have been here for three or four years. I want to go to Nova Scotia or I think I want to go to Hawaii for a while.” It is really important to have people be willing to stay. I choose this region.
Bill Kauth: It is our number one commitment. If you do not stay put, you will never have tribe. You know that Chris. I know that you very deliberately chose where you live and built your place there, and everything.
Chris Martenson: The prime commitment for you is this commitment of saying I am going to stick around and show up. I presume that is another commitment. Is that the nature of them?
Bill Kauth: Yes, to show up. There is a promise to meet every week and a promise to tell the truth. It is really basic stuff, but we actually require that people get it and speak it. We created a little training, about 15 hours, and every new person has to go through this training so that they really get on the same page in terms of our values and intentions.
Chris Martenson: I want to hear more about that. We are going to get to the details in a second. I realize I probably skipped over something really important. I want to hear from you, just what you get from the tribe and what the benefits are. How is it adding to your life?
Zoe Aloman: It is an expanding experience and one that is kind of surpassing our expectations. It is really surpassing, because when you have people that commit to you and say, “I am going to commit to these values and I am going to commit to this for a minimum of one year,” even though there is a likelihood that they are going to commit for the rest of their lives – When you have people who have your back like that and they show up on a regular basis, like once a week unless they are traveling. But on a regular basis - it changes the dynamics of those people who have since stepped up and said, “Yes, I am in.” They are becoming these mirrors for you. You are being seen in a way that you have never been seen before. It starts to fill you up in this remarkable way, so that your work in the world increases just naturally because you feel so supported and helped.
Bill Kauth: It is kind of a soul filling in that sense of just really feeling loved. I had an experience several months ago. Zoe and I were the founders and after about a year, we had basically communicated everything we needed to communicate. The tribe was perfectly functional on its own. They de-rolled us. We asked them to de-roll us and take us out of the founder thing. They had a great ceremony and we just became regular Joes in the tribe. It took about a year. I had this visceral experience of just feeling like I could literally fall back into the arms of my tribe and I would be held, supported, and loved forever. It is just astonishing. I do not think I have felt that since I was a little kid.
Chris Martenson: I am detecting a lot of resonance with, sort of, the piecemeal elements I was getting from Sebastian Junger’s book and interview with him, which was that there are some core archetypal human patterns that really fulfill us when we get them. One I discovered in the ManKind Project was sitting around with just men, the safety and the intimacy that comes from that, which is totally different from a mixed gender circumstance. That has been very valuable to me. I did not know it until I had experienced it. I could have read 100 books on it, but as soon as I felt it, I was like, “This is something I was missing.” Are you starting to find, Bill, that people are reporting that level of experience with this, which is like they feel like they should have always been doing this, but did not know and they are glad they have it now? How is it showing up?
Bill Kauth: Incidentally, most of the men in our tribe are also in our men’s group, and the women have their women’s group. What we are experiencing right now in terms of the depth of what is happening is that our tribe is a little over three years old. We are kind of like a marriage. When you hit that two or three year point, shadows start showing up. Stuff that we have been able to tuck away. Because are so close and meet every week, the shadows are getting more obvious and because are committed to being with each other, there is a healing element that comes in so that we can actually invite each individual, as their shadows begin to show, to really get our arms around them and learn to love that part of them. The shadows just fade away.
Zoe Aloman: Part of our training involves a conflict resolution model that combines some of the Warrior clearings with nonviolent communication. We came up with our own hybrid of it. We have that to lean on. We have that as a foundation. We train people in that model and that is part of what we do in the new tribe training. We train people in all these different things that we have found were really imperative as strategies to build trust.
Chris Martenson: Zoe, I hear you. You have some of those tools that are excellent. Perhaps it is one of the commitments to process or work through the shadows when they come up. How does that part get brought into the tribe consciously?
Bill Kauth: One our values and our commitments is to integrity, which simply put, means to tell the truth. That is tantamount to working your stuff, right, when it comes up.
Chris Martenson: Yes.
Zoe Aloman: When stuff comes up, we have the tools and skills to be able to say, “Okay, let’s get the data and talk about how you feel about it.” We have added something in there that goes beyond that, which is: What this reminds you of from your past? What does this remind you of? Basically, you are staying with the feelings and being able to speak and reflect about what patterns you can see in your history of projections and coping mechanisms. It really enables people to come to resolutions.
Chris Martenson: In my own life, for anybody listening who has not had a lot of experience with inner processing like this, I have found that the more I learn about myself and how I operate with my shadows, my projections, my inner parts, and all of that, the more effective I am in the larger world. The skills and tools you are talking about, Zoe and Bill, where perhaps somebody listening could think sound peculiar and unique for a tribe. I want to raise this idea. For me, I find that those skills and tools have broad application well outside of my private life and are really helpful to me. I wonder if either or both of you have noticed that, as well.
Zoe Aloman: Definitely. This is the thing I did not realize when I first started this, is how full of growth it is for us personally and collectively.
Bill Kauth: We have been really surprised at it. It is a cauldron. We have created such a cauldron of growing and healing that it affects our lives dramatically, all of us. We can actually watch each other grow. It is astonishing and wonderful.
Zoe Aloman: Just yesterday we were in a meeting and this one woman who has been part of this for three years was saying, “I am just beginning to realize how much I need connection and intimacy. I have been going deeper and deeper, but I am still shocked by it. I did not really know. I thought I could just live with my partner, live with my husband, and not need anything else. I have been needing this all my life and I did not know it.”
Chris Martenson: I totally understand that. Can we get a definition? The word intimacy has come up twice now. Bill, can you define that for us? What do you mean when you say intimacy?
Bill Kauth: Sharing who we are as best we can. I need to make a distinction here. One of the things that is huge in our tribe is the gender safety. Zoe and I both attended a weeklong training down in Harbin called Clearing the Air Between Men and Women. We had to do a lot of work on our healing of our mother/father wounds before we got into that. In that container, we made the promise to not have sex with anybody in that container, it was half men and half women, forever. It created so much safety that we actually had the experience of what it is like to be with the other gender when it is profoundly safe, with no games and no bullshit. Just really being open. We built that into our tribe. That is one of the commitments for the gender safety, absolute transparency around anything that is sexual. At some level you do not expect that to come up anyway. To make the distinction, intimacy has nothing to do with sexuality. It has everything to do with opening our hearts and sharing who we are as emotional and spiritual loving beings.
Zoe Aloman: Intimacy, for me, as my friend Gordon Clay’s way of phrasing it, is into me I see, that ability to deepen your capacity, to look within yourself. You can see yourself reflected in another. As you can look in and be seen, so can you have the capacity to see. It grows.
Chris Martenson: Into me I see.
Bill Kauth: Into me I see.
Chris Martenson: Great. Here is a question. We have talked a little bit about some of the practices and tools, as well as the rationale and commitments that go into creating the tribe. Here is my question. How much has to be undone first, or unlearned, before that building can begin? How much of our cultural programing conspires to keep us isolated and superficial, therefore maybe lonely and not resilient, if I can coin a term?
Zoe Aloman: I think the first thing we have discovered, giving seminars all over the world on this, is people’s sense of livingness, or lack of worth. That has to be unlearned. The learning that we are worthy beyond our belief and gifted beyond our belief, that has been astonishing to me; that kind of self-judgment and self-criticism.
Bill Kauth: We have found that to do this at the level we are talking about requires having done some inner work, or being very courageous, because there is a lot of closeness. Folks are afraid of intimacy, by and large. They have been wounded, so they stay alone to keep themselves safe. We had a couple of terrific people that came into the tribe early on. Honestly, for all of their skills and education, they could not handle the level of intimacy. Bless them, I love them, but they had to leave. We have watched that phenomenon and really pay attention to it.
Zoe Aloman: We did not ask them to leave. They chose to leave.
Chris Martenson: I am sure a lot of people are going to self-select into that category and say, “Hey, maybe that is me.” What is the culture really doing to create that situation where, very deep down, everybody craves intimacy unless every Country & Western song is wrong? At the same time, the skills for doing it are actually so atrophied as to be utterly missing from some people’s lives. They have not had any exposure to it. This is not a condemnation of who they are. They have never been mentored. They have never been modeled. They have never been trained. Nobody has ever talked to them about it. It has been something you do not do. How do we get there?
Bill Kauth: That is a big one.
Zoe Aloman: I think it is step by step. There are ways in which we have brought people incrementally into this culture and into this environment where this is possible. Charles Eisenstein came out here several years ago and did a workshop. Following that, we decided to start something called Gift Circles. We would just gather together and we would speak our needs, something that we needed. Someone would take notes on it and send out the notes. People would just respond to people’s needs for simple things. In the beginning, it was so hard for people to say something that they needed, because they are more used to giving something. It is much more comfortable than to be vulnerable and to say the one little thing. One woman was just struggling with this. She was a worldwide teacher. She came up with, “I need help learning to put a signature page on an email.” Three or four people said, “I can help you with that.” That was big for her.
It is a genuine kind of asking. It is not like what happened in Fairfield, Iowa, with the group that started where somebody came to a group with a list, saying he needed your truck on Thursday. It is not that. It is a generous and vulnerable space, holding each other and listening for each other’s needs, fulfilling them. That meeting has gone on for almost seven years, that we have had that group. It has built a lot of connections.
Bill Kauth: Zoe is talking about something that is a lot lighter than the tribe, with very little commitment. I am sort of thinking that you were thinking about the alienation in our culture in general. That is such a big question. That has to do with the wealth and the way the whole system is designed to keep us away from each other. It is actually designed that way. I do not think deliberately, but it in terms of the kinds of pathological values that too many of us hold, it is almost like it was designed to keep us apart and alienated. We are so swimming against the current in what we are doing. The truth is that it is not easy. It has been very hard for us to do marketing up until now. This one in Asheville that is coming up, the new tribe training, is really filling up beautifully. It is the first on and it feels really right. We always interview people to make sure that they are settled at their home, and that they are in their place, because our task is not to provide tribe for people. It is to teach people how to create their own tribes.
Chris Martenson: Bill, since you mentioned it, I will pull it up here. I see that it is October 6th through 9th in Asheville, North Carolina. You have your first East Coast new tribe training.
Bill Kauth: Yes.
Chris Martenson: We will have a link to that to get to your website, because I want people to follow that if they want to get training and they are on the East Coast. You have one on the West Coast coming up in December. Is that right?
Bill Kauth: Yes. We try to do one here per year.
Chris Martenson: That one is December 1st through 4th in Ashland, Oregon. There is one East Coast and one West Coast. People can check those out. I would love to direct people there to that. In the seminars that I do, of course I have a very self-selected crowd that comes to them. Even these people, who are very curious and very alert, really pushing at the edges of what is culturally acceptable in terms of thought and experimenting, as well as how they are going to construct their lives, they talk about leading two lives. There is one they are actually living and the one they wish they were living. That one they wish they were living is always in the future. It is guarded until the kids get out of high school and are out of college, or something. There is a sense, I feel, that people understand that if they had a different structure in their lives they would be happier. They have placed that structure on reforming their lives at some point in the future. I am interested. Zoe, how is it that this tribal thing you have come up with is helping people recreate a new structure with the lives they already have?
Zoe Aloman: First, it is such a different success possibility, because we are living in our own homes. We are not talking about buying land or living on somebody’s land that has a lot of money and owns land. This reduces all that complexity. We are trying to start a co-housing community, which can take 30 years of meetings sometimes. I am exaggerating, maybe 15.
Chris Martenson: It will feel like 30.
Zoe Aloman: Yes. It is that you can do this by having the intent to meet in your own home. It builds the foundation by being able to do that. We also make agreements that our children are our first priority. Blood family or children’s needs have to be dealt with. That comes first. We support each other’s children. In the first years of tribe, I went to football games because one of the women had family in soccer and football. I went to baseball games. This is for them. I do not like football or baseball. It is like making this workable. It is not that hard. You can fit it into our world. You do not have to wait until you are house holders or are done being house holders.
Bill Kauth: I have studied all the research on this. It is the question that people have been asking for years. What is it that you most want in your life? Everywhere in the world they always say love, family, and community. In America, what do people go for? Money, instead of what they really want. We are actually just offering an opportunity for people to get what they really and truly want. As you suggested, people always have to put it off. It is complicated. It is still kind of a mystery to me, but what you have observed in your people is painfully accurate.
Zoe Aloman: I think there are two things at some point. One, we realize that we could live the good life now –
Bill Kauth: That is good.
Zoe Aloman: With simple things, great food, great friends –
Bill Kauth: When you have a loving community, you do not need a heck of a lot. You honestly don’t.
Zoe Aloman: There is a tremendous amount of support that comes from just the natural exchange of resources. It just goes on and on.
Chris Martenson: Help me understand. Paint the picture here of your last together, if you can as long as you are not potentially violating any privacy issues or permissions that you have not sought out or gotten yet. Tell us about your last meeting.
Zoe Aloman: Can I tell you about the last two meetings? I want to tell you about the last two meetings.
Chris Martenson: Let’s do that.
Bill Kauth: They were stunning.
Zoe Aloman: Two meetings ago, we were excited to look at and interview with Thomas Hooble. Do you know Thomas Hooble’s work?
Chris Martenson: Only because I clicked on his link through your website today. I really liked what I heard.
Zoe Aloman: One of the practices that we have done for the last three years is sitting up, looking into each other’s eyes, saying I am here to be seen. They say I see you, then the other person says I am here to be seen. They reverse it. It is a deep experience.
Bill Kauth: The key to it is that you drop deep into your heart and really feel that other person with love, and then say I see you.
Zoe Aloman: We had people watch the Thomas Hooble’s talk, which was talking about what his experience was traveling around the world. The greatest longing in people was to be seen. In this culture, most of us have not been seen by our family of choice. We spent the time deeply dropping into what people's’ feelings were, one by one, and their experiences of doing this with the I See You exercise and it felt like to them.
Bill Kauth: Each of us went to each other personally in the tribe. It took about 15 to 20 minutes.
Zoe Aloman: We went around and also did a check-in around it.
Bill Kauth: After.
Zoe Aloman: It was very interesting.
Bill Kauth: People had experienced such connection. Zoe and I experienced being buzzed, like falling in love buzzed, for hours after it that day.
Zoe Aloman: We have been doing this practice for three years, but we deepened it that day.
Bill Kauth: That is a piece of our tribe training, too. We do a lot of intimacy training in the tribe training, so that people can take that back and do that with their friends.
Zoe Aloman: Part of what we did that was in the check-in, of going around and checking, because everybody has two minutes’ worth of time where everybody has enough time to be heard, was everybody speaking about what that experience had been like over the last several years. It gave people an opportunity to actually speak about what they did not like about it. That is part of what we enable and hold space for, is people speaking whatever is up for them. That makes it a much more authentic experience.
Last week, which was just a few nights ago – People in our tribe have agreed upon these values. At some point, two people from the tribe said they wanted to revisit the values, now that we are all full members and we promised we were going to do that. As a small group, we were going to go through these and start reexamining them. Bill and I had been a part of that group. We had been meeting for a couple of weeks. We came to this one value that we had, which was celebration of relationships with divine presence, or with spirit. People still had issues with that. In our meeting, the facilitators distributed pieces of paper where we could write down whether we wanted it reworded, whether we wanted to toss it, and what our feelings were. Then we separated into small groups of threes. People talked about and we brought it back to the group. Everybody shared about it. It was interesting.
Bill Kauth: What it is doing is allowing shadows to come up again, as people make the values their own so that they fit. We are fairly mature group after three years, so we can do that.
Zoe Aloman: It is not just shadows. It is also the vulnerability and knowing that they could be heard. They could say whatever is true for them and still be accepted. There is still a place for their voice.
Chris Martenson: That is both a relieving and liberating moment, when you realize that you can bring out what is truly inside of you and not only not be shot down for it, but possibly even find yourself in a much more vibrant, connected, and alive sort of position in life. You are bringing your true self out and I think that is part of the deeper calling that is working here. I feel that angst that people are expressing. I might rephrase it and say somebody might be telling me a little bit sideways that there is really big stuff going down in the world, and they know they are either going to be a participant in making it a better world or they are not. How do I get up and start playing? I think this exercise you are talking about here, and you got right to it Zoe – When people can be vulnerable and allow their deeper selves to come out, they can clear through whatever that next layer is. They can get deeper into themselves and get closer to whatever their authentic gifts are, which change all the time as we grow and things change.
Bill Kauth: Well put.
Zoe Aloman: It really furthers resiliency and vitality. It makes us a much more resilient group because we are not so structured and so tight that we are in a box. As long as people know it is fluid and they have the strength to participate vitally, it is a much stronger field that is holding them, all of us. It is very resilient and resourceful.
Bill Kauth: As you said, we were de-rolled a couple of years ago. There is plenty of talent in our tribe, so a different individual or couple runs the tribe and brings something splendid in each week. It rotates.
Chris Martenson: Somebody is taking lead for the weekly meeting, as it were?
Bill Kauth: Yes.
Chris Martenson: You go to different houses?
Bill Kauth: Yes.
Zoe Aloman: We have somebody who takes notes at every meeting and sends them out, so we have what is called a Trusty Tribe Tracker.
Bill Kauth: We made that up ourselves.
Zoe Aloman: Some of them do not want to do the job. They saw we need an administrative assistant, and I say we need a Trusty Tribe Tracker.
Chris Martenson: Something floated by a while ago. It is bothering me and I want to bring it back forward. I am reminded of a Charles Eisenstein quote that said, “You cannot just have community as an add on to a monetized life. You have to actually need each other.” That is the quote. I am wondering how one goes about creating actual need with each other.
Bill Kauth: That is the gazillion dollar question. Somehow, it feels viscerally like I need my tribe. It just is the way it is. We have one our values that actually states we make a living together. We do not mean money by living. Somehow, we are finding our way toward the answer to that question, Chris. There is a non-monetary caretaking that happens a lot between us as social beings. Twice it happened in the meeting last week, where somebody was really hurt and went to somebody else in the tribe for support, or in this case, tapping one of those stress release techniques. They found some real healing. We never charge for that. That is what we do for each other, like family.
Chris Martenson: Zoe?
Zoe Aloman: There are many different situations. There is a woman in our group who needed therapy and she did not have the resources for therapy. In this case, we pulled together money and found her a really good recommendation for a therapist. We paid for ten sessions of therapy. After she went through that, she was so grateful. She was able to get back on her feet and get a job. She has been repaying back into this fund, even though nobody asked her to.
Bill Kauth: The name of our book is We Need Each Other, and that is purely from Charles Eisenstein, who we hold as a friend and a teacher. I wish I had a nice, clean, clear and crisp simple answer for you. It is something I am still grappling with as well. At what level do we truly and deeply need each other, which is true community or true tribe?
Chris Martenson: That is the thing I think Sebastian Junger found. When you are over there in your unit, and potentially even if your life is at risk, that need is just writ large and completely obvious. A gentleman I know said that he had a similar experience when he was caught out in the perfect storm. When I was relating this tribal thing to him, he said he was out on a fishing boat, not the one that sank obviously. If all eight of them on that ship had not been doing their jobs flawlessly, they would have sunk. Coming back from that, he said he has spent two decades fishing. Those are the seven guys he would go to work with right away. They would look each other in the eye and have a bond that could not be described or understood normally through other means.
Bill Kauth: I have that experience from the early days of the ManKind Project. Doing the New Warrior trainings they were unbelievable. Intense things would happen. Like with Rich Tosi and David Carr, I have those kinds of life bonded, almost military experiences that bond us forever. I think in our tribe, more and more as we play together and face the ferocity of your shadows coming up, where we literally have the trust and the ability to get pretty loud at each other sometimes. There is a bonding in that, that is visceral and permanent.
Zoe Aloman: We have also had people with medical emergencies here. One was very sudden and open heart surgery was required immediately. His wife was five hours away at a workshop. We just jumped on it and we had a team. Some went to the hospital with her, when he went to the hospital and returned. We formed a singing circle. The rest of us that could sat in this living room and we sang for him all the time he was undergoing open heart surgery. We have done that for a couple of different people who have had medical emergencies, because that happens in our world and in our age group, certainly.
Bill Kauth: On a simpler level, we will often meet somebody coming back from a dramatic trip overseas or something. Half a dozen of us will do that with signs and balloons. We just do that because we love each other. It is easy.
Zoe Aloman: There have been a lot of crises where people have shown up. They have shown up for us in situations. We live in a home that we rent. The one we rent from is in our tribe. He was going through a divorce and he was going to have to sell the house, the clubhouse. We put it out to the tribe. We said, “We are going to come over. People who know finance and mortgage are going to come. We are going to meet.” They were talking in a language we did not understand.
Bill Kauth: What were they talking about? They knew what they were talking about and they saved the day. They managed to make it easy for him to sell this property.
Zoe Aloman: Here we are, still.
Chris Martenson: Fantastic. I am sure a lot of people are intrigued at this point. I have to ask the obvious question, which is this. You want to start a tribe. You are giving it a go. What are your war stories here? What are the things to avoid, any hazard stories, stumbling blocks, or surprises that you can share that might save somebody some time and trouble?
Zoe Aloman: I do have one.
Chris Martenson: I am sure you have one.
Bill Kauth: Yes.
Zoe Aloman: It really came to my attention a few months ago, really clearly. The reason for coming together, the glue that is going to work, is not based on collapse. It is not based on survival.
Bill Kauth: That is highly relevant, Chris.
Zoe Aloman: We are very aware in our household about the environment and possible extinction. That has been a big push, for a durable safety net.
Bill Kauth: It is in our commitments.
Zoe Aloman: Yet, we have asked the members of our tribe about a year and a half ago what the most important need is for us in being in community. They said it was intimacy and connection. That is the glue that creates the safety net. We had a tribe that formed in a local town. They did our training. They put together something that was based on the reason for this and need for this being a safety net for times of collapse. It recently fell apart.
Bill Kauth: It collapsed. This is really relevant to your work, Chris. There was a time when I went around the world talking about what was going on. I went around the country talking about what was going on. Build your lifeboat now, and that kind of thing. It was hard on me and it was hard on the people that came to listen. That is not what they really wanted. Everywhere I went they wanted the mailing list because what I was doing was personal stuff. They were like, “Oh my God, I can be closer to other people. Can I have the mailing list?” That was my big clue that people want community. That is part of why I made the commitment to do this thing.
I have found this subsequently. I have put at least one line about building a new safety net because I know some people are paying attention to that. I can honestly not remember one person who has come and signed on who said they were here to build a safety net. I do not know whether that is so deep in shadows that nobody wants to say it or whether it is peripheral. Maybe they are in denial. That has been our experience.
Chris Martenson: I completely understand. I am totally agnostic as to why somebody goes toward a route that I consider to be more resilient. If the neighbor plants a pear tree because he likes the blossoms in early June, I do not care. I do care that the pear tree gets planted. For me, whatever works is best. Zoe, I can hear both in that statement. For me, here is my both/and. It is not that either I have a safety net or I am living in a community where we are doing these other wonderful things. It is both true, that the more I become intimate and connected, feeling that wonderful aliveness that I have in my community, the more resilient I become. My safety net is almost like an automatic feature of that, which comes along for the ride. I think you are right. It is important to know this. I think the opposite of that is not true. Building the safety net does not get you automatically, or potentially at all, the intimacy and closeness that creates the glue to provide that durability.
Bill Kauth: Your chapter 10, Emotional Capital in your book, actually handles that really nicely.
Chris Martenson: Thank you.
Zoe Aloman: It is whatever builds trust. That is the thing with the men with the fishing boat accident. Those men trusted each other. They were in a bad situation and they trusted each other. That was a forceful and visceral experience of that. We are doing that in a little bit longer process. We trust each other.
Chris Martenson: I would recommend sailing into a big storm at some point, if you are in a hurry and if you really want to goose the process.
Zoe Aloman: We have been through some very big storms in this tribe.
Bill Kauth: Because we are committed –
Zoe Aloman: We are not going away.
Bill Kauth: We are not going away, which means that when stuff comes up, we have to wrestle with it. That is our storm.
Zoe Aloman: Yes, we are not going to give up.
Chris Martenson: I am so glad to hear that. We are almost out of time here. I want to make sure people have the tools. There is the book We Need Each Other. I see that on your website, which is TimeForTribe.com. Is the next book out or coming out soon?
Zoe Aloman: It is not completed yet.
Bill Kauth: You are an author. You know how long these things take.
Chris Martenson: Absolutely.
Bill Kauth: We have been busy getting these seminars up and running, the new workshops. We have not been writing much lately. It will roll out in 2017.
Chris Martenson: I wish I could make it. Unfortunately, I will be halfway around the world on October 7th. Otherwise, I would be very interested in coming down to Asheville, North Carolina for October 6th through the 9th.
Zoe Aloman: Come to Ashland, Chris.
Chris Martenson: That is a possibility. It actually is. That sounds wonderful. I would love to see you again and I would love to do the training. I would love to continue the discussion and find out more about your amazing and very necessary, I think, cultural experiments. Let’s be clear. The culture we have built for ourselves is not working for too many people. It is also not working for the longer sustainability. We have to do new things. We have to take risks. We have to try some stuff. We have make a few mistakes. We have to learn. We have to keep moving. With that, is there any other thing I can direct people to, to help them stay current with what you are up to?
Bill Kauth: Go to our website and get on our mailing list. We will keep folks posted as to when our trainings come out and when the book comes out. If we have any blog stuff – My next marketing piece, which will be a blog piece, is that question you asked from Charles Eisenstein. What are these deep needs that we need? My point is to stay with us and get on our mailing list.
Chris Martenson: Fantastic. Bill and Zoe, thank you so much for your time today.
Bill Kauth: Thank you Chris. This has been fun.