Lift any gilded ray of sun, and you’ll find a trace of ebony ink.

Hey, you guys. I’m on the plane right now, leaving Nashville and whew here comes the reflection on this magical weekend at Jeff Goins' Tribe Conference that I’ve been promising.

A simulation of happiness

Before we get to that though, you know how I go on and on and on about community and the power it holds? Well, the truth is that I’m so obsessed with it because there was a long period of time where I only had a simulation of community. And you know what feels lonelier than having zero friends? Having zero real friends.

Honestly, most of it wasn’t that the people I was surrounded by were evil (ha!). No, no. They were actually, in large part, good friends. To each other. See, I was so wrapped up in so many layers of veils that I didn’t allow myself to get to know the people that made up my circle. I was so wrapped up in gauze of my own making that I didn’t even allow myself to know what materials made up my own core.

Lost years, or…?

I remember an old boss of mine used to have a practice of asking what I was doing for the weekend, or after work. He’d walk by my desk, which sat just outside of his, and I’d brace myself because, oof, did I feel the question coming. Rather, I’d feel coming the need to come up with a cool answer (AKA a series of false plans that I didn’t really have).

What was I really doing? Not much. I spent most of my time off work wandering. It’s almost like my body knew that I was lost before my mind did.

I’d walk around the shopping streets, picking up trinkets, putting them down. Sometimes, I’d bring shirts and scarves to the cash to purchase, before taking their neatly packed and pressed selves home, where I’d toy with them for a few moments before ultimately putting them aside—sparkle already faded.

It seems sad, doesn’t it? See me: walking around like a zombie, colour lost from my eyes. Too frail, mentally and (eep) physically.

Maybe it is sad, but who says sad is bad?

Sad ≠ bad

I could look back on those years (yes, yearS), as “lost years.” I could see me curled up on a couch, numbly watching television, and I could weep at that image. Or, I could look back at that time as a period I am so thankful for. Because it pushed me to a point of such inner turmoil that I finally took out a red, marbled journal I’d long discarded and said to myself, “Figure this out.”

(Ah, the first return to writing! You can read more about that story here.)

Now we’re onto the now, or rather, the past weekend. So let’s get in our mental time machines, okay? See me in 2018, happy as hell with people who had a few hours ago been perfect strangers.

“Wait, what?” old-me would have said, “C’est pas possible.”

Tribe Conference

I was asked by a new friend what my favourite part of the weekend was, and I looked at him without a doubt in my mind and said, “The people.”

I honestly never thought I’d see an answer like that truthfully slip past my lips. I thought I was destined to be a perma-lone wolf. Not that there’s anything wrong with being alone sometimes (or a lot of the time - I am!). BUT, there’s something so crucial to our animalistic human selves’ happiness that is satisfied when we’re with others that see us as we really are.

This word, “Tribe,” gets thrown around a lot these days. And some people scoff at it. Like, “Oh you’re on of those internet people.” Well, yeah, I am and I soak it all up and sprinkle it all back out. I mean, I LOVE that Jeff used this word to describe his community coming together, because, you know, it really was a traditional tribe-like feeling.

Picture 3 and a half days* of hanging out with people who’s souls are aligned with yours. Not their mission. Not their vision. Their souls. That’s what this was. Everyone, in spite of all identifying as writers and entrepreneurs, had such a different path they were paving. And yet, when you stripped back all our unique ornamentation, there was a feeling like, “Wow, our inner cores sort of—no wait really—match.”

That’s not to say, within the large tribe there weren’t mini tribes. Of course, we all found our “people.” But there was a shared fabric woven into each of our innermost beings. And that shared fabric? That was the magic.

I wish I could articulate it better, but I’m afraid I can’t, because it was an energy that clung to the particles of the air. Energy that, though invisible, was palpable. You could practically smell it.

As for all that I learned?

Let me know if you want that from me. I’m happy to share my notes. But I also know why most of you come here. And I know why we click. Usually, it’s soul-level “content.” (I hate that word, how about you?)

That said, if there is a desire for tactical notes on the business of writing, etc., I am happy to gift that to you.

My biggest practical takeaway though was to focus on your own lane. And my lane is my book. My novel. Which PS. is a fictionalized account of my darker years. So, if you’re interested days spattered in ebony ink, you’ll prob like the book.

(Though, caveat, it is heavily fictionalized and sensationalized—my character, as you know, has a significant mental health disorder.)

But anyway. You guys let me know if you want more on the blog than soul chats, okay? Because this is what I know, but you hold more knowledge about how I can serve you in your minds than I do.

Much love as always sweetests,

Mackenzie

*Tribe Conference was only 2.5 days, but hanging out with Jordin for an extra day provided me that additional 24 hours of Tribe-esque experience.