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Tribes in the Western World

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I was flicking through my saved TV programme last night and stumbled upon one of the 'Tribe' episodes with Bruce Parry. I always love watching his series and have seen them all.

I remember seeing Tribe when it was originally shown, in the episode I watched last night he was in Africa and spent some time with one Tribe at a time when one of the young men was going through his initiation into manhood and had to 'jump' a line of cows.

What struck me when I was watching it were a few things. Bruce was asked, and given permission, to jump the cows too, and was voicing his concerns over his ability. The Chief said 'If he believes in his heart, he will succeed'.

What we all know in the 'civilised' Western World with the whole coaching mindset and ethos, what we believe we can transform into our self fulfilling prophecies. To hear the same from this amazing man in the depths of the Ethiopian tribal plains made me realise how 'young' our Western world and mind set is. We have, in fact, been living like this for centuries, but it would appear the advance of the civilised western world, whilst providing huge benefit in so many ways, has also allowed us to retreat and hide from some of the most powerful though processes and ways of 'being'.

The advent of the coaching profession and the change in corporate leadership styles, to me, is no surprise. We are waking up to how we used to be, the ownership of our life path, moving away from the 'blame' culture, taking self responsibility and aware of our place in the world and living with pride rather than self consciousness and fear.

Life does go full cycle and, as the wonderful Malcolm Gladwell told us in his fabulous book The Tipping Point, the collective consciousness can move mountains.

Once we all in the Western World collectively move from blame into self responsibility, from fear into joy, from resentment and jealousy into celebration of others, the global collective consciousness will ensure we make our dent in this universe - for the better. As we approach the end of 2012, will this really be the end to the way we have lived and treated ourselves and other people? Are we really moving into a more collaborative, sharing and respectful era? I do hope so.

What I also found really moving to watch was the 'ritual' all the young men went through to take them from adolescence into manhood. The jumping of the cows marked their journey from one state to another. The young man in the programme went through an arch - he was symbolically leaving his father's house and entering into his new world of manhood and responsibility. Only once he had 'jumped' the cows was he eligible to marry.

How many young men in the Western world have this ritual I wonder. Not having sons, or friends who have any, I don't have access to the world of young male adolescents, but I can't help believing the power of the ritual would help the path through the troubling and confusing time of adolescence. Do we really honour and value our young men today as we should? Or are we all trapped in the blame culture of assuming they are all 'trouble'. If they are trouble, is it really their fault or has our Western culture contributed to their confusion in finding their place in the world?

My hope and prayer going forward is for our wonderful planet to bring us all together in the spirit of collaboration, respect and joy. I feel hugely privileged to be living at the time I am, every day is a joy and a wonder.