When Tribe’s co-owner Cari and I first became friends 10 years ago, our time together mostly consisted of drinking wine and talking work gossip with other instructors after class. Over the years as the seasons changed and our rendezvous locations shifted from sunny patios to cozy fireplaces and back, our large group dwindled to just a remaining few, as people moved out of the city, state and even country.
We began to work more closely with each other in our (now mostly administrative) jobs, and more of our time together was spent under the influence of the jet fuel strength coffee from the staff kitchen instead.
Through shared remorseful mornings (Too much wine last night? Let’s fix it with jet fuel!) we started to recognize a common thread in both our pasts:
- a history of ‘less than optimal’ treatment of our bodies
- a desire to make healthier lifestyle choice
- an utter lack of the willpower and self discipline required to permanently eliminate our bad habits.
Poaching the internet meme, we began to refer to this as ‘The Struggle’.
The Fix it Phase
Over the years we’ve explored numerous healing and self improvement modalities. Some extremely enjoyable (crystal singing bowl meditation, salt caves, Gong baths) and some excruciatingly out of our comfort zone (pretend this person you just met is your parent and you are your child self; tell them all the reasons you are mad at them. Identify your biggest fear and then overcome it by snapping a stick in half with you and your partner’s tracheas). But all experiences, good and bad, have been helpful in shaping and molding us in some way towards that seemingly elusive goal: optimal health of mind, body and spirit.
Some days we are better at making good choices than others. We fall off our healthy living wagon frequently, but we dust ourselves off and get back on. We find that each time it gets a little easier to get back on, we don’t fall as far off, or we can last longer than the time before.
Helping Others with The Struggle
Experiencing The Struggle in our own lives makes us aware of the need to meet people where they are. Change can’t be forced from the outside. All we can do for others is educate, motivate and inspire when they are ready.
Cari and I spent years beating ourselves up for repeating the same mistakes and not learning the lesson and it didn’t get us anywhere. There is a fine but distinct line between complacency and being kind and forgiving of yourself. Finding that right balance of forgiveness mixed with determination to create change has probably been the most difficult challenge for both of us.
What we have found helpful is:
- Owning up to your failures (to an empathetic, supportive friend, and yes, sometimes over ‘therapeutic wine')
- Keeping a sense of humor
- Acknowledging that every small positive change you make is a step in the right direction
- Celebrating achievements vs focusing on failures
- Recognizing that bad habits are just our misguided ways of seeking comfort for ourselves
I have personally found the last one to be huge. If a friend or family member is feeling poorly or emotionally upset, I jump into immediate action with lemon and manuka honey, essential oils, homeopathic remedies, flower essences, supplements, or whatever natural remedy is indicated for their condition. I feed my cats a homemade species-appropriate diet, give them supplements twice a day in a stimulating environment and I wouldn’t dream of letting them eat junk. So why could I not take such good care of myself and give myself the things I know my body or mind needed vs (what I thought I) wanted? I could write another blog about that…
A Community of Strugglers
A fellow healer said to me in frustration once ‘”Why can’t people just do what they know they need to do to heal?!” I was at a loss for words. I can only assume it was a rhetorical question, as the answer is glaringly obvious to me: Because that s#*t is hard! We’re brainwashed by drug, food and heath gadget commercials into thinking we can just buy ourselves a quick fix and continue doing whatever we want. So why would we bother doing it the hard way?!
Tribe is a community of people who respect that nobody is perfect; that eating salads and the right amount of vegetables, making fresh juices and smoothies, cooking from scratch at home, drinking lemon water, working out, meditating, oil pulling and everything that we are supposed to be doing daily for our health is close to impossible for many, if not most, people. Life often just gets in the way. Deepak and Dr. Mercola, we love you, but your level of commitment borders on superhuman.
If we’re honest, we find people for who healthy lifestyles come easy a bit boring. What inspires us is someone who finds it difficult and does it anyway; cursing and swearing their way through it if necessary.
We hope that by forming a community of like-minded people we can:
- educate others on simple ways to begin improving their health
- support people on their journey of trying, and sometimes failing, to make lifestyle changes
- teach everyone how to take ownership of their health and well-being
- learn to treat ourselves, and others, with compassion and kindness (and a sense of humor), always.