When my man and I decided to buy a house five years ago, we made a very deliberate decision. We wanted to live close to our friends. You’ve all heard that buying a house is all about location, location, location. I never knew just how much that rang true until we moved here. The first house we looked at in the area was sold before we had time to act on it. My man wrote a note to the buyer and left it on the front door. It said something like “We want this house. It’s in the area we want to be in, our friends (with kids) are close and we want to live near them. We know how much you paid for it and we’re willing to give you a few extra thousand than what you bought it for.” The buyer miraculously accepted our offer. He’d owed the house for less than a month. He was going to flip it and rent it out. His wife had just had a baby and I think he understood the importance of the community that we were trying to build.
The house was a side by side duplex. Over the next several months, my man pain stakingly converted it into a single family home. He removed a giant load bearing wall, vaulted the ceiling and built a lovely kitchen. He borrowed tools from our neighbors and many of our friends and family put in hours of grueling work to convert my house into a home. We’ve learned that it doesn’t really matter what your house looks like, that can be changed, updated, or added onto. What really matters is your community, having people that love you, preferable within walking distance.
Fast forward to the present day and our community, our tribe, has grown by leaps and bounds. Just this past month our friends sold their home in Texas to move to Minnesota in March, the snow still piled high. When they arrived, they were greeted by a mass of loved ones who had come to help them unload all their belongings and to celebrate. When there is a house for sale or rent in our area we let our friends know. We care who our neighbors are and want to see them thrive.
I feel so blessed to live in my community. I’ve learned that asking for help doesn’t need to be hard. Help will come at a moments notice and it will come from a genuine place. When I’m having a bad day, my friends make an effect to brighten it. When I need a few hours sans kids to work or have some me time, I have a number of people willing to watch my kids. We can say “wow, it’s really a nice day today. Who wants to come over for a BBQ and play some ball?” Within hours, 20-30 people will be enjoying each other’s company, kids running a muck, having the time of our lives.
Every member of my tribe thinks about each other’s well being. We ask ourselves, “how can I help?”. My dear friend, Rob Miller’s dream was to open a tap house and get his amazing beer to the public. We helped him every way we knew how. We invested our time, money and services to make his dream come true. That’s what you do for a friend. Every time I walk into Dangerous Man Brewing Company I feel the love oozing out of every crevice of that place.
When times get tough, they are there. After I had a miscarriage (at 16 weeks) my ladies planned an evening of healing for me. Just to show me that they supported and loved me. It’s just what I needed. They inspire me. They helped me find the inner strength and courage needed to have my babies at home.
I know that I’m lucky. I wish every one had a group of friends this good. I think of the women, just having had a baby, feeling alone and wondering what she got herself into. I can relate. I can say without a doubt in my mind, my tribe has helped me immensely with raising my children. I am forever thankful. Not everyone is this lucky though. That is one of the reasons I started a women’s circle. Julie Colby from Lady’s Slipper Wellness and I got a group of amazing women together with the purpose of spiritual development. We share a sacred place where we can learn and grow from each other. A place where knowledge is shared, honored and valued. Amazing things can happen when you create a tribe mind.
I am also spearheading another women’s group. This time it’s with the ladies in my tribe. The focus of this group is to learn survival skills. It’s similarly structured. Every month, two women pair up and choose a topic they’re interested in. They research the topic, practice it and present to the group what they’ve learned. These women are all quite athletic so it’s only natural to include physical activity in the mix. It takes stamina to survive in the wild. This makes the personal trainer in me so pleased. Our first gathering will be later this month. The subject is fire building. Stay tuned, I may post a video.
I believe that by coming together with a purpose and shared vision, change and growth are possible. You may not be able to change the world single handedly but you can start a movement. Create a ripple. Share what you’ve learned. Empower others to find their inner strength, courage and wisdom.
I encourage you to find or create a place where you belong. Surround yourself with people who make you happy. People who make you laugh, who help you when you’re in need. People who genuinely care. They are the ones worth keeping in your life. Everyone else is just passing through.