Independent Women – History in the Making

History has a strange way of making the world seem simultaneously vast and small; old and new. Perspective always has a way of changing the way you see the world, and, like an optical illusion, you’re never able to grasp the full picture at the same time. Look too closely and you miss the big picture. Grasp the big picture and you miss the interesting details.

I was given a little bit of perspective not that long ago when I volunteered to help with Tribe Table @ Bentonville Film Festival and got to listen in on the stories of women in the film industry while they were interviewed by Tribe of Women founder, Amy Robinson. One guest talked about how women have only been “allowed” to have credit cards within the past 40 years. Another talked about her previous work experience as a sales associate in the late 1990’s and how she was only allowed (that word again) to work on a sale up to a certain dollar amount, at which time a man would have to come and finish the deal.

Shock… Then Awe

I was shocked. Not only because they didn’t think that women didn’t have financial rights, or that someone who had done all of the work to get a sale to where it was, could suddenly not seal the deal, but that this occurred the past few decades, and within my lifetime.

And thus, out of curiosity and a desire to understand and contextualize the progress of women in history, I was inspired to develop my own timeline, “A Brief History of Women’s Independence”. I wanted to remind myself of just how recent the rights I often take for granted were won. In particular, I wanted to give myself a little bit of perspective on women’s rights – how far we have progressed, how much we can accomplish in mere decades, and how far we still have to go.

I cannot stress enough that this is a brief and biased history (as is most history). In honor of the 4th of July, I decided to focus only on women’s independence in the U.S. beginning in the 1770’s. Even with this shortened time frame, I’ve missed a lot. For example, I didn’t include the still current #MeToo movement or that there’s a record number of women running for office – that history is still being written. One of the biggest things missing from this timeline is the social attitudes and prejudices. For example, I would be surprised to find in any of my history books the limits and discrimination of financial rights for women, or the year women they were finally allowed to finish the sales they started. Or maybe it hasn’t happened yet? At least for some.

So, while this exercise has helped put things in perspective for me, I realize it is only my perspective – a young woman in the United States of America perspective – and that there are other perspectives to add and stories to be told. Societal attitudes and prejudices have a much more mercurial nature than laws and history portray. When looking through textbooks it’s easy to find when a law, such as voting rights for women, was enacted. However, when society’s attitude changes to accept the underlying premise of that law, that “Women should be treated as equals to men,” – is not so easy to pinpoint. Maybe because we haven’t arrived at that point in herstory. At least not everyone. At least not yet.

Herstory

History is organized by numbers, but it’s perpetuated by stories. Only through storytelling do we learn about others, ourselves, and our world.

Artist: Shepherd Fairy’s “We the People” Series

Like I said, this timeline is biased. I leafed through history and picked out things that interested me, but the timeline is missing stories that I can’t tell, a depth that I can’t add. Within one of our pillars at Tribe of Women is “Tribe Stories” – the place where we connect. And that’s what we ask from you, our readers. Any stories you have, of how women’s rights or societal attitudes have changed (or have not changed), of yourself or of others, we urge you to share, to write, to tell. Your stories are part of the narrative of herstory lived and that is still being written.

Your Story

What historical events do you think should have been included? What stories or memories do you have of historical changes in laws or in attitudes? What are you celebrating this 4th of July? Please share in the comments below, post on the social media thread where you found this blog, or send it to us directly at info@tribeofwomen.modthink.net with “Independent Women” in the subject line.

Ask Amy – Why Do We Include Men?

A note from Amy, about Ask Amy…

Tribe of Women unofficially started in 2014 after my TEDx Talk “I Believe in Tribes of Women” after which I started digging deeper and asking YOU the question – “Why do we need tribes of women?” I knew what it meant to me, but I wanted to know what it was (or wasn’t) for you. A couple of years later, I started Tribe of Women, and now here we are! During the time I have been asking questions, I’ve also been gathering answers. “Ask Amy” is based on your common (and ongoing) questions, and mine. These answers are a culmination of where we have arrived on this journey. Together.

How or Why do we include men in conversations about equality?

Yup. This is one of the common ones! People are attracted to and intrigued by “Tribe of Women”. If they don’t know much about us, I get questions like: 

  • “Men want to help as well. Why don’t you include us?”
  • “If women have their own spaces/meetings/clubs, why can’t men?”

If they do ask, “Oooo. What’s that!?” and I say, “We build cultures of women supporting women and more good men”, it doesn’t take long for:

  • “Why would/do you include men in Tribe of Women?”
  • “Why should we include men when we have been excluded for so long?”

I want to begin by referencing a few of my favorite good men organizations. One of the things that men have to face again and again is, “The Man Box,” the stereotypes of what a man should or shouldn’t be. There’s a wonderful organization called Catalystfocused on “workplaces that work for women”. Some of their research addresses the man box as part of the equation of inequity and inequality. And I agree! The stereotypes of what a man should or shouldn’t be are just as limited as who we should and should not be as women. Another organization started by a good man, Tony Porter, is “A Call to Men. “ It began after his TED Talk and works to break down the components of a “man box” and help men break free of it.

So, “why do we (Tribe of Women) include in men in conversations about equality?” Like many-a powerful thing, it begins with my favorite F word – Feminism. Feminism, despite its name, is not just for my fellow “females”. Feminism is for everyone, because feminism is about choice. That’s right. We don’t want to be in a box about whether we go to work or stay home, wear pants instead of a skirt (it was not so long ago, ladies), or become a doctor instead of a nurse. When women have this choice without judgment, it opens up the door for men to have choices as well (without being called “m-urses” for, pity’s sake).

Not that long ago, there was no choice in this matter. Women stayed home, and men went to work. You didn’t hear about “stay-at-home dads.” Remember the 80’s film “Mr. Mom”? A comedy about a man staying home with the kids. It was a comedy, of course! Who’d ever heard of a man taking care of home and family!? Haha!!!… That was only 30 years ago, friends.

Yes, AND

When I’m asked about the exclusivity of a group of men or women coming together, I say, “Yes, and.” And what I mean by that is – Yes, women need safe places to connect and empathize with one another, to put it all on the table so we can deal with it. As Michelle Obama says, “Women straighten each other out on some things,” – that’s what those safe places for women are there for – a place where we can sort out our mess and work through it. The problem seen is a problem solved.

Now for the men, I want to finish that quote from the lovely Michelle, “Women straighten each other out on some things… But y’all (men) need to go talk to each other about your stuff. Talk about why you are the way you are.” So Yes, women need exclusive places to sort things out, And, men should do the same! Get together and sort out your stuff as well. Yes, we need exclusivity in some respects, And, we need to continue coming together because it is in our time together where we build empathy, compassion for one another.

I think it’s very important that women have places where we can be exclusive and talk about things that only women have to deal with. Women need places to work out our stuff and figure out how to navigate and support one another, and men do too. Men need to have spaces where they can discuss the “man box,” talk about paternity leave, showing emotion, and being partners, fathers, men in the world. Then, we can come together, feeling confident and comfortable sharing our whole selves. (Have you seen Man Enough”!? That. Do that!)

Tribe of Human

Ultimately, when I get asked specifically about why “more good men” is a part of our mission statement, it’s because our vision is Tribe of Human: a tribe that listens to one another and cooperates through empathy, sympathy, and compassion. At Tribe of Women, our goal is to create places where women can be fully themselves. And that means men can be fully themselves, too. One of the things we say a lot is that when we celebrate good men (when we see it, point it out, and cheer it on), there will be more. We include men in our conversations about equality because women finding our place at the table does not mean pushing men out. We include men in our conversations about equality because it’s through these conversations that men and women alike will find a way to share who we are, empathize, show compassion and get one step closer to our ultimate goal – Tribe of Human.

I still have questions! And I bet you do, too. Please send them directly to me at amy@tribeofwomen.modthink.net with “Ask Amy” in the subject line and we’ll keep the conversations going. Together.

Love Your Tribe – Get 1 & Gift 1

We feel so loved, and we have YOU to thank!

A few months ago, the Tribe of Women team spent the day in one of our favorite retail shops in our hometown of Fayetteville, Arkansas – Handmade Market. Owners Shannon and Bryan Gott have been supporters of our mission and vision since the very first sparks of the movement started to fly, and we were thrilled to have our inaugural retail merchandise available in their shop throughout the month of February, which we have dubbed “Love Your Tribe” month.

Love Your Tribe event at Handmade Market | TribeofWomen.com

Our first batch of Love Your Tribe t-shirts arrived from our sponsor Wildheart Printing just in time  to be premiered that month, and we were tickled to hear that you love them as much as we do. Now, the shirts are for sale online on our website, under our Shop tab!

Thanks to our partnerships with Arcade Coffee Roasters and Savageann products we were able to promote our “Get 1 Gift 1” motto. Handmade also has some of their regular merchandise priced to inspire the desire to get one for yourself and gift one to your tribe.

Love Your Tribe event at Handmade Market | TribeofWomen.com

During our open house at Handmade, love busted out all over in the back room. We covered a couple of tables with paper and stickers and assorted supplies and encouraged anyone who wanted to get their craft on to make cards for their tribe. We love the conversations that happen when women come together – some who know each other, some who don’t – and get busy making.

Love Your Tribe Recap | TribeofWomen.com

So, thank you so MUCH to everyone who was part of this first foray into the retail world and bringing Tribe of Women swag to market. If you are a retailer or creator that would like to do retail partnership or events with us, please contact us at info@tribeofwomen.modthink.net.

Just want to stay in the know about new products, get coupon codes, and be entered to win gifts from us when you Join THE Tribe and our newsletter.

We love our tribe. And thank you for loving us RIGHT BACK!

Boss Lady: Loria Oliver’s Sanity Saving Invention

We are thrilled to share our interview with Loria Oliver, inventor of the Tot Tote! Loria was excited to share her journey and encourage women to be the boss ladies they aspire to be at the quarterly Boss Lady Mixer in February, hosted by i’Mindful Gives Back. Tribe of Women is proud to be a partner for this event and bring you the stories of these boss ladies.

Momspiration

Loria and her husband had their first son in 2011 and quickly added another bouncy baby boy to the family in 2012. With boys so close in age and active, life was beautiful but the car was chaotic. Animal crackers, juice boxes, books, and toys were everywhere in the back seat and Loria set out to find a solution.

Loria Oliver Family Time Two Boys Mom Ventor Harry TV Tot Tote Invention

Back seat car stress soon took a front seat when she discovered that a kid-friendly, fun and creative solution that was also useful did not exist on the market. She knew she was not the only parent experiencing frustration at the extra time it took to stay organized, so she put her empathy to work and began her entrepreneurial journey to solve a problem for herself, and moms and dads everywhere.

Loria’s Tot Tote invention now exists on the market to support families like hers who are seeking to spend less time cleaning up and more time being together. It’s versatility as a traditional tote bag or backpack surprises and delights anyone with a desire to keep the car tidy when it also opens up to become a back seat organizer! 

A Matter of Perspective

“My perspective as a woman is a huge part of how I think about developing a product, promoting it, creating partnerships and selling. Being a mother inspired me and reminded me that there are still opportunities to create, to take risks, and to continue to believe and encourage myself like I do daily for my children. I don’t put boundaries on what success looks like for them, so why should I do that to myself?”

And if your perspective on the world is calling you to do something about it?

“For other ladies looking to develop ideas, my advice is to not give up, to be flexible in making edits, connect with people who have different skill sets than you, be able to take critical feedback, and have fun with the process.”

Tribe it Forward

Creativity Colorful Designs Women Entrepreneurs Tot Tote Bag

The tribe of women who supports Loria is comprised of the women in her family who still catch her when she falls, her childhood friends who she has had for over 25 years and tell her the truth even when it’s been hard, and women who she has met in adulthood who have cheered her on when she didn’t know how to cheer for herself.  Loria says, “Recently, I’ve collaborated with two women on an exclusive line of Tot Totes for downtown Bentonville boutique Rollie Pollie. It was an awesome process and I look forward to doing it, again!”

Women are so powerful when we come together. Aren’t we? Go Team Tot Tote & Rollie Pollie!

Why do you believe in tribes of women?

“Having women who believe in you is a gift but it doesn’t come without work. Finding those women starts with you. Be a woman who supports, listens and encourages. Be a woman who is honest, transparent and gracious. Build your network of women by being the woman you want to attract.”

Boom! You are so boss, lady. Thank you for sharing your journey and story with us, Loria. We’re looking forward to all that is ahead for you.

Do you know a Boss Lady? Comment and share a little bit about her here!

2017: The Year of Women

As a staunch advocate for women and newest team member to Tribe of Women, Amy asked me to write this summary of 2017 as a new perspective, in a new year, in a seemingly new era for women. It has been quite a ride! I don’t know about you, but I have somehow felt completely undone by the events of this year while simultaneously being uplifted by the kindness of my tribe and others all around me. Glennon Doyle speaks often of the reckoning and the revolution or the pain and the rising. The former always has to come before the latter, she says, and that is what we are living through- “first the pain, then the rising”.

So much has happened this year in our personal lives, communities, and society as a whole. Throughout it all, I hope you’ve found ways to engage with your support system, your tribe, in ways that make it all a little easier to process and take action where it is needed. No one can know what the year ahead will bring, but I know that we can never go back to a time when women’s voices were silent and we did not support one another. This has been declared the Year of Women, and I couldn’t agree more!

This year has highlighted the ways women reach out and support each other and how when that happens, we can move mountains. Early in the year, we spent time at the Bentonville Film Festival interviewing filmmakers from around the world working to bring diverse voices to media and film. Later in the year, the women of Hollywood have played a key role in being the  “The Silence Breakers”, and Time Magazine’s Person of The Year. As a group of people who came forward to start a conversation about sexual misconduct across the globe, these were predominantly women who came forward to report their all too similar stories about men in positions of power. Now they have their own tribe. This #MeToo movement (started in 2007 by Tarana Burke and amplified by actress Alyssa Milano) started a painful but necessary conversation about the frequency of sexual harassment, assault, and violence in our culture. In my day to day conversations with my tribe this comes up a lot – women everywhere are still grappling with the aftermath – now that our pain is in the light what do we do with it? How do we move forward when others being brave and speaking up triggers us in dealing with our own experiences? To help us with these questions, Amy interviewed Anne Shelley of the NWA Center for Sexual Assault for the Tribe Talk Podcast to help us learn how to talk with and support one another. This is not an easy or a quick process, but I know we cannot move forward unless we do it together.

Womens March on Washington 1 Tribe-it-forward-sign

Outside of the #MeToo movement, this has been a year of women coming forward to lead in all aspects of life, particularly in politics. Women marched, called, and protested so much Merriam Webster named feminism it’s word of the year in 2017. There is no way our favorite F-word would have been word of the year without this incredible year of women. Since the women’s march that engaged the nation (check out Episode 4 of the Tribe Talk podcast for Laurie Marshall’s interviews from Washington) over 20,000 women have stepped forward to run for office at all levels of government. These women are bringing more women with them – on their campaign teams and as advisers- so there can be a greater diversity of voices. We know that women working together changes systems and cultures, and that empathy – the power behind the way we tribe it forward – makes it so women fight for other women even when an issue doesn’t affect them directly.

We have seen this happen in a myriad of issue areas. Women-owned business and women investing in women is on the rise! We learned so much about this when we teamed up with other entrepreneurs to bring a screening of the movie “Dream, Girl” to our local area and interviewed the director, Erin Bagwell, for the podcast. Tribe of Women has sought out partners, and we’re so fortunate there are so many incredible women-owned businesses to choose from. We love our retail partnerships with Mood & Market who’s UNDERWear line of tees give a portion of the proceeds to the Tribe Talk workshops we do for non-profit organizations like Dress for Success. Our events and adventures with i’Mindful for their Boss Lady Mixer series, and Ea Chica, Wendy J. Poole, Gold Hand Girls on the Team Together workshop, have been memorable and we look forward to even more coming in 2018. Tell us about women-owned businesses you support! We’re always looking for more ways to partner.

However you supported women in 2017 and however you plan to continue that in the 2018, know that Tribe of Women is grateful for you. Without you, we would not have been able to have such an exciting year and we are so looking forward to the year ahead. For Tribe of Women 2017 has been a year of exciting growth- our team has expanded and the movement is gaining steam. In our first year of being a trademark company we have been able to do more than we thought possible- a podcast, blog, retail, workshops, events, and 3 coaching series! None of this would have been possible without YOU. Our hearts are full from all the women (and good men) who have reached out and connected us about our mission over the past year.

Finally, this has been the year of learning about what works. Check out Amy’s video with her New Year wishes for you, and giving a teaser of what is to come for Tribe of Women in 2018 – a year of creating new and exciting content for you all to engage with and continue to grow the tribe. We are already planning more events, coaching series, and a new weekly “Ask Amy” facebook live segment!

The Tribe Team has been so inspired by the year of women! We want to keep the momentum going so 2017 is just the beginning of a new norm and a new era where all women are heard and valued.

From our tribe(s) to yours, thank you for a wonderful 2017!

To stay up to date with us in the year ahead be sure to subscribe to our newsletter, where everything will drop first, at https://tribeofwomen.com/join-the-tribe/.

 

Hard Holiday Conversations: 5 Tips for Navigating Friends, Family & Politics

The holiday season has officially begun, which means a flurry of activity and celebrations with loved ones. These events can be full of joy and warmth! They can also be full of anxiety and avoidance for fear of what we say (and don’t say) around tables and during gatherings of family and friends.

Our individual tribes, the collective tribe of women, and tribe of human all benefit when we have open and honest conversations about what is going on both personally and politically because the personal is the political. We want to think that avoiding the conversation will keep the peace, but not speaking our own truths and openly exploring the truths of others creates a build-up of tension that goes unresolved and comes out in other ways. You know, like eating all of the gooseberry pie to keep from engaging in Aunt Mable’s news commentary. And you don’t even like gooseberry pie!

“Our work, our relationships, and our lives succeed or fail one conversation at a time.While no single conversation is guaranteed to transform a company, a relationship, or a life, any single conversation can.” As discussed during our TribeTalk podcast episode 9 with author Susan Scott, and in her book Fierce Conversations, these conversations with coworkers, friends, and family are important to maintaining (and growing) our relationships.

With these conversations, you will likely face one of three outcomes…

  1. Everyone agrees!  There is joy throughout the tribe. Time with your tribe should provide an opportunity to talk through ideas and discover how you all may truly feel about a topic. Sometimes everyone has the same opinion. Having a group of supportive friends who all have different experiences can provide wonderful insights and an excellent dialogue on a topic.
  2.  It is better for you to agree to disagree. This is not a disservice to any of your ideas. It is simply an agreement that your friendship is more important than whatever disagreement you are experiencing. Know your limits in this situation. Do not let your political opinions flood how you feel about a friend.
  3. It is not the time to state your thoughts or opinions. For reasons of decorum, audience, topic, or other reasons, it’s just not the right time to have the conversation. You may want to return to your discussion at a later date. Or, you may discover that you would rather not engage in the discussion at all. It is completely your decision and taking time to think through how best to approach it is crucial.

The key to navigating these conversations is to create a trusting environment with your tribe where your individual opinions and voices can lead to some insightful conversations if you allow them to happen. Now, here are your…

5 tips for navigating political (personal!) conversations

1. Know your opinions & that your voice is important

Know what issues you feel passionate about and where you stand on them. If you don’t know where you stand yet, do not simply play “devil’s advocate” because it may weaken your views and undermine its importance to you.  Know which ideas make you want to speak up, and recognize when it is okay to stay quiet.

It is important to know how you feel about an issue when it comes up in conversation. There may be some topics that you do not have an opinion on (personally, I will never feel very strongly about tax policy). There may be other issues that you want to fight fiercely for (pineapple DOES go on pizza). Most importantly, know that your voice is powerful and meaningful in your community. You bring an opinion that deserves to be heard!

2. Understand there are some situations where saying nothing is NOT an option

No matter the topic, there are some situations when we will need to step up and step into a conversation.

  1. When someone is actively oppressing or harming another
  2. When they are spreading information you know to be untrue  

We all have certain topics that personally affect us, therefore limiting our ability to remain silent. For example, when I find people are disenfranchising individuals or perpetuating harmful ideas (i.e. rape culture), I cannot remain silent. In these situations, I speak up. We have a responsibility to stand up, say something and defend those who are being oppressed. Audre Lorde said, “I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own.” It is important to know that you have the power and freedom to stand up for others and that sometimes it will be necessary for you to do so.

3. Defuse situations that are high-stakes for your tribe

 When fierce conversations turn into high-stakes arguments, it can be important to identify tangible actions that can help resolve the conflict. It is vital that everyone can see both sides of the issue when it is a situation where there are two sides. This will not always be the case, but when possible following through on the idea of “walking in someone else’s shoes” or seeing things from another’s perspective can be helpful. One way to take a conflict and turn it into action is to attend an event or watch a video to gain a better understanding of a different perspective.

An example of this can be seen when two people are arguing the effects of public and private schools. Person 1 thinks public schools are great because their child makes friends of all backgrounds while private schools promote an elitist attitude. Person 2 thinks private schools are wonderful because the teacher focuses on their child while public school teachers cannot expend the energy to focus on just one of their thirty-five students. Person 1 could go with Person 2 to a festival at the private school to see what great things are happening there. Person 2 could attend a band concert at the public school with Person 1. By seeing both sides of the issue, they could diffuse the argument and have steps to move forward.

This may be an unrealistic scenario, as experience sharing is not always something people are open to, but it is important to encourage others to get out of their comfort zone because that is how our perspective grows. Also, remember that a myriad of organizations have resources and training devoted to the promotion of diversity and inclusion. Using these organizations to move past an argument is also be an excellent idea.

4. Call people in instead of calling people out

Establishing a culture among your tribe of calling people in as opposed to calling someone out for contradictory or counterproductive behavior will translate beyond politics for the health of friendships. While the goal of calling people out is to get them to change their behavior, it also often results in hurt feelings. Calling people in has the same goal but is done in a more compassionate way that involves letting a person know that they said something hurtful or misinformed and walking with them through how to correct what happened or improve for the future. It involves one-on-one education and conversation and assumes that the person had the best intention.

5. Make “politics free” time with your tribe

Regardless of how frequently or infrequently your tribe discusses politics, it is important to dedicate time away from such issues to connect beyond them. We are stuck in a 24-hour news cycle and social media stream (or fire hose, as it feels) that we all need time away from. We must take time to care for ourselves and each other, so we can go back to fighting the good fight in our communities every day.

We are better together

Taken together, these tips may help you to navigate the murky waters found when friendship and politics mix. We are stronger together than divided, even when our opinions differ, and together we can bring change for all. We will have moments where we must agree to disagree with members of our tribe. This is not a disservice to ourselves, nor a dismissal of individual ideas. Instead, it is an agreement that the friendship is more important than conflict. Ultimately, having confidence in your voice and opinion, coupled with a willingness to engage in fierce conversations, will help you to say what you need to say when you need to say it.

What have you found to be useful in conversations about politics with your tribe? Was there something you wish you’d done better? Do you have an additional tip? Please leave them in the comments below!

Tribe Stories: Reflection, A Daughter’s Story

We hear so many wonderful Tribe Stories from women all over the world and do our best to capture and bring them to you. They are a path to connection and feeling seen, heard, and felt by others. While we love the recorded stories we are able to share on the Tribe Talk podcast, the written stories are equally powerful. Especially when the words and story are coming from the heart of the author herself.

I was so fortunate to meet Constance Anne. She is an ageless beauty with an undeniable presence that speaks with an honesty that only a life-well-lived and loved can support.  When she learned that we collect Tribe Stories, she said, “I have one for you.” And now, in her words, we have it to share with you.

Love, Amy

Is that you?

It was such an unexpected surprise seeing mom today. It literally took my breath. Hers too it seemed.  We gazed at each other… taking in the moment, a mixed sense of wonderment and disbelief reflected in our faces.  It has been a little over 12 years since I last saw her, the last time I ever expected to see her, and yet … here she was, looking at me… staring at me.  Her hair, wisps of silver-grey, wildly dancing among the dark waves and soft curls; her eyes, bright… enveloped in gentle folds and creases, reflective of the passing of time; fine laugh lines giving the appearance of a shy smile…  her face, freckled from the sun.    

I guess it was the dress she was wearing that had caught my attention… had me suddenly see her as I turned around.  It was the familiarity of it; a princess cut, collared, turquoise in color… it was not unlike her self-styled work uniform.  Mom was a nurse, a ‘Sister. She worked for years running a small, on-site clinic at one of the big manufacturing companies in South Africa.  I think she liked that particular dress style, not only for its simplicity but because it gave shape to her slightly larger size.  Mom had always been pleasantly plump… ‘more of me to love’ she would say, each time she gathered me in for a hug.  But she was never entirely comfortable with her weight; her love of food, desserts in particular… a constant nemesis.  It would seem the sweetness and lure of sugar has become my nemesis too… gone are the days where my youth and active metabolism wage war on everything and anything I choose to eat.

Mom, is that you?  Where did you come from?  What are you doing here?   I reached out… our fingers touched briefly, and in that moment reality regained order.  The glass was cold, hard, the room small, the lighting soft. I blinked… the mind reconfigured.  I was in the dressing room of a favorite clothing store; the particular dress being tried on, the fall of the fabric, the way it looked, the way it fit my burgeoning, aging body, its color, and its style perhaps the trigger.  It was me… I was looking in a mirror at a reflection of myself… but it was mom who stood before me.  How did this happen?  How could this be. I’m my mother’s daughter… not my mother!  Where did time go … how is this possible?  A collision of emotions welled; disappointment, regret, sadness… not so much in the sense that the likeness I saw was that of mom, but rather that is was only a likeness, and in fact not her… only me growing older.  In that singular moment of realization, incongruent feelings of warmth and joy enveloped too; perhaps the comfort of her seeming presence, a realization that she was not gone from this world entirely; I carried her within me… everyday… and the older I got, the more visible that essence of her materialized.   

A hint of jubilance

My mother passed away May 13, 2005.  She was a beautiful woman, inside and out… her nature, gentle and kind… her presentation of self, shy.  She had wisdom beyond her years, her time even.  I long for her stories, her 20 page letters sharing news of life in Africa; family goings-on, dad’s funny escapades, commentary on the ever-changing political landscape… her perceptive, unfiltered, perspective on life. I miss the unconditional love bestowed, the careful counsel imparted; even in her strictest lessons taught, she was always an inspiration to me.  My mother was not perfect by any means, but she was and remains my most significant touchstone, my ultimate measure of a genuinely good person.  I am today the age mom was the year I left South Africa… she gave shape to my character and flight to my dreams… and for that I will forever be grateful.  I loved her deeply, I miss her terribly, still.

The dress being tried, while pretty, was not well suited for me.  Not yet anyway.  I carefully placed it back on its hanger, gathered my things and left the change room, glancing back at the mirror as I stepped out.  She was gone… her image replaced with a likeness more like my own… hair pulled back, no makeup, a little tired looking perhaps, but eyes still bright… with a hint of jubilance.

The first day of the rest of my life

Jubilance, because today was the last day of my radiation treatment.  Finding a new outfit to wear for a celebratory date with my darling husband is how I found myself to be in that dressing room.  Since my initial diagnosis, and as I have traveled the road to recovery, I have received amazing support; from him, from my family and several close and dear friends… they have been my strength, my stamina. I must admit though, there have been times during the last several weeks that I have withdrawn… shut life out, isolated myself and my mind to a quiet space, a place to reflect and to process the wild assortment of emotions that at times have overwhelmed.  It has been in these quiet moments that I most longed for my mom. 

My mind turned wistful as I left the store; perhaps she knew, perhaps it is why she came to me today… to celebrate with me as I step into the future… to let me see that she too has been by my side on this journey and will, in her way, always be with me… and to remind me, that despite the ups and downs of life, growing older is better than the alternative.   

Today, October 13, 2017, was the last day of my radiation treatment for breast cancer… and the first day of the rest of my life.  It is a day I will long remember.  Not only for the journey just completed, but because today, as it so happens, is also Mom’s birthday.  If still with us, she would be celebrating 91 years of age.  

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Constance Anne

Tribe Stories

Thank you, Constance Anne, for your story of the power our tribe of women has in our lives. If you would like to help support breast cancer research and awareness, Constance Anne shared that her local Susan G. Komen affiliate was incredibly supportive in her journey. You can donate to Komen, or find your local affiliate at https://ww5.komen.org/Affiliates.aspx

Do you have Tribe Stories to share? Email us at info@tribeofwomen.modthink.net and put “Tribe Stories” in the subject line.

Being Boss: i’mindful Bringing Boss Ladies Together

“A great way to bring women together and create a space for empowerment, learning, and support.” ~ Jay Amargos

We are thrilled to announce our partnership with i’mindful Studio and their Boss Lady Mixer quarterly event hosted at their location in Bentonville, AR. We attended in the event August and knew that we wanted to help support this networking mixer for driven boss ladies in Northwest Arkansas.

The next event on November 18th features Boss Lady, Loria Oliver, founder of Tot Tote, speaking about her journey and encouraging women to be the boss lady they aspire to be. We look forward to talking with her and future featured speakers. We’ll be collecting Tribe Stories from presenters and attendees experiencing all stages of life so we can share them with YOU throughout the year!

We had the privilege to sit down with i’mindful’s boss lady herself, Jay Amargos, to do a short interview on the purpose and background of how i’mindful got started and her Boss Lady inspiration.

Passion With a Purpose

Jay’s meditation practice began in 2006 after being diagnosed with clinical depression and anxiety. Ever since this diagnosis, Jay has valued and developed her relationship with self-care, mental health, and self-acceptance. She formed i’mindful to establish and inspire this lifestyle in others.

i’mindful focuses on the individual human’s well being, meditation, and mental health in order to promote living out a healthy lifestyle both physically and mentally. Their in-studio and on-site classes offer people in the community the benefits of mindfulness, nutrition, and yoga meditation.

“In 2012 I was diagnosed with Lupus in my nervous system and Fibromyalgia. I did not want to take a passive approach to my illness and did not want to take drugs to ease my pain. I started looking for natural ways to help me cope with my pain and better my quality of life. Throughout my research, I came across Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). MBSR was developed in 1979 by Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD. After endless MBSR courses, training, and research, I had found something amazing that would improve my quality of life forever. As I experienced the many benefits of Mindfulness, I started to become excited about teaching this to others. In 2015 I decided I needed to share my practice and in April 2016, i’mindful was born.”

Health Benefits of Mindfulness

Jay had the opportunity to share with us some of the key struggles people face in life that can be helped by practicing mindfulness.

“Mindfulness has been proven to be effective in helping to treat, along with medical and psychological treatments, people who suffer from many challenges, including:

  • Chronic pain
  • Anxiety & depression
  • Cancer & chronic disease
  • Work, family and emotional stress
  • Eating disturbances
  • Heart disease
  • Sleeplessness

There are over 40 decades of research showing how mindfulness is helping with treatment and showing people how to live a better life.” 

Mindfulness is the basis of i’mindful because Jay saw the value in her life to practice a healthy lifestyle and had a passion and drive to bring the wisdom she has learned from her experiences to the people around her.

Women Supporting Women

Jay’s three biggest passions are:

  1. Teaching mindfulness 
  2. Developing, empowering and mentoring
  3. Cooking

“I have always had mentors, advisors, people empowering me. It’s now my turn to do the same for others.” And this was a way for her to tribe it forward to others.

This exciting event brings women from different sectors together to network and learn and support one another. We believe that there is nothing more empowering than women supporting women. Jay’s philosophy when it comes to women is: “Collaborate don’t compete. Support don’t tear down. Empower don’t restrict.” Why Do You Believe in Tribes of Women?

“Because your tribe will get you through your toughest times in life. Throughout my experience, I have learned that it is so much more difficult to go through it all alone. We all need a tribe!”

Connecting women to empower and support one another, and help evolve each other’s lives for the better. Do you see why we love Jay and are so gung-ho to partner and support the  i’Minful and The Boss Lady Mixer?

We are thrilled to be part of Jay’s journey and support her supporting women. Stay tuned for Boss Lady stories on our blog and Tribe Talk podcast.

In Northwest Arkansas? Tickets are going fast.

Buy them today!

Not in the area or want to know more? Follow i’Mindful or subscribe to Jay’s new podcast “Mental Health & Pie”.

Has mindfulness helped you? Share your mindful journey story with us in the comments!

Gender Harmony: The 2017 World Woman Summit

In the last few years a number of conferences have sprung up around a common theme: bringing women together increases the power of our collective voice. The United State of Women, The S.H.E. Summit, The Women’s Convention, and at the end of this month, the World Woman Summit. Convening in Little Rock, Arkansas at the Clinton Presidential Center on September 3oth, the World Woman Summit will bring women together (with some good men) to discuss key issues facing women across the globe and work to increase “Gender Harmony”. Tribe of Women will be there to hear from leaders from around the world and collect their Tribe Stories. The World Woman Summit is a global stage for raising women’s voices and inspiring people around the world, and we look forward to sharing the learning and wisdom we gather.

Who Will Be There?

We look forward to sharing the stories of women and men from around the globe during and after the summit. We are fortunate to already have relationships with a few of these amazing women who have supported and helped grow Tribe of Women. We’re thrilled to be able to be supporting them right back and are proud of their accomplishments and journeys to this global stage.

Holly Fish, founder of Women in Networking, will be giving incredible advice on accelerated networking. A few of Holly’s accomplishments are winning the Women in Business Champion of the year award along with being voted one of the most powerful women in Arkansas by AY magazine for her impact through her volunteer efforts. She has been an integral part of our Tribe from the beginning and we are excited for her to share her light with others. 

Sandy Wright will be moderating the panel discussing “Violence Against Women” during the Summit. Sandy’s personal experiences of domestic violence and abuse led her to form the Brave Woman organization. Sandy aims to help people throughout the country lift up the voices of survivors to help overcome their past and to push people towards a future of freedom. We’re also pleased to announce that she is our featured interview on the TribeTalk podcast in October, Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Lynette Watts was executive director of the Women’s Foundation of Arkansas for 6 years and an advocate for women everywhere throughout her career. She has cheered and supported the women of Arkansas and beyond with her passion and leadership for decades and will be presenting the opening remarks for the conference. We are honored to have these women in our lives and see them speaking and impacting the lives of others while continuing their work of awareness, encouragement, education, and inspiration for women around the world.

Why a Summit? 

The World Woman Summit grew out of the World Woman Foundation, a movement started in 2013. The co-founder and CEO, Rupa Dash holds this conference every year to discuss the influence on global issues and hold a global mentorship program for Women in Film. We have been fans of Rupa’s for a long time and were happy to catch up with her before the summit to gain insight on the World Woman Summit and what people can expect.

The World Woman Summit is a “global conversation aimed to get people informed, inspired and ready to impact the world in a positive way.” 

One of the expressed goals of the Summit is to bring a diverse group of women and men together in a place that has both global and local impact. Rupa mentioned how this event is “intended to help bridge the socio-economic inequalities and provide direct engagement in the World Woman Foundation Global Leadership Institute.” The World Woman’s Foundation will also “provide a framework for Gender Harmony ™ which will be a new pathway for co-creating a better world together by accelerating women’s leadership for increased economic sustainability” that attendees can take back to their communities and begin implementing. 

Networking and connecting with other attendees and speakers will be a critical part of the summit as well. In her career, Rupa has seen a need for partnerships to be “more organic and natural” in order for groups to come together and create a better world. She emphasizes the importance and collaboration with women supporting women and is looking forward to seeing women in all stages of life come together and work to address the issues of Economic Development, Social Entrepreneurship, Global Health Equity, and Violence Against Women discussed throughout the Summit. It is important for women to break the cycles of struggle in their life and move forward with confidence.

Bringing the World to You

While at the World Woman Summit, Tribe of Women is looking forward to connecting with people from all over the globe who want to support women. We will collect interviews from conference speakers and attendees to share with you as these women lift up one voice to society and say, “We are here and we stand together!” 

Want to learn more about the World Woman Foundation and the World Woman Summit? Check out their website and social media for more information. Will you be at the Summit? We’d love to meet you! Let us know in the comments below.

Tribe of Women Loves Mood and Market

Tribe of Women is proud to announce our latest partnership with Mood and Market!

Mary, the founder of Mood and Market, had been dreaming of running her own business for years. As a wife and mother, she rarely found time for herself in her hectic schedule. Being a mom felt like her only role, and while she loved it, she knew that she wanted something in her life to take ownership of. After being a stay at home mom for 15 years, she decided it was time to start doing something simply for herself. In 2015, Mary began her own interior design business and saw intense growth. The business was successful, but it removed her from the home more than she liked. It was impossible to strike the balance between running a successful business and being an attentive wife and mother. Who hears that? (Me! Me! Me!)

Passion & Repurpose

She quickly decided that her family was more important than her business, and spent a year transitioning back into “mommy-dom”. Mary began to wonder if it was possible to stay at home and still have a “thing” outside of the home that would also help support the family. That “thing” stems from creativity and love of all things transformable. Mary likes to say that her mother was a junker before it was cool. That habit that once embarrassed Mary eventually turned into her passion. Now, she has adopted her mother’s love of “junk” and turns antique furniture and vintage housewares into something new and beautiful. One thing that sets her work apart from other junkers is her eye for authenticity. Mary has a knack for recognizing historical characteristics of pieces, from how old they are to the type of wood they’re made from. She finds joy in making trash into treasure, and, as her mom used to say, “being able to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear”.

Mary’s idea for Mood and Market was born from the combination of her love, gifts, and desire for work/life integration. She also wanted to lift up and create a community of other local artists that could not only help with production but feature their skills and talent. Since there’s not enough time in the day to be a wife, mom, find antique goodies, or learn different trades (welding, painting, etc.) to transform them… she decided not to. Mood and Market allows Mary to find beautiful pieces and create a vision of transformation while relying on other local artists to bring them to life. She loves to spotlight the artists she partners with on her website and support local business.

Tribe it Forward!

Mary brings the Mood, and her best friend, Loray, brings the Market. Loray understands the ins and outs of how to run a business and happily brought that knowledge to the table. Loray also has strong ties to Tribe of Women, knows our belief in women entrepreneurs being vital to economic growth, and our desire to walk our talk of women supporting women. We are proud to be working with Mood and Market and are so grateful that a portion of their women’s equality “Under Wear” line of clothing sales go to support our “gift one” Tribe Talks.

Women supporting women. Shop Mood and Market and let’s tribe it forward, together!