There’s never going to be a shortage of people telling you how to run your life. The more connected we become, the more pressure we feel to measure up. The “keeping up with the Joneses” neighborhood competition is now keeping up with the Joness and the Smiths and the Gonzalezs and the Minajs and the Kardashians on Instagram and Pinterest. Meanwhile, every piece of media and advertising tries to make us feel like we won’t measure up without watching and/or buying their product. It’s enough to make you feel like crap.
This is something that lives foremost in our thoughts in everything we produce. Even as we have a product to sell, we wanted to find a way to do it without making people feel like they suck. We want to base our business model on improving lives and leading from a place of love instead of fear.
We’ve got a whole bunch of strategies to accomplish this. We organized as a Social Purpose Corporation (SPC) in the state of Washington so we can have different priorities than just making a profit. We donate profits to organizations that support women, mental health, and veterans - such as RAIIN, which we choose to donate to from our Philomela jewelry line. We include free and low cost tips for self care in every issue of Cultivate and also post them on our website and social media so everyone can have access to them. But most importantly, every single thing we share has to come from a place of authenticity.
You can see an example of this with the cover image from Issue 1 of Cultivate, beautiful and staged (above), and then this photo of what was really happening behind the scenes.
It’s a great big mess while we tried to capture the shot. On Facebook and Instagram (@haventreebox) we share our messes, our failures, the truth of what lies just to the side of the image. As we choose articles and photos, we want to inspire -- but we also want reality. This is more than just an editorial decision; this is a principle that bound us together as friends and business partners. It’s something we crave for ourselves.
We are each juggling physical health challenges, mental health issues, raising children with complex needs, entrepreneurship and activism.
We are both champions of spreading ourselves too thin and making do with scraps of time, sending each other drafts while waiting in a doctor’s office and running to drop something off at school.
We’re not experts in self care because we went to school for special licenses, we’re experts at self care because it’s how we get through our lives.
Our expertise is in self care from the trenches: coming home at the end of a long day and trying to find something your family will eat, or learning how to build in time in our deadlines for sick kids and bad health days. Our mornings are a frenzy of trying to get everyone out the door on time with everything they need for the day, not lingering over tea in our designer lounge wear before heading off to exercise and organic farmers markets. Lounge wear and farmers markets have enormous appeal, but you’re more likely to find us in three day old pajamas shoving some kind of nutrition bar in our face. And that we will never hide from you.
We hope that you will read this issue of Cultivate and come away feeling inspired. But not in a way that evokes fear. We hope you’ll take care of yourself because you deserve it. Because you believe you can make simple changes that yield huge reward in your life. And because you see us right there with you, taking two steps forward and one step back, but still struggling along because it’s worth the fight.
- Tresa Edmunds
This article originally appeared in Cultivate, Issue 1 (Fall 2017).