Pain is always personal

by Dani Trudeau

It has been a bit of a tough month. I have not been well and in pain and after a load of tests and scans, I still don’t know what is causing it all. That being said, it has taught me a few good things too. Before I sound overly dramatic, I just want to say that I am grateful for my health, albeit not brilliant at this very moment, as for as I know it is nothing serious. Like most experiences outside our norm, it is an opportunity to wake us up and take notice of what we do have.

As darkness helps us see the light, I think pain helps us see the joy. Being in A&E for 8 hours last week and witnessing the pain of others, I felt really sad. I felt sorry for myself but also for others; those alone, the young guy passed out, the elderly woman being ignored. It also showed me how ill prepared we are for loss and vulnerability and how our default coping mechanism is often denial. The systems we live and work in don’t support us very well most of the time. I was just outside the nurses station and it was clear that they work within a system which dictates that patients are moved or discharged by a certain time. They had up to 4 hours to move me out of A&E. Unfortunately, they moved me up to the surgical ward with little communication and I was prepped for surgery without knowing what was happening. I then waited another 4 hours for the consultant to tell me he didn’t know what was going on and to go home.

I understand why these ‘efficient’ systems are implemented and can be useful. Something happens though when the system because more important than the work. It must be far less satisfying for those healthcare workers to work for the system instead of the patient as well. From my perspective, I felt hugely disconnected on a human level. There are parts of ourselves that the conventional health care system isn’t equipped to heal or nourish, adding to our suffering.

There was a moment when I was being rolled out of A&E and up to the surgical op ward when I looked over at the man in the next room, bent over, watery eyes and in obvious pain. I quickly looked away and then thought about hearing the nurse comment about how he knows him (in a “oh yeah I know Dave” kind of way). Did that comment make me less empathetic to his suffering. Did I not want to see his suffering or did I at some level, not even believe it. I felt horrible about this. How can I accept suffering and not get tripped up by my own discomfort around it. In fact, maybe that is what some of the healthcare workers have to do to cope with the daily onslaught of other’s suffering.

I love what palliative care expert,  BJ Miller, MD has to say on the topic. “First, let’s all get better at being vulnerable because we are vulnerable. If you’re in the course of a normal life, any one of us is going to be a burden to someone sometime. It’s just not possible to only give care and not need to receive it. Getting more savvy with needing one another is one way to turn down the pain.”

After getting home, it took me a day and some serious self talk to get me out of feeling utterly shite. No one could help me and maybe somehow I was making this all happen or making this up? I had to remind myself that normal scans and tests were a good thing and that I had to just keep checking in with how I felt and asking more questions. I had to remember to trust myself and that the body doesn’t lie. And although most of us don’t know when we are going to die, we are all dying.

The more intimate we get with the idea of dying, the closer we come to folding it into the fabric of our daily lives, the better off we’ll all be, Miller says. Advice on how to die well is really no more than advice on how to live well, with that unavoidable reality in mind.

My takeaways-

  1. Take care and advocate for yourself
  2. Connect in to others to find support
  3. Seize any opportunity for learning, even when it’s not obvious
  4. Suffering is a teacher of something if you are open to a lesson
  5. Pain is always personal and those individual lessons are the greatest lessons
  6. The only way out is through.


This post was written for my beloved coworking community, Tribe Porty in Portobello, Edinburgh in Scotland. -by Lorna Lythgoe

Why is it that co-working at Tribe is so very pleasant?

It’s because we’re all a bit in love with each other…

I’m not talking about secret trysts and unrequited infatuation; it’s what psychologist Dr Barbara Fredrickson calls ‘positivity resonance’.  AKA, love.
Every time we fully engage with people, whenever we feel we’ve clicked with someone, and all those moments we share a feeling of mutual connection, it’s love, says Fredrickson.

Seen in this way, love isn’t some rare, lofty state, enjoyed only when all the stars align and feelings are intense between two (or a select number of) people.
Instead, love is experienced in the micro-moments of real-time connection we can get all around us.  In other words, when we resonate with people in person, anytime, anywhere, we get a dose of love.

It happens when you smile at the driver giving way and they smile back.  It’s when you stop for a chat about your dogs with a stranger on the beach.  It’s when you’re actually present with the people you spend time with (rather than checking your phone or worrying about your to-do list).
At Tribe Porty, love abounds when someone offers you a cup of tea, you share a joke across the hotdesk, or you grab a bite with whoever’s in reception!

Love is: micro-moments of connection in real-time, with anyone, anywhere.

The thought of this might be making you feel warm and fuzzy, but what’ll blow your socks off is the impact positivity resonance has on our brains and long-term health and wellbeing!

Each of those momentary experiences of connection deepen the bond and commitment between people because we become biosynchronous; that is, our neuronal emotional responses literally mimic each other.  We genuinely feel with the other person, because our neurons fire and neurotransmitters release in synchrony with them.

Isn’t that lovely?

What’s more, micro-moments of connection optimise the functioning of the vagus nerve, the link between brain and heart.  Doing so steadies heart rate, regulates blood sugar and improves immune response, which are vitally important for the body’s health.

High vagal tones also help us maintain attention and deal with emotions, which together improve our social skills.  And since being socially adept means more opportunities for positivity resonance, a virtuous cycle is born!

Next time you’re reaching for a left-over Nairn’s oat cake and your hand brushes a fellow Triber’s so that you both have a giggle, go ahead.  Tell them you love them.  They’ll get it.


Check out Fredrickson’s article in the NY Times
Take her six-week course in Positive Psychology free on Coursera
Read her book, Love 2.0
Lorna Lythgoe on www.growthseekers.co.uk

Five things I’ve learned about being an entrepreneur

Hi, I’m Melissa, I’m 45 years old and I’m an entrepreneur. Never in my life did I imagine I would one day write that sentence.

What I've learned about being an entrepreneur

Melissa and Dominque with friends

To my mind, entrepreneurs are more exciting, creative and interesting people than conventional me. An entrepreneur is ready to sacrifice family life, friends and even their own homes, in pursuit of success.

An entrepreneur was never someone I could aspire to be.

Or could I?

I began my career in a typical corporate environment, joining the graduate training programme of a major UK company and enjoyed a variety of jobs in marketing, sales and communications. I was moderately successful, my career was enjoyable and challenging at times. But I could never shake the feeling that I was forcing myself into a mould, trying to be something that I wasn’t, and worse, that everyone could see through me.
When I returned to work full time after the birth of my two children this sense of not belonging intensified.

By now, I was in my mid-30s. I had taken four years out from my career while the children were very young and we had moved from London to be nearer to my home in Scotland. I’d notched up some hard life knocks and was struggling to rediscover my identity. I wondered if I had lost my mojo; if I was destined to always be just someone’s wife and mother.

Losing my confidence

Still, I battled on regardless. With a demanding job and two young children, there wasn’t time for anything else, but gradually I became more and more stressed and was constantly blaming myself for everything that seemed to be going wrong in my life.  The innate confidence I’d taken for granted in my youth had eroded, until it dawned on me that I was making myself ill.

Ironically, my saviour came in the form of a new female boss who was a bully. When backed in to a corner I rediscovered the strength to stand up for myself, which in turn gave me the boost that I needed to finally make a change.

While recovering from that situation, a friend introduced me to Dominique King. Dominique had incredible energy, confidence and an exciting vision. She felt like the antidote to everything I felt about myself.

Exciting times

She wanted to start a business, and had no fixed ideas about what that business would be. Like me, Domi wanted a new challenge, to be in control and free to build a professional life that fitted with her values and didn’t mean compromising time with her family. Most importantly, she didn’t want to do it alone and had spent the last couple of years searching for someone to join her on the journey.

After several meetings, a lot of soul searching and some (quite hard) conversations with my husband we concluded there was never going to be a better time for me to take this leap in the dark. Instead of finding another salaried job, I was going to embark on an entirely new and surprising adventure with Dominique, to set up our company, Wunderlife.

What I've learned about being an entrepreneurTogether, we created a new product for families like ours that love the outdoors. The Brug is a picnic blanket that turns in to a shoulder bag, to make packing for a family day out as easy as possible. We created a brand and designed our website, travelling to India to find our manufacturer. We’ve sold the Brug all over the world, run a successful crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter and been selected to appear on the Channel 4 show, Buy It Now. Being a business owner has been a huge learning experience and often stressful but it gave me a deep sense of fulfilment and helped me rediscover confidence in my own abilities.

Another opportunity

If there is a downside it’s that starting a business, especially a product business, is financially very challenging and we have never been able to pay ourselves a salary. I soon realized that I would have to make time to earn money again.
When the opportunity came up to work with another inspiring woman, Dani Trudeau, to set up Tribe Women, an enterprise school and community for women, it felt like the stars had aligned at exactly the right moment.
How brilliant to be able to draw on my recent experiences, to work with women, supporting each other to step out of our comfort zones and achieve things we never thought possible, without sacrificing our health and wellbeing, or that of our families. To become an entrepreneur.

What have I learned on my entrepreneurial journey so far?

1. I’ve finally learned to listen to my intuition and trust that it will take me where I need to go. I did not know that starting a business (something I had never done before) with a stranger was a good decision but I felt that it could be. I’m so glad now that I listened to that positive voice in my head.
2. Authenticity is important. Only when I stopped trying to be something that I wasn’t, did I finally accept that me, my authentic self, is all that I can be and that’s enough. If it’s not, then the environment is wrong – not me.
3. Don’t do it alone. Surround yourself with good people who inspire, challenge and support you, and accept you for who you are.
4. Stay curious and open to opportunities. Don’t be afraid or ashamed to get things wrong because you will learn and grow from every mistake.
5. If you have an idea and a passion, find ways to pursue it, every day. Whether you have a lot of time, or a little, if you work on it consistently, you will make progress.

Being an entrepreneur certainly isn’t easy. It is challenging and sometimes stressful… but ultimately rewarding and hugely fulfilling.

#Me too Reflections

-Dani Trudeau

Let’s not call that toxic masculinity. Saying “toxic masculinity” implies that masculinity is the core problem here, and suggests that a tiny bit of masculinity might also be a tiny bit poisonous. Using the word masculinity suggests that all men have a toxic core. I don’t buy that. What we’re seeing in the Sociopathic Baby-Man bestrides the world of ordinary men like a colossus. It’s more important than ever to make this distinction.-by Heather Havrilesky,

Read her full article  -Don’t Call It ‘Toxic Masculinity.’ They’re Sociopathic Baby-Men

The past week or so has been interesting to experience, watch, partake and converse about. From the #Me Too ‘campaign’ (although here is a link to the original campaign which did not come from Alyssa Milano), to the media and public’s reactions to Weinstein, to the conversations around raising our sons and daughters, changing our language away from the victims and put the emphasis on the aggressor or the one abusing their power. If you haven’t been thinking and speaking about it, even just a little, maybe you should.

I have struggled with the phrases; boys will be boys and extreme male to define some ‘masculine’ behaviours. I don’t want the males I know and love to be put in the category of masculine if they have to stand next to the power-hungry, human-destroying, women-fearing, pussy-grabbing, consume-at-all costs, kind of men. Maybe the best term for them is sociopathic baby-men-I am not quite convinced but I get what she is saying. We definitely need to stop calling it masculinity. I for one want to raise a strong, empathetic, human loving son. I want him to be able to cry, love and feel deeply for all living things. I don’t want him to have to imagine an unfamiliar women is me or his sister when he is older and partying at a club to be able to not mistreat her. I want his deep respect for all humans lead his decision making. This sounds so basic but it seems not to be our current norm. Culturally we live in a world where we normalise abuse, we accept world leaders who brag of the dominance over women, we use language which puts all of the burden on the victims. (I recommend reading this, Don’t Talk to Your Sons About Sex – Talk About This Instead).

So why is it so hard to stand up to these types of people and why do people silently watch these men abuse their power? Better question, why have I let several men abuse their power over me? This is obviously complicated and highly personal but I bet the story is very, very common. The world tells us to be quiet, to not make a big deal of things, to get over it, move on. This is part of the problem. From older kids, teachers, ‘friends’, bosses, ex partners, strangers; I can actually think of endless examples of men thrusting their attempts of power over me. Some of these attempts have landed with serious actions and have been followed by life changing views of myself. This is powerful stuff. We need to reset our baseline of acceptability. All of us. This is the time to believe victims- it is not easy to come forward.

There are so many little ways the balance of power is played out in what some might consider small incidents.
I can actually give an example which happened just last week.  I received a creepy, unsolicited instagram message from someone I do not really know. I met him once at a café a few years ago. The text was about a dream he had and was extremely creepy, ended with I love you and was totally out of the blue. I ignored it at first, thinking that it must have been sent by mistake. Then I remembered my friend saying she thought he was shady so shared it with her. Instantly she was angry and wanted to take action. This happens when you doubt yourself a bit. My friend doubted herself enough not to confront him at the time. She just avoided him and moved on. When someone does something a little off but does it in such a way that you question yourself. These are skilful predators. This is one reason why we must not respond to ourselves or to others with anything but support in the first instance. But we don’t. Even as I wrote this paragraph, there were doubting thoughts about what others might think. Will some folk think that there must be more to the story; that I must have done something to warrant such message. Nope. I did nothing, absolutely nothing.

My friend immediately rallied trusted troops (men actually) and instantly they all had my back. After a few ideas of how to best handle this, one friend wrote a suggested response. It was perfect. It was strong, confident, took-no-blame- perfect. This made me feel loved, protected, justified and in power.
It also made me think of all of the times when people didn’t respond this way. Feeling false guilt, shame, blame and deeply damaged is exacerbated when people don’t believe your pain or your truths. Sadly, I think the majority of people respond badly, if at all, to these types of situations.  Let’s change this. Let’s not make it a female/male thing. Let’s look at all of us in the confusion as humans. How do we treat fellow humans? We should want better for ourselves and for our fellow humans. The time is way past now to make it all of our responsibility.

For me, I am making more of an effort to think of all of us as humans too. I am trying to stop saying ‘all men…’ After all, we all have different experiences and although I have been hurt more often and deeper by men in my past, I have also loved many men.  I too need to see past the gender and look at the person.
Here is an excellent blog post by columnist, Courtney E. Martin, For Guys Reading #MeToo Testimonies. “A world this riddled with sexual harassment and abuse will never be healed by a hashtag, that’s for sure. Yet, this moment could be the first one that you choose to do something different, to lay the first brick in a world that is built differently, a world safe for women’s bodies and men’s feelings, a world worthy of everyone’s wholeness”.

And to the creep sending messages to women you don’t know, I am really not sure how to help you and more importantly, how to stop you from deceiving and preying on women. For a start, read the article at the top and understand the part you play in it all. Secondly, I believe this is really about fear and violence.  It sadly makes up the fabric of our world and nothing less than the dismantling of our current systems, a complete discrediting of what we now consider power, will compel the sweeping change we so badly need to see.

And to my friends, you rock. I wish everyone out there had you guys behind them.

Look with eyes of wonder

Grateful for this space. The view and being next to the sea always fills my eyes with wonder and my heart with peace and gratitude. -Dani Trudeau

“If you’re grateful, you’re not fearful, and if you’re not fearful, you’re not violent. If you’re grateful, you act out of a sense of enough and not out of a sense of scarcity and are willing to share,” Steindl-Rast

October is Gratitude so we thought we would have a month talking, writing and sharing our take on gratitude. I for one, think that we could all be better at living with gratitude. Similar to mindfulness, gratitude takes practice and there are many different ways one can truly live in gratitude. Find some useful top tips here.

In dark or difficult moments — whether personal or interpersonal, local or global — it’s natural to feel lost or powerless. Expressing gratitude is one useful act, but stepping outside of ourselves is another way to channel grief into good. And to connect us with others who may be ailing.
Saving the entire world is a pretty big task, but performing acts of care for others, however big or small, will lift the world’s weight from your shoulders.

Gratitude puts situations into perspective. When we can see the good as well as the bad, it becomes more difficult to complain and stay stuck.

Gratitude helps us realise what we have. The awareness of what we’re grateful for can lessen our tendency to want more all the time.

Gratitude makes us happier. Gratitude strengthens relationships, improves health, reduces stress, and, in general, makes us happier.

One interesting fact, I have discovered in practice, is that fear and joy are inextricably linked with our ability to be vulnerable, and subsequently, our vulnerability is linked to our ability to be grateful. It takes courage to be imperfect and it takes embracing one’s vulnerability. A connection will come as a result of living in this authenticity. Of course this is much harder to live than to just write about, after all who wants to be imperfect? Not me. But that feeling like I want to be perfect stops me from allowing myself to be vulnerable which ultimately makes me feel like a failure. Furthermore, what I have learned is that feeling vulnerable is not the same as feeling like a failure, in fact there are opportunities in vulnerability, where as feeling like a failure does not allow for growth.

Honestly, by noticing my day-to-day world from a point of gratitude, I am amazed at all the goodness I take for granted. Practicing this awareness has also helped me be more mindful and present, something I was trying to practice but now I feel like I have found my way in. Just looking at the sea, the sun on the tress, the dew on the grass with soft eyes fills me up with gratitude. Thank you for the sunshine, the morning cup of coffee made by my husband, the good morning cuddle from my daughter, the peace that follows from a big deep inhale and slow exhale.

So here is to a month of gratitude. We would love to hear from you, see what you are grateful for today and share how you cultivate a life of abundance and gratitude.

TEDxPortobello-Time, Talent and Thanks

Tribe Porty hosted its third TEDxPortobello the other week, with this year’s theme, ‘Restart the Machine”. We had 9 speakers with inspiring stories to share from pocket sized satellites to organ donation to care packages for refugees. Keep your eyes on the facebook page or website for the uploaded talks soon.
Every year, I am overwhelmed with the talent and generosity of the volunteers who make it all happen. This year was a little different as Johanna Holtan decided to let go as curator and pass on the role of coordinator. We had a smaller core team of 4 this year and thankfully our speaker coach, Mel Sherwood, was back to support for her third year.
Mel has been with us since the beginning and plays a big part in why we have been so successful. TEDxPortobello is as much about the process and the community as it is about the actual event. We work hard to try and make the event meaningful for all involved and support each speaker.  Not only does Mel work 1:1 with each speaker, helping them to develop their content and structure, she also facilitates a masterclass to help refine their delivery.
This year’s comperes were also extra wonderful. Mel also co hosted our event and introduce our speakers, along with Cal MacAninch and Tribe Porty Youth Theatre’s, Euan (11 years old!).  Each of them perfectly made our audience feel engaged, informed and welcome.
We would like to say a big thank you to everyone involved and we are grateful for the time and talent given by Mel Sherwood, we could not praise her enough!

Where the end is not the end, we choose to lead, to change, to improve. -TEDxPortobello 2017

photo by Jon Davey Photography

photo by Jon Davey Photography

My breath is my compass

Hi my name Allan Brownlie.
I am Wim Hof Method Instructor.
Untitled design
We live in these unique times, where one can choose one’s input at the touch of a finger tip. That is great – but, before I discovered my breath a few year ago I  truly didn’t understand my mind, my body and my self.
I came to a stage in my life where I was emotionally drained, underweight and had stop the bad lifestyle I was living.
That’s when my quest began and I discovered the Wim Hof Method.
When started the breathing techniques for the first time I finished off a round, blew out my cheeks and said
F*CK ME, THIS IS IT! (pardon my language)
My breath was my foundation,  my balance, my compass for building momentum and confidence.  I optimized my lifestyle and conquered the cold. I can trust myself again and with simple techniques I have become a better version of my own old self.

Wim Hof Method is for anyone! it’s simple, it’s effective and the science backs it up.
Read more here: https://www.wimhofmethod.com/
I was in the first international group of people to become a Wim Hof Method instructor. I went from being emotionally drained, underweight and unhappy with my life, to being super focussed and very creative, with improved fitness levels. In essence, I became a better version of myself.
Using Wim Hofs method, putting my body and mind under the natural stress of the environment, I went deep into nature.
For example, climbing Mount Snezka in Poland with only shorts on and bare chested in weather conditions of -10c.
I’m not special, anyone can do this, if you go deep into your physiology with simple techniques of the Wim Hof Method.
The Wim Hof Method combines specific breathing techniques, cold exposure and mind-set techniques,
coupled with physical exercise. It has been developed over thirty years by Wim Hof, who has taught and evolved these techniques in nature. It’s a natural method to improve health and well-being.
You will learn:
How to be the manager of your energy
How to feel energised and full of life within minutes
How to boost your body’s alkalinity for super fast recovery
How to lower your heart rate, banish stress, and feel more relaxed
How to get rid of physical blockages
How to take an ice-bath
For who?
The course is suitable for everyone wanting to gain a deeper understanding of the Wim Hof Method.
Class – BREATHE at Tribe Porty
Mondays & Fridays at 12-1pm
Instructed Wim Hof breathing techniques, going deep into our physiology along with exercises in cancelling out the
pain signal from our mind-body-connection.
allanbrownlie@hotmail.com | 07701033286
Donation (suggestion £10)
Logo CertifiedWHM_Instructor v2

Ken Keith? Keith can.

I envy those that can just do it. Simply switching off, making themselves feel at home, getting cosy, shutting their eyes and letting their bodies take them where they need to be…putting all worries to one side, never mind what everyone else might think of them. The natural confidence that what they are doing is the right thing to do.
Are you one of them? Do you take a cat nap during the day to rejuvenate and re-energize what you are doing?
They say that napping makes you a more productive worker. Napping is not just for the lazy or sleep-deprived. Apparently a short snooze can boost everything from productivity, creativity, alertness and memory. Who wouldn’t want to improve those?
Do I worry too much about the groggy feeling afterwards? The long waking up process, and feeling worse afterwards? Is that what stops me from doing it? I hear that the secret is in the right length of a nap. A shorter snooze seems to be the solution to that issue. The following graph explains what the effects of different lengths of sleep have on the human body.

Wouldn’t it be nice to just lie down on the sofa, which we have a few of at Tribe Porty, rather than struggling on through the rest of the day and/or resorting to a caffeine boost to get through the afternoon slump, which leaves us feel wired, but we are also more prone to making mistakes as a result of it. It would be nice.
Maybe I struggle with the ‘letting go’ and snoozing off for some zzz’s, not giving a sh… about what everyone else thinks, is that the problem? The yoga, the mindful meditation, conscious breathing…all this should teach me to just be in the moment and to do what I am doing, not worrying about image, or other people’s business and thoughts…is this possibly a general problem in our society? Not listening to the body, and what it needs, but rather be too influenced of what surrounds us, the pressure of meeting deadlines, the endless ‘to do’ – list, the unattractive busy-ness!?
Stepping back, taking time out, consciously reflecting or unconsciously resting, I believe that’s what we all need more of,  during a working day, during busy times in life, to be better in relationships, as parents, as living beings. Looking after oneself is so important, for physical as well as mental wellness. And one basic for overall wellness is sleep, which most of us don’t seem to get enough of during the night – possibly caused by the over use of screens…so stepping away from screens for a nap only seems right, every now and again!
Whereas we certainly have the perfect working environment here at Tribe Porty, with a cosy sofa corner, blankets, and friendly co-workers, I think I might just stick to my naps at home.
However, Keith, I adore your ability to power nap after you have your lunch. I love how comfortable, secure and confident your work place makes you feel. And the positive and productive vibes you give off afterwards are infectious.
Maybe Tribe Porty is the next work place to support napping after ‘Nike’, ‘Ben & Jerry’s’ and ‘Huffington’s Post’, supporting their co-workers in taking their health and wellness serious.
Do also check out our classes and workshops at Tribe Porty: We want our community happy and healthy in their hearts, minds, and bodies.

Be the Change (or 5 reasons to join the Exploring What Matters course)

Change seems to be one of the few things we can depend on in life. However, how that change
happens and how ‘in control’ we feel of the process is something which varies greatly. One way to
claim some time and space to make intentional changes for the better is to join our Exploring What
Matters course. Starting on Thursday 4 th May and meeting for eight weeks, Action for Happiness has
designed this course for people looking to be change makers: for themselves; within their families
and social networks; in the organisations they work for; and as part of our community, both local
and global.
Meaning of Life
If you’re someone ready to make a change for a happier you and a happier world, here are 5 reasons
why our course could really work for you:
 A practical focus: This is a practical course created to give people the tools, ideas and
actions they need to make a practical difference to their own life and that of others, from
the first time we meet. We will be taking time to share the research which underpins all of
this and also offer you lots of resources to read and think more into the science of happiness
and wellbeing. However, making changes to feel good and do good are at the heart of our
 Balance: When we’re deciding what and how to change, we know there’s no single way to
find what’s going to work for you. Our course embraces this. Each session taps into expert
views, group discussion and individual reflection, allowing you a whole range of perspectives
to draw on as well as time to plan week by week the actions you’ll take to make change.
 Community: Making change is often hard and rarely happens without a few set backs or
disappointments. Joining our course connects you with a group of people who will not only
celebrate your successes but will also understand and ‘know the feeling’ those weeks when
things don’t quite go to plan. We will offer a community to encourage you to give it another
go or find a different approach to keep the change process in motion.
 Experience: This course is built on experience: the experience of people who’ve made it
their life’s work to understand how we flourish and thrive; the experience of facilitators
working to create group environments which empower people; the experience that
everyone in the group brings with them from everything they’ve done with their life so far;
the experience that we create by practicing mindfulness and gratitude together. It’s a strong
foundation to build your own change making on.
 A different point of view: Making change takes courage. For every voice supporting you
there’s another voice ready to tell you that there’s not point, things aren’t going to change
and now is not the time to take a risk. Too much of our mainstream media is invested in
sharing views which tell us we aren’t pretty enough, rich enough, safe enough, smart
enough or good enough. The Exploring What Matters course gives you voices which share
their own experiences of making change and the imperative to do this for yourself. We work
to offer you a view of our society which affirms that we have the skills, resources and power
to make ourselves and other people happier if we find the will and take action to be the
People who’ve already done the course have found it gave them the boost they needed to make
positive changes in the areas of their life which really mattered to them, from renegotiating their
working life to finding more meaning in their days, to launching into community activism. It’s a
course which is creating ripples of change across the world. As we embark on our journey here in
Edinburgh courses will also be underway in Singapore, Mexico and Australia. We’re excited to see
the changes we’ll make. Join us!
Register online now at https://afh-edinburgh- 4-may.eventbrite.co.uk. Participation is by donation. If
you’re unable to afford a donation at present, fully funded places are available. Please email
happyporty@gmail.com to sign up for one of these places.

Forty at Porty or One Year Closer To Reincarnation as Hip Hop Goddess

The theme this spring at Tribe Porty might well be “Forty in Tribe Porty” – but She is the leader of the pack, the chieftess and Mama of our Tribe, the one that makes dreams come true.
She rocks this place, her enthusiasm and positivity are infectious, her creativity unbeatable,  her listening ability eternal, her talents uncountable. Loved by so many…and brightening up people’s lives, constantly…
Join me in wishing her the best in the world, celebrate her, make her feel special today and always. Let me indulge in sharing a few special people’s stories about Dani and her Tribe.
The Wild Woman.Speaks with her own Voice.
A potted history according to the Portobello archives
Danielle, Denise, Trudeau – born 7th April 1977
Half Native American, half English American and half Canadian, Danielle moved to Scotland to find a future after being banished from Rapid City, South Dakota for dancing to too many Kenny Loggins tracks.
She worked in the field of behavioural science, specialising in providing support for families with autistic children. During this time, she saw much of the Scottish countryside, mainly due to misreading maps. She settled in Edinburgh, probably trying to find Inverness, where she gave birth to two amazing Children, Max and Izzy. (It kind of just happened.)
So Dani has always been a bit tribal, into people and feathers, pipes, spears and all that shit…She was working for the charity, Autism Initiatives when she was asked to run the project, The Hermitage Golf Course. I think this is when she really got into wanting to run social enterprises. She went for a new role at Autism Initiatives, but was gazumped by an old bloke. This pissed her off but fuelled the passion to make a difference. Not content with AI’s lack of innovation and foresight Dani decided it was time to go forth… She landed a job at Senscot, Social Enterprise Networks, Scotland. She would go around Scotland helping people set up social enterprises or help with general support and advice. She loved this but it was still not enough….
Parallel to these roles, Dani set up Tribe School Edinburgh with Johanna Holtan, an energetic wee soul from North Dakota. Dani and Jo tried out many a venue but then, through a chance encounter with a bloke called Jez, they stumbled across the possibility of using the upstairs of Earthy foods in Portobello.
It was a dark cold place but ideal for something…. That something was soon realised by Dani and Jo, and they began to hold Trade School events in the space with great success. Again, though, not satisfied with just the odd event, Dani started to dream big. She saw the potential for the space as offering more to the community. Another plan hatched with a lady called Sasha: Sasha and Dani plotted and decided that Portobello could do with a sewing group and so, ‘Sew and Sew’ started.
Women from all over the town brought machines, thread and cake to the space above Earthy. Sewing machines set up on school desks mounted on pallets gave the impression of a sweatshop. But really, it was just the next stage in the spaces transformation.
Dani wanted to create a space for people, more people than just the sewing fanatics of Portobello. She wanted to create a place for young and old, a place that would benefit people of all walks of life.
Not exactly sure what was needed she undertook a community survey.
The survey said YES. ‘Yes please’ to something for the community. Dani set about creating her Tribe. A place, a space, a place space…. Tribe was born…
It took a while to get going, it felt like years of planning. Weekend after weekend planning, drafting, drinking and theorising, until eventually a meeting was organised to make the shit real. A number of friends, interested parties and handy folks met up, in the space above Earthy to help make the dream possible… Among the many helpful folks were some very special people, Jo (of course), Jamie, Matt the architect (he does more than just the boring stuff), Akiko (she’s an architect too, as is Jamie), and Paul Lambie (you might have heard of him). There were many more there too, apologies for not mentioning you all.
Plans were drawn up and submitted to the Council. Building works started and so did the stress…Dani was only 22 when the first nail was hit by the hammer and she is now a lot older…

The rest is history, really – a very successful place was created because of the vision this lady had of the future… a future where some that are dear, are no longer with us but a future where many more are benefiting from the kindness and love from this remarkable woman… Happy Birthday Danielle… .
(Bob Cummins)

Soul Sister and Friend
Starting a business that aligns with who you are  and is driven by your hopes, dreams, and values is hard.
But what you have done is truly difficult. You have held a space – a real physical one and a special space of people  – that weaves everything wonderful about you into everything it is and will be. You have created something that has never been created before bringing together people that are now friends – sharing success, failure, birth, death, love, transition, beginnings, endings and everything in between.
It’s a testament to the woman, entrepreneur, mother, champion, daughter, role model, sister, mentor, dancer, leader, friend, bestie, artist, and person that you are.
From painting walls and sweeping floors to launching events and late night board meetings, this has been my most favourite journey to witness and be a part of.
You, my friend, are my heart and soul and you make life wonderful for so many people. Bask in the goodness and love. Happy birthday old lady x
(Jo Holtan)

The Listener and Catalyst
The way I remember it is, I had a coffee with you on the Prom. I think we’d probably met to talk about your idea of a Porty Tribe. At one point I was talking about how I wanted to fix the film industry, make it better, make film crews happier and safer. I told you how I’d done all this research and spoken to people and made these exciting discoveries but that when I took them to producers and managers nobody would listen. I was frustrated and getting worn down by it. You listened, let me talk (and I suspect waffle on for a bit) then suggested I talk to Bob. “Bob does that kind of thing, maybe he can help. You should speak to Bob!”.
I’m not sure if that’s exactly how it went because I’ve told that story countless times in the past couple of years. Every time someone says “What exactly are you doing for a living?” I start the story with you.
You are a huge catalyst and spark for so many of us. You helped me change my life and I’ll be forever grateful. Thank you Dani and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
(Paul Lambie)

What all of these snippets of Dani’s story have in common is that they show what a journey of success, empowerment, determination life can be, if you go about it with a badass attitude – anything is possible when you believe in your dreams and have loved ones and supportive friends by your side to make stuff happen… and to build your tribe.

Happy Birthday, Dani – Keep making your dreams come true… Feel on top of the world… Have a great day and a wonderful year ahead…. Keep smiling always because your smile matters a lot to those around you…

D stands for dancer and dreams.

A stands for accommodating and amazing.
N stands for Nothing is impossible.
I stands for intuition and investing… in ideas, people & places.
E stands for energy and easy to talk to.
L stands for laughing, love and listening.
L stands for life – embracing it all!
E stands for empowering and enterprising.
T stands for trust and true tribal temperament.
R stands for roots, respect  and radiance.
U stands for upcycling and unafraid.
D stands for daring and dogs.
E stands for encouraging and enthusiastic.
A stands for awesome and all-embracing.
U stands for universe and unashamed.
Outside of Tribe you might have seen her around Portobello, walking her playful Labradoodledoo pup called Wonder at the beach, tap-dancing at the Big Beach Busk, sea-swimming, playing volleyball, enjoying mojitos at the Skylark, chatting, smiling and waiting for her two children in the playground at Towerbank Primary School. Mostly dressed in black, keeping the paparazzi away by hiding behind her big black sunglasses.
No wonder, we say, having set up Tribe Porty, the buzzing community place on Windsor Place in 2015, coming up to its 3rd year: Tribe Porty is a place to make good things happen – a connectivity hub which promotes a healthy and happy community.  We love it and we love her. Thank you for being you and Happy birthday!

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