My New Obsession, and Why We Crave Community and Movements
Photo courtesy of Orin Zebest.

My New Obsession, and Why We Crave Community and Movements

Written by Emilie

Topics: Puttytribe

I’ve officially gone coo coo about the Paleo lifestyle. In the last week, I’ve absorbed heaps of information about the movement: books, blogs, podcasts (shout out to Angelo Coppola at Latest in Paleo which is fantastic), everything I could get my hands on.

I’ve joined a CSA, tried a whole bunch of new, delicious Primal recipes, started working out at the Green Microgym (mostly weights and resistance training, with the occasional sprint), began walking more, and I’ve even felt the urge to get out in nature and lift some heavy rocks.

Paleo is my latest multipotentialite obsession, and I see it having a long lasting impact on the quality of my life. It’s not just the diet, the whole lifestyle appeals to me. I love the idea of living simply, and in accordance with our ancestral roots, and I love that so much of the literature is based in science.

For most people who embrace the Paleo lifestyle, cutting out grains, sugars, and processed foods is a massive change. But I’ve essentially been eating Paleo (plants and vegetables, with a few nuts and berries) for two years now, I just never called it that. I was doing it because I was having health problems, and was trying to figure out what was wrong with me.

Movements Empower Us

Although my diet hasn’t changed that much in the last week, I feel different now that I’ve embraced a movement. It’s no longer just me, out there on my own, with some weird diet that I smooshed together. Now I’ve got a community of smart, healthy people in my corner. I feel like I’m a part of something bigger than myself, something with its own vocabulary, resources, and authorities.

This gets to the essence of community and movement building. It’s the same reason that discovering that you’re a multipotentialite is such a significant moment for most people. You realize that it’s not just you out there in the world, unable to choose one path. Nope, there’s a whole community of us and a budding movement behind the lifestyle. That’s an empowering feeling.

Every coaching student I work with has a goal to empower others. That’s the thing about multipotentialites– we want to embrace and express all of our interests, but we want to do it in a way that’s both sustainable for us, and gives back to the world. I love that.

Community building is absolutely worthwhile. If you can give even one person a voice, you’ve made a difference.

Remaining True to Your Shifting Nature

At the same time as I adore movements, it’s important not to be dogmatic about them. Growing up, I had a lot of different friends in a lot of different circles. I didn’t feel like I fit in 100% with the geeks or the stoners or the artists, and I liked it that way. It was more about the individual relationships and ideas, rather than fully associating with the values of one group.

Associating with a movement is empowering, but it’s important to always place your own individuality above the “rules.” Always question things, and continue to ask whether an idea resonates with you. Don’t just blindly accept the group values without checking in with yourself.

I always try to reiterate this in my work: do what works for you. I don’t like the idea of being perceived as a guru. I simply present the world as I see it and share what I’m learning while going about my multipotentialite life. I encourage you to take my words and use the parts makes sense, but leave the parts that don’t. Piece together your own methods.

Some Labels are More Inclusive than Others (or the “Non-Label” Label)

Multipotentialites typically hate labels because they feel restrictive. If you’re known as The Filmmaker, it’s hard to tell people that you’re going to law school next year (true story).

But some labels are more inclusive than others. Some are more like “overarching themes” than niches. They allow you to explore many facets of your personality.

Occasionally a multipotentialite will express concern to me that they might not really be a multipod, or that they’re “doing it wrong,” because they don’t have a bunch of spinning plates in the air at once, but prefer to dive deep into one topic for a matter of years before changing directions and focusing on an entirely new topic.

There’s no right way to be a multipotentialite. Some of us have a dozen interests on the go at any given time, while others are serial deep divers, and plenty of us are somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. We are all different, with wildly divergent interests, backgrounds, and scanning styles.

But see, that is what we have in common. In a sense, the multipotentialite identity is more of a non-label label. It’s about being different, expressing all parts of yourself, and being a life-long learner. It’s one of the least limiting labels you could adopt, which is precisely why I don’t have a problem identifying as one.

Going Forward as You Start Your Own Movement

When you create a movement, honour your multipotentialite nature and don’t try to fit yourself into a box. Don’t worry that you’re going to confuse people by focusing on many topics. Brainstorm hard to come up with your overarching theme, express that theme clearly, and you will attract your right people. Your platform will also be far more interesting and resonate on a much deeper level with your community.

Best of all, your community won’t feel like they have to choose either. You’ll be empowering them, without restricting them through a narrow subject matter.

And so as I explore this Paleo stuff, I recognize that it’s wonderful to be completely engrossed in a movement, but I will personalize my experience, and leave behind the parts that don’t work for me. And if I ever feel the urge to shift away entirely, I won’t worry that I’m being flaky by changing directions. That’s the beauty of being a multipotentialite.

Your Turn

How have you experienced movements and communities? Do some labels feel more open to you than others?

11 Comments

  1. Rebecca says:

    Emilie,
    I love the Paleo movement! Here’s a really snappy source for you: http://undergroundwellness.com/

    Sean is a rockstar, has a podcast and even has a standing call in for guests on his Podcast: http://undergroundwellness.com/contact-us/

    • Emilie says:

      Very cool, thanks for the tip Rebecca! I will check it out.

      By the way, I don’t know if you noticed, but I started a thread about this in the Puttytribe. Getting tons of AMAZING advice. If you’re into Paleo, you might want to check it out too.

  2. OK, I know you didn’t write this post specifically for me but it kind of feels like you did. :)

    And your talking about labels and movements is right on with one of my favorite Paleo, or should I say ancestral health, bloggers David Csonka. A highly related article to this one is the one he published earlier this week called “Ancestral vs. Paleo. How Important Are the Words We Use to Describe Our Movement?”

    http://naturallyengineered.com/blog/ancestral-vs-paleo-how-important-are-the-words-we-use-to-describe-our-movement/

    Everything I’ve achieved since my personal renaissance started two years ago is because I attached a reason why to a movement that resonated with me. Without finding a movement or community to latch on to I couldn’t or wouldn’t have made 1/100th of the positive change in my life that I have. And you’re a big part of this Emilie.

    • Emilie says:

      Haha well I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t have you and our little Puttytribe thread in mind when I wrote this…

      Sounds like an great article. I’ll take a read a bit later.

      And Joel, you’re too awesome! Honestly, it’s Puttypeep like you who make this whole community-building thing so amazing. :)

  3. Michelle says:

    I have a love/hate relationship with labels – there are some that are indeed inclusive rather than exclusive, and thus create communities that are the same way. But I’ve also seen way, way too much of the “you’re doing it wrong” attitude in everything from paganism to punk rock (and so much more in between), and it’s SO frustrating to me – can’t we focus on our similarities instead of quibbling over details?!

    However, when communities are done right (like, say, Puttylike ;) ) they are exceptionally motivating, strengthening, and empowering. Solidarity is a powerful thing & it’s something that we all NEED, whether we consciously realize it or not.

    • Emilie says:

      Yup, I had the same experience as you, both when I was into the punk scene (waaay back in high school. God, my pants were so wide.. *shudder*) and more recently in the arts/hipster world. Bleh. So judgmental and closed-minded for “alternative” communities. No fun.

      Thanks Michelle. You’re doing wonderfully empowering things over on your platform as well! xo.

  4. KJ Konkin says:

    I heart Paleo. Tonight’s supper: kelp noodles, silvered roast beef, sundried tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, cabbage, garlic & tamari. YUM;-)

  5. Just found this article. Thank you Emilie!!! I’ve had health problems for years but heard vague things about the Paleolithic Diet. Now I’ve found it, yay!

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