Water is Life
Water is a reoccurring theme. It keeps reappearing, so I keep paying attention.
Holistic health includes ALL realms of life. As a holistic health coach and consultant, we cover this long list beginning with consumption: intake of food and water with a keen eye on quality first. What it comes down to is that food and water is medicine, lifestyle is medicine, and by re-framing this alone, a lot of physical, mental and emotional healing toward optimal, and then extraordinary living takes place.
Quick recap: Many reasons have led to this new layer of diversification within my holistic health umbrella of business based on major transitions. This Freedom Movement fell into my lap because I was actively seeking solutions to address individual layers of holistic health simultaneously. I desired this infusion not only for myself, but for peers, loved ones lost, and for those riding the waves authentically here today.
First, I must address Cancer Alley.
Second, Water is Life II, addresses what was shared first-hand from my childhood babysitters and neighbors in May 2018 who are still living in Cancer Alley.
Third, Water is Life III, ties in this Freedom Movement, Joni Travels Well, and what the hell it has to do with “Water is Life”, right?
Essentially, this movement is for anyone who desires to make change happen:
• an opportunity to support healing and/or those not living at full vibrancy with focus on the quality of water as well as personal and professional development
• an opportunity for these folks and all human beings to empower themselves creating income towards massive impact, making change happen on multiple levels, individually and globally
• an opportunity to work location-free, whether deep in healing or while committed to other personal and professional endeavors, making immense change even more attainable
• an opportunity to band together with like-minded souls, fight for clean environments and peace within all realms of life which is our absolute birthright
• an opportunity to embrace all the above for our future generations
Cancer Alley is a 150-mile stretch along the Mississippi River in South Louisiana from the capital of Baton Rouge down through New Orleans, home to over 100 industrial plants producing one quarter of our nation’s petrochemicals.
To quote activists within this realm…
"... taken from the book Petrochemical America by photographer Richard Misrach and landscape architect Kate Orff (2012): “For the past 50 or more years, society has been increasingly reliant on the products of the organic chemical industry to supply the clothes we wear, the food we eat, our health, housing, transportation, security, and other commodities. Approximately 92% of organic chemical products are produced from petroleum, that is, fossil, or mineral, oil, and gas. In addition, these same resources are generally used to provide the large quantities of process heat and power needed by the industry. In the modern petrochemical industry, oil and gas inputs for both raw material and process energy compose around 50% of the operating costs. The result is that not only is the chemical industry (including petrochemicals) the industrial sector with the HIGHEST EMISSIONS WORLDWIDE, it is also very vulnerable to variations in fossil fuel prices and carbon prices.”
To state what I hope is rather obvious… if all of these chemicals are in the air we breathe, the earth, the food and water we consume, then what is becoming of human beings?
Essentially, we ARE Cancer Alley.
Now the greater theme of this Water is Life series stems from my early days of breaking societal norms and barriers, leaving the expectations of others behind, thinking outside of the box, dropping fears and stepping into the great unknown. Taking less accepted paths, such as The Freedom Movement, which much like medicinal cannibus use, eventually become norms.
The story rolls from “Cancer Alley” to living in the lands of the free and the brave with room to roam and room to breathe, physically, mentally, and emotionally. Joni Travels Well - The Freedom Movement, despite the name, is not about me. It is about many…
I grew up in the Deep South of New Orleanian culture, firmly rooted in its European past, its revelry layered with extremely conservative traditions and overarching patriarchal tendencies. Tendencies being a loose term. A culture of mixed messages laden with massive doses of guilt to keep its people in line. Suffocating - for men and especially for women. It never felt free to me in any way. Oppressive would be more appropriate.
In a nutshell, raised to “figure it out” on my own, another severe contradiction, while saluting the culture's strict guidelines at the same time… by the time I graduated from college I was beyond ready to run for the hills. And that is quite literally how it played out.
Folks I know from the South, from far greater means, often say to me, “You are so lucky.” I never understood that luck had anything to do with it. I apparently channeled free will, climbed into my little beater Nissan I bought after the beater Honda I originally purchased at 20 got totaled by someone with no insurance, stuffed a couple hundred dollars saved from my full-time “acceptable” minimum-wage job into my pocket, and rolled out.
No bragging or boasting here… I was only 22. I was 100% financially on my own so did not feel indebted to anyone, trusted my gut and did what I suppose I knew deep down I had to do, so that I could breathe, so that I could feel free.
So what does this have to do with water?
Well, my dad always made sure we knew that he moved us away from “Cancer Alley” to a healthier place. As a competitive child athlete, I became naturally inclined to focus on my health, luckily escaping the eating disorders of other kid gymnasts and dancers. So while I understood what my father had deeply ingrained, I didn’t see much healthy living happening around us within the land of "laissez les bons temps rouler" outside of the fact that my mother was a nurse who made sure we always had well-balanced meals with a salad on the table every single night. “Laissez les bons temps rouler” means Let the Good Times Roll, with a healthy dose of Catholic church services every Sunday, plus weekly Catechism classes to balance out the partying. Sin today, confess tomorrow and you make it through the Pearly Gates. No worries about how that much hedonism accompanied by guilt might affect the mind, body spirit and those around us. Insert eye roll.
College days, the most freeing time of my life which I adored, was also far from healthy. Partying at a massive SEC school and in New Orleans until all hours most days of the week was the norm. Classes were not challenging and professors didn’t bother with roll call, so skipping class and passing was a breeze. Cheating and gaining copies of tests that never changed year after year was not only fine, but totally encouraged. Those days were a trip. In, yes, many ways :)
Once I ran for the hills, driving first to Colorado then Wyoming, my gut, and likely my liver were like, “Hello!!! Can we please DETOX?!” I listened and while full detox didn’t happen at once, it did happen and my entire consumption and lifestyle shifted to the opposite of my homelands. Sticking to what was then was cutting-edge healthy habits including vegetarianism and veganism, I transformed back into the athlete I once was, and then some. As years went by, additions of a daily yoga practice alongside continuing education, experience, and with further progressive practices in place, I even healed most severe allergy issues, sinus infections and exercise-induced asthma. Afflictions that had previously made life miserable.
When you can't breathe on multiple levels, how can you feel free?
Again - What does this have to do with water?
Our bodies are comprised of up to 70% water. Most everything we consume that is best for us needs water to exist.
As a holistic health coach, I became amazed at the number of clients who did not realize basic water consumption was a massive component to cleaning and clearing their biological systems. Hydration was often key to their most basic goals such as losing those last 5 pounds, losing the first 5 of 100 pounds, or even feeling less drained, run-down, hungry, and more clear-headed on a daily basis.
In 2007, I started having dreams about the ocean constantly. I was craving diving into the salty ocean waters so immensely I could taste it. I had been land locked in a desert dry place that claimed “ski town” status, but was definitively, not. It was also not a city nor as culturally diverse as it thought, and the furthest thing from an ocean one could imagine in the high desert plains of the Rocky Mountains. What I was doing there had been a mystery anyway, and the blue waters beckoned.
I co-founded a fashion line in 2006 which early on encountered the beginning of the economic downturn of 2008, so a move to the West Coast made sense for not only the business, but as a cautionary measure for my livelihood and more importantly, trusting my gut again supporting my mind, body, and soul. As “woo woo” as that might sound, I packed up and it proved to be the best change I had made in years
While a lot of tumultuous events occurred given the recession, to this day, Southern California is by far my favorite climate. The diversity and culture of the oceanside city is almost as amazing as where I grew up, and it will always be one of my favorite homes.
But it is Los Angeles and tap water quality is questionable. My friends in the wellness community I rubbed shoulders with (quite literally in packed yoga classes daily) were constantly geeking out on water quality, the pineal gland’s relationship with water quality, and all sorts of new-to-me info hailing from Louisiana and then the Rocky Mountain West. They were always just ahead of the curve and I soaked up everything I possibly could.
While on a break from city life, grounding down back in the mountains where I had spent my 20’s, life handed me its own plan once again. A severely broken leg turned my “break” in the mountains into an actual break. I said, "OK, well if this is what’s happening, it is what it is!" Trust. Trust. Trust. Thankfully, with remote work, I was able to navigate what went down including a second surgery a year later.
During this time, “Water is Life” was revived in my being with the Dakota Access Pipeline situation at Standing Rock in 2016.
That movement moved me to tears every day.
Cancer Alley was refreshed in my being, where the oil business is king, chemical plants are queen, existing alongside some of the most poverty-stricken areas of the United States. Lots of folks’ livelihoods depend on the oil industry and the chemical plants. But many of those guys are in denial to this day of the cost. That cost being human lives. The health, wellbeing, and literally the lives of local residents. No big deal, right?
Thankfully, when I was 9 years old, my father moved us a couple hours away to a bit better location.
But Standing Rock reignited thoughts of the atrocities of Cancer Alley.
I became obsessed with the unacceptable.
But living in the more affluent hyper-bubbles life has taken me to in Wyoming, Colorado and California, I felt far away, small, and even in trying to make change happen within my local community, somewhat disempowered again within an alpha, highly competitive, ego-driven small town where “co-opetition” is not understood nor the norm.
This is a much larger conversation. Everything is connected.
But water quality is far from a new fight, right? Remember Erin Brockavich? Plenty examples worldwide.
As for the manly men currently in office - the last couple years have certainly confirmed that they do not have our backs nor our best interests at heart.
It is up to us. And the time is NOW.
I have been seeking solutions.
I have found extra ways to make change happen.
And to make it happen rapidly.
To take back our health, wealth, happiness, and well-being.
To support other humans.
To take back our lives.
Enabling and empowering each and every one of us to step up, no matter of background, to fight for what we believe in, and claim what is rightfully ours.
Please stay tuned for Water is Life II.
Inside & Out,