SCRANTON — Troy Ahmdahl and Dave Braun stopped in Scranton recently to inspire people to live in Oola. No, it’s not a strange planet in a galaxy far, far away, it’s when someone is “living in a state of awesomeness.”
Their stop on Tuesday, Sept. 16 was part of the Oola Life Tour, a cross country endeavor aimed at inspiring people to create and fulfill reachable goals. They rolled into town with Tay Tay the Intern, a marketing student at The University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, who was blithely driving a 1970 Volkswagen bus with more than 4,400 stickers vibrantly displayed across the vehicle. Each sticker holds a goal. Rebecca Majors, from Scranton, had a goal to go to heaven and posted it to the bus. She said she recently dropped from 385 pounds to 145 pounds and bragged that she’s off several prescription medications – so she has no plans on getting there any time soon.
“Posting goals on the bus puts them out there for the whole world to see and holds the person making the goal accountable,” Braun said.
Those who didn’t participate may have missed the bus, but aren’t missing the opportunity to live an Oola life. Ahmdahl and Braun wrote an entire book, “Oola: Find Balance In An Unbalanced World,” that promises to guide anyone to live the life of their dreams. The book is available on Amazon.
Ahmdahl and Braun said they’ve been living an Oola life for almost 20 years. The pair met in 1997 when Braun was an intern at Ahmdahl’s chiropractic office in Phoenix, Arizona. That same year, Ahmdahl took Braun to Vegas to step outside of themselves and set goals in a fun environment.
There they focused on seven categories of life to achieve balance and growth: Fitness, finance, family, field (career), faith, friends, and fun.
“We sat on the floor with 3×5 notecards and focused on these seven key areas that we just came up with,” Ahmdahl said.
“Then we were like an accountability group,” Braun added. “We’d stay on top of each other every two weeks to make sure we were keeping up with our goals.”
The Vegas trip became an annual tradition for Ahmdahl and Braun over the next eight years. They eventually came up with the term Oola to describe their balance, or state of awesomeness, stemming from the word ooh la la, because “that’s what your life feels like when it’s balanced,” Ahmdahl said.
Focusing on the seven areas worked well for them. They both achieved success by their late 20s. They both had their own chiropractic offices. They both had nice homes. They both got married and had families. Ahmdahl went on to have four children: Max, 21; Joelle, 17; Bennett, 14; and Alea, 13. Braun had five children: Ashelyn, 21; Tamaryn, 19; Tiandra, 18; Brynnae, 15; and Zaren, 13.
As the trips fizzled with the hecticness of their lives, so did Braun’s focus on living in Oola. By 2008, he found himself going through a divorce, losing his house and living in a motel.
“We compare it to that guy in the circus who spins the plates on a stick,” Ahmdahl said. “He’ll get all seven plates spinning, but when he gets to the final plates, they start to wobble. If he only focuses on a couple plates, all of a sudden, the other plates start to wobble. You stop paying attention to all seven, they crash.”
By 2010, at rock bottom, Braun decided to focus on his seven areas of Oola once again. He vowed if his life got back on track from re engaging in the seven areas, then he’d share them with the world. And that’s what happened. After two years of working on his “seven F’s,” he was living in Oola again, he said.
The next year, in 2013, he teamed up with Ahmdahl to share the Oola life and its seven areas in a self-published book.
Now, they’re hitting small town America to share their message and inspire a nation.
Tay Tay, the 21-year-old intern, said she took a semester off college to travel the road with them.
“I was surrounded by tons of negative relationships,” Tay Tay said of her decision to adopt an Oola life. “The more negativity I was surrounded by, the more negative things were happening to me.”
Tay Tay shared that in April 2014, an intruder broke into her home at school and assaulted her. That was the last straw, she said.
She reached out to Ahmdahl and Braun to inquire about an internship and they created one for her.
Together they’re encouraging the country to focus on achieving balance in their personal lives.
They don’t know when they’ll end their tour, or even what cities they’ll go to.
“It’s all social media based,” Ahmdahl said.
“We’re going where the people say they want us to come,” Braun added.
They hope one of those stops will be on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.”
Follow their journey at Facebook.com/OolaLife.
Reach Justin Adam Brown at 570-991-6652 or on Twitter @wdkr