One of our current teacher trainees described her mood this past weekend: She woke up feeling like a dragon, breathing fire… that so resonated with me. Fiery energy has been abundant in my emotional world lately, and unfortunately, it has been literally abundant in the Pacific Northwest as the wildfires rage on.
So as Blaine and I sat down this past week to plan our annual fall 21-day challenge for Yoga Hive, we were tossing around themes, acknowledging what had been coming up lately. What do we need more of as 2020 draws to a close? What turns chaos and fire into something useful?
The answer was simple: Joy.
Journey into Joy.
Because fire has been present in our day-to-day, it’s been burning up so many things we were ready to let go of, and we’ve found so much space for new things. New pathways. New adventures. Our willingness to detach and discover joy in every moment has never been so fulfilling, and necessary.
The truth is: Joy is power.
Mid-day in the arctic, as I was walking down our access trail, I heard a resounding THUD from behind me.
Then a groan.
Sean wiped out on a piece of muddy plywood, right on his tailbone. Ouch!
My instinct was to chuckle, ONLY because the same darn thing had happened to me just days earlier. What a mess! (Note: Sean is fine!)
At that point, we’d tried so many different solutions to patch together a workable access trail. When the permafrost is exposed without the tundra above, it melts and it's unstoppable. Likewise, tundra is important because it insulates and protects the frozen layer. The definition of an access trail is moving over tundra, so this is a natural obstacle. In the bottom photo below, Sean holds a chunk of ice we dug out from a few inches beneath the tundra as we were selecting the sites for the cabins — literally, a hunk of ice from a mass that can exist as deep as 2,000 feet beneath the surface!
With an abundance of water running down the hillside (which leads to mud) and so many trips back and forth hauling in materials (which also leads to mud), we created a bit of a (no surprise here) muddy mess.
Sean and I have been making trips up and down Alaska’s Haul Road recently, bringing building materials to hand-build off-grid cabins for Arctic Hive guests up here in Wiseman, 63 miles north of the arctic circle. Driving 7 hours (each way!) away from civilization into the heart of the Brooks Range means I have to stock up on podcasts each time we make the trip.
Enter ZigZag, with Manoush Zomorodi. I love this podcast and earlier this week, I listened to an older episode where she interviewed Jennifer Petriglieri, author of Couples That Work. Although Jennifer was speaking primarily to marriage with two people who are both working, I believe her research supports all relationships concerned — business, friendship, family, etc. Her research proves that couples go through three distinct transitions together. And not just some couples — ALL COUPLES, across the board. If they don’t make it through one of three transitions, the relationship doesn’t work out.
Grandpa checked out of his body in the early morning hours of July 4th. He was NINETY years old, which is incredible — nearly a century of life! I was asked to write his obituary, so I was able to have an intimate conversation with my grandmother in remembrance of him and everything he stood for.
The whole experience got me thinking about the past… and how it shapes our experience of the present.
For me, one of my favorite parts of my past — specifically being from Wisconsin — is all the weird phrases people from Wisconsin say. When my own Midwest slang occasionally pops up in a conversation, I’m accustomed to the silent, confused stare and I quickly clarify. But when I first moved out west, I had no idea these phrases were so regional! I remember the first time I realized not everyone says “a horse a piece” or “geez louise” or calls a Pontoon Boat a “float boat.” I couldn’t believe it!
There’s a hilarious comedian named Charlie Berens that has built his career on this — I’m just going to link these words in case you want a good laugh along with instructions on my grandpa’s favorite cocktail, the Old Fashioned. That video is actually what family gatherings sound like sometimes! This week, I learned one of Grandpa’s phrases was “Sprinkle the Infield!” which he would use when instructing a bartender to buy a round of drinks for everyone at the bar. I love that, and I love how it speaks to the sort of guy my grandfather was.
I have a family member that I love to debate with. Whenever I visit him, politics come up — and normally this is where everyone’s heart skips a beat and the eggshells come out. Not for me! I love the opportunity to voice my view and listen to his. He and I know we’ll "agree to disagree,” but on a deeper level, both of us enjoy the chance to share viewpoints and be heard.
To me, those conversations with family (where I know my viewpoint won’t change anyone’s mind) are practice... practice for when I really need the words to make an impact elsewhere. As a yoga teacher and a writer, I know I need to practice getting my words out whenever I have the chance. The more often I try them out, the more likely they are to carry conviction when they matter most.
In those conversations, I’m detached from the idea of converting anyone, so I’m generously listening. Rather than mentally formulating my next point while he's talking, I’m hearing his view. When I speak, I try to speak to him (based on what he said), rather than AT him... I modify what I say so that he might be able to hear me. And regardless of the outcome, I chalk the whole experience up as a chance to brush up on my listening skills, practice tailoring my words, and ultimately learning how to love my family members for who they are with whatever beliefs they have in that moment.
It’s hard to know where to begin.
Things are hard and messy these days — there’s no debate on that. The current wave of urgency to act NOW is a familiar feeling for me. After I met Sean, I started my journey as an advocate for people with type 1 diabetes. (I am not comparing chronic disease to civil rights, nor am I implying this makes me some “authority” in today’s world… this is just how my story begins).
Nine years ago this month, Sean and I were on our first trip to Whitefish, Montana. I remember telling friends and family that nothing could stop us from moving there as soon as possible.
The only thing holding us back? We had to figure out health insurance.
Since I’ve known him, Sean has lived with type 1 diabetes — an autoimmune disease with no cure where your body doesn’t produce insulin, the hormone needed for survival and to take in nutrients from food. His pancreas is broken. He didn’t cause this for himself. It just… happens.
In other words: He has a preexisting condition.
Have you ever noticed that nature doesn't stop when a virus hits the planet?
Storms still roll through. Birds still wake us up in the morning. Tiny little ants still do their job, hauling food back to their community. Even when they get totally smashed by a human hiking in the woods, they simply begin again.
Even though it feels like our lives have come to a standstill, the world is still turning. Nature is constantly showing us that nothing waits for humans to "get it together." Life — as they say — goes on. The world (nature, humans, animals and everything in between) begins again, in every moment.
I was reading back to some of my newsletters from many months ago, and I found myself thinking: Wow, I had NO IDEA what was in store for me, or Yoga Hive. There I was mid-January, building studios, opening spaces, welcoming in community members alongside our teaching teams... not a clue in the world what was in store in the coming months.
And you know what? This is no different than now. I have no idea what's in store for us tomorrow. Or next week. Or next year. The birds were chirping then. The birds are chirping now. The news reported on chaos then. The news reports on chaos now. I was happy then. I was happy now. I was tired then. I am tired now.
The circumstances have changed — but you know what? The ant's entire kingdom gets wiped out with one boot print. Lets do as the ant does: Begin again, rebuild, and learn. Our circumstances and challenges change daily, virus or not. So instead of telling you about our "new normal," I will suggest that normal isn't worth our time. Normal is not how we do business here at Yoga Hive.
We're opening the Whitefish studio on June 1st! HOME STRETCH, people!
Or is it?
That's the funny thing about COVID-19. We're making moves and setting dates and *thinking* about venturing beyond the boundaries of what we call "home." But is any of that for certain? No. Could that all change in a heartbeat? Yes.
Nothing is for certain — and I know we feel rattled because of the last few months, but lest we forget: Nothing in life is certain, nor has it ever been.
It's got a ring to it! More info forthcoming about our plan of action next week, with a full summer schedule to boot, including indoor classes, outdoor classes, paddleboard yoga and more!
That being said, are there a million questions yet to be answered about how this is going to work? Of course.. I was listening to my teacher, Anand, speak a few nights ago, and he spoke about questions. Specifically, asking questions – and what questions we ask can reveal so much about our internal state of being.
This weekend is the final weekend of yoga teacher training for our Montana-based crew. And as I reflect back on the last few months (and where they went?), I am reminded that everything in life is impermanent. Every yoga teacher training — however magical they all are — eventually comes to an end. (And our 100% online YTT begins June 3rd - click for details!)
In the same way, I dropped off our 15-year-old Weimaraner with Sean’s parents this past weekend. Daisy will live out her golden years sunbathing and getting SO much love with our family in warmer climates. Our time with our pets — however magical it is — eventually comes to an end.
In the same way, as so many of you know, we made the difficult decision to permanently close our Kalispell and Columbia Falls studios as of May 1st, and carry on in Montana with our flagship location in Whitefish. Every business — however magical it is for however long it lasts — eventually comes to an end.
Sensing a trend here?
The Yoga Hive team agrees that we're now in the year Zero AC — after COVID.
The time prior to this, we fondly refer to as BC — before COVID.
BC, Blaine (owner of Yoga Hive Colorado) and I worked together closely on programs and trainings and executed them separately at our studios. We would check in with each other and share feedback and learnings on our separate workshops and events and yoga teacher trainings (YTTs) and I would fly to Colorado and teach portions of her trainings and she would fly to Montana/Wisconsin and teach portions of our trainings... but they were separate.
Then quarantine happened.
AC, the light bulb happened... a brilliant, shining realization. Online, we can teach TOGETHER! We can merge yoga class schedules and have various teachers from all over the Yoga Hive Universe teach all the Yoga Hive Members. Instead of Blaine leading BeAbundant (a 21 day workshop that ends today) in Colorado, and I lead it in Montana and/or Wisconsin, we can teach it to everyone TOGETHER.
And all this togetherness has been more fun and impactful that we could have ever imagined.
Mollie Busby is the owner of Yoga Hive, and writes inspirational musings for our newsletter, which we post here, along with upcoming trainings and workshops. To filter, navigate using the links above to see the category you're interested in. If you have questions, or wish to get in touch with Mollie, drop in to a class, or connect online: