2020, our great guru
Yesterday, as I was working on the curriculum for the upcoming Conscious Leadership course, I brushed the dust off the manuscript of my first book, The Yoga of Business.
I wrote it in November of last year, but haven't touched it since, because... well, COVID.
The book is written how I speak to you in these newsletters. I take my life experience as an entrepreneur and as a human, and apply that yogic mentality to the wild world of business — which is precisely the foundation for Conscious Leadership!
Pre-COVID, I was determined to get it published, but then the Virus of the Year arrived, and sent me back to real-life business bootcamp, once again.
Knowing what I know now about 2020, I was both surprised and relieved that my words in the book still ring true — maybe more-so than they did before. A true testament to the timeless nature of yoga. Here's an excerpt from the Preface that really stuck with me as we face a new year, starting tomorrow:
Growing up, my dad was a stand-in pastor at our church. He gave sermons when the actual pastor was out of town. Apparently, he knew a thing or two about inspiring folks. Through his words, impeccable attendance record and willingness to volunteer, he showed the congregation what devotion looks like.
Me, on the other hand?
I had to be persuaded every week to go to Sunday School! Egg McMuffin Happy Meals were my bribe of choice — and it didn't matter who was in the pulpit during the sermon. And despite my pushback on whether it was realistic to turn water into wine, my dad never forced me to learn anything I wasn’t willing to learn — he just asked that I show up.
And I did.
What I (nor my dad) didn’t know then, was that he was my first yoga teacher. Not by making poses like down dog and Warrior 2. My dad was teaching me through his actions what it meant to show up, to study, and to learn.
Although he's given me many nuggets of wisdom as my spiritual identity has evolved, perhaps the one I remember most is: “God never gives you anything you can’t handle.” And despite my constant search for a spiritual landing zone, that idea has been an anchor through my whole life.
What in the world — you might be asking — do God, church and Happy Meals have to do with business?
The answer is everything. My entire life has prepared me for this moment, right now.
And so has yours — all the hard times, the scary times, the euphoric experiences and memorable moments.
I believe that with my whole heart, and you’ll be hearing many stories in this book that seemingly have nothing to do with running a business… and yet they have everything to do with who I am, which is everything to do with running my businesses.
I believe the same might apply to you, too.
As I reflect on how far I've come since my Happy Meal Sundays, my thoughts drift to all the things 2020 has taught me. This year has truly been my great guru (teacher).
I learned that nothing — no business, or ambition, or travel plan — is more important to me than my family. I officially moved to Alaska to be with my hubby, Sean, and haven't been on an airplane in eight months! The universe (and an incredible team around the country) made it possible to still teach yoga remotely, uniting our communities from Montana, Wisconsin, Colorado and beyond. This has been a true gift to do what I love, with the human and pups I love, and I couldn't be more grateful.
Also: I learned the supreme art of letting go (aparigraha, in Sanskrit) when I made an incredibly difficult decision to close two of our beloved Yoga Hive locations due to the hardships associated with COVID. Seeing so many of your faces, and air-hugging you from a distance as I loaded the Uhaul with years of studio stuff... those moments and hugs and helping hands meant so much to me.
And: I learned what it means to build a wilderness retreat center above the Arctic Circle in the Alaskan bush. I have the strength to haul materials — yes, nearly every single thing you see in the photo below — by hand, either partially or the entire way to our build site when the mud was too thick, or the ice too slick ... and then smile for the camera at the end of the day!
...among many, many other things.
To think... if I judged the "quality" of 2020 based on my initial expectations in February, I'd be so disappointed because the last year has been one giant pivot.
But — I was ready to see (or perhaps, be shown) the path of least resistance, without being attached to what life "should" look like... and I will tell you: That is the secret to success right there:
When we grip life less tightly, magic happens.And so, as you collect yourself, and your resolutions and a bubbly beverage of your choice, I invite you to remind yourself (as I have) that your ENTIRE LIFE has prepared you for this moment. This new chapter. This new year.
2020 has been our collective great guru.
And whether you're smiling in remembrance, or cannot WAIT to be in 2021 (or perhaps somewhere in the middle!), the age-old practice of honoring the guru within and without is indeed something to raise a glass to.
Cheers — happy new year, friends!
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Originally hailing from Wisconsin, Mollie is a cheesehead transplant to Northwest Montana, with degrees in Retail and Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Today, she lives off the grid, half the year in a Tiny House & half the year in a yurt — both of which she and her husband, Sean, built by hand. Nonprofit Executive Director by day, Mollie also owns and teaches at Yoga Hive — a chain of community yoga studios in the valley.