Sean and I watched Our Social Dilemma on Netflix the other night — and I relearned what I already knew: Social media is wild.
Our newsfeeds aren't filled with our preferences like a tack board or a scrapbook. They're carefully curated to keep us glued to our devices, and surrounded with stories from people who think exactly like we do. With algorithms designed with one goal in mind (to learn everything about us), lest we forget:
Our attention is our most valuable currency.
Sean and I had a conversation about goats' milk the other day. A day later, what shows up on Sean's feed? He was offered an ad for a book about...
Wait for it...
... milking goats.
NAILED IT. We know these things happen — we know the algorithms are working and we laugh when we get profiled in situations like this. (No Mom, we're not getting goats.) And yet, as people who know things about things, how do we approach this from a yogic perspective?
I remember when I was in India a few years ago, and I was hung up on this — and I asked my teacher, Anand. His answer was so simple: Use technology to make yourself available.
That being said, exactly what are we making ourselves available to at any given moment? Are we consciously consuming information for the intent of learning and connection? Or mindlessly scrolling because we're bored? We can ask ourselves: What am I spending my attention on? What am I making myself available to?
As someone who has a hard time swinging fully in one direction (close my social accounts, go dark!) or the other (spend more time on social, it's fun!), I've turned to what I feel like is a happy medium. I'm constantly working on mastering my own attention so I can be available to joy. And not necessarily joy from seeing a friend's new baby on Facebook, or a puppy video on Instagram, or a nice email from a customer. Sure those things are joy-inducing... but I'm talking about being able to cultivate reasonless joy. Joy for the sake of joy. It's simple, sustainable, and keeps me from being vulnerable to forces out of my control. Anand puts it perfectly:
... for a lot of people the joy of life is like an intermission from the suffering in both directions. It only happens on a vacation, when having a piece of cake, a smoke, or whatever it may be. That kind of joy is only a little break from the rest of their life, the real purpose of which should be celebration and liberation.
— Anand Mehrotra, “This is That”
As we enter a month of debates, election news, fake news, real news, and more opinions that we ever cared for in the first place... remember:
Reasonless joy comes from the inside — and radiates out.
... and starting tonight, we'll show you how to wake up, cultivate joy from the inside, and free yourself from unconscious consumption.
Join Blaine and I in our fall Yoga Hive 21-day challenge, Journey into Joy, which meets once a week starting TONIGHT (Wednesdays) 6:30-8pm MST / 7:30-9pm CST — September 30 - October 14, 2020. Pay what you can for the course — either $22, $44 or $66. Learn how to incorporate yoga and mindfulness practices into your daily routine so you can breeze (and breathe!) through the next month and cultivate reasonless joy in your life — this course is filled with NEW content so if you've taken one of these before, you'll find new topics and homework! If you can’t make the in-person meetings, we’ll record all the sessions so you can participate at your own pace!
>>> Click here to sign up for Journey into Joy NOW!
Other things coming up (with registration links and details in the scroll!)
PS — I posted the photo from hiking in the Brooks Range below a few weeks ago on my Instagram page because when I saw this snap on Sean's phone after our hike, I couldn't believe the view that was right over my shoulder! A good reminder that when all you can do is keep your head down and focus on what’s right in front of you, you forget that vast wide world is right over your shoulder 😳🥰 Sometimes a glance over your shoulder is worth the view!
Last week, I dreamt worms came out of a tiny hole on my stomach.
Anytime Sean and I share our dreams with one another, we Google possible meanings. And although there are a lot of weird “meanings” of dreaming about worms, the one that resonated with me the most (yes, I get to choose!) is the release of negativity. As in, something that you were holding onto — that ultimately wasn’t part of your true nature — was finally ready to get the heck out of you.
Or me, I guess!
Today happens to be Sean and my 9th wedding anniversary (!), and I can’t help but think the worms, and this new chapter — especially our massive undertaking building guest cabins for Arctic Hive... it's our do-over.
In 2017, Sean and I built a small cabin on our property in Montana and filmed for a TV show, Building Off Grid, which still airs on Discovery Channel today.
Although it was our second off-grid build project after we built our yurt two years prior, it was a haphazard summer. We had three months to build something we had never done before, and there were a crew of very nice people around us at all times constantly watching for drama, for breakdown, for the slightest character blip that would be good for TV. And while I'm ultimately so happy with how that show turned out and how the crew portrayed our lives back then, I can’t help but look back through a dark lens. That year in our lives, and the aftermath, was rife with struggle, intensity and unnecessary stressors that we were both wrestling with in our own way. Although we don’t have any regrets, that year proved to be our most challenging yet... and the build project was smack in the middle, seemingly churning more and more stress by the minute.
This new arctic build project — which is arguably a million times more difficult than the Montana house for so many reasons — although at first carried some of the same harshness, now feels like our chance to do things over on our own terms. Our own timeline. Our own production schedule. We’ve spent more time together as a team, building a space together, in the last six months than we have in the last six years. And I can’t help but find gratitude for that brief period of darkness years ago —for if we hadn’t felt the pain and intensity of that last time, the relative contrast of ease, fun, and light this time around wouldn’t be as meaningful, or as noticeable. After all...
Gratitude comes from our ability to cognize contrast within our own life experience.
The highs are only high because we know the depth of the lows. And as the highs get higher, so, too, the lows get lower. This is part of the plan — this is the whole objective! As the contrasts continue to deepen all around us, we learn to recognize the lows for what they are, and we can more quickly pull ourselves out of the funk and into our true nature. We find gratitude for where we are — and we honor where we've been. Because every piece of our life puzzle has contributed to bringing us to now.
During this fall equinox season, as we celebrate the passage of time and the changing of the seasons, I find myself mirroring the phase nature is in, within my own life. I've just wrapped up a decade of life with Sean, and a few weeks ago, I celebrated my 34th lap around the sun. A new phase feels good... and I’m brimming with gratitude for my life, and for each of you who we get to serve in so many ways through Yoga Hive.
All it took was some worms to see all this!
Wherever you find yourself, please remember that the external world doesn’t dictate your internal circumstances. Although contrast is everywhere, we can stay focused on the contrast within our own life, and use our emotions as clues to guide us toward the next step. Yoga and mindfulness are timeless technologies that give us the wherewithal to harness our power from within to experience life more fully. Not sure where to start? Yoga Hive can help...
Join Blaine and I in our fall Yoga Hive 21-day challenge, Journey into Joy, which meets once a week on Wednesday nights from 6:30-8pm MST / 7:30-9pm CST — September 30 - October 14, 2020. We start in a week! If you can’t make the in-person meetings, we’ll record all the sessions so you can participate at your own pace! More details below.
I'm also SO excited to announce a brand new advanced yoga training happening with me on Zoom this December - the Energetic Body Master Training. This 30 hour course meets on Zoom with me for one long weekend, in addition to a variety of prep work before the training, and 20 hours of post-training homework that can be completed at your own pace. Scroll for the details!
Other things coming up (with registration links and details in the scroll!)
Sending you so much love, today and always!
Joy is Power
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.
(More on the 21-day challenge below!)
The first time this idea — Joy is power — really stuck with me was a few years ago. Sean and I were on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula, looking for an off-grid property to call our own. We were staying with our friend, Mike, who has lived in Homer his whole life. Although we had a tiny budget, we were crossing our fingers we’d find land and an off-grid structure. It was a long shot, but we met with a realtor and went on a drive to see a few places in our budget.
It was like House Hunters gone wrong. One house had a rotten foundation and smelled like mold. One house wasn’t actually on the map — we couldn’t even find it. And the third house I’ll never forget. We pulled in the driveway, and I remember the Realtor saying, “Now you’ll have to use your imagination on this one…” (Never a good start.) He began explaining the features, and said, “And I should probably tell you that the last owner died in the home.”
“… and he wasn’t discovered for two years.”
NO THANK YOU.
We were defeated and called Mike to debrief. He said, “You know, I thought about this cabin that my parents’ friends built years ago. It might just be perfect for you guys. I’ll call them and see if they’re thinking about selling.”
Mike called his family friends — Gert and Floyd, and lo and behold they had just decided to sell their ~300 square foot log cabin. We walked out to the cabin the following day (3 miles from the road system in Fritz Creek) and decided it was perfect.
We drove to meet Gert and Floyd that night, and I noticed around her home there were references to the word “joy” everywhere. I’ll never forget how Gert — a firecracker in her 80s who is the embodiment of joy, herself — sat at her kitchen table and turned the pages of her scrapbook as she told the stories of how at 65 — just shy of 20 years prior, she and Floyd had snowmobiled in all the logs and hand-built this cabin. The stories of their adventure were captivating. I remember thinking, Is this real life?
When we told them we’d be honored to buy their cabin (because of course, it was EXACTLY within our budget), they asked for us all to join hands and they said a prayer around that kitchen table that this serendipitous match would be for the good of all concerned, and would (most importantly) bring us joy as a couple in this new adventure. What way to seal a real estate transaction!
We went back to Mike’s that night, feeling excited… and I pulled a card from my Danielle Laporte Truthbomb card deck and do you know what it said? I took a picture of it that night...
“Joy is power.”
This phrase has guided my life once before… and it will guide us all again this year. I hope that we — as a Yoga Hive community — can cultivate more joy in our lives, regardless of the pain we’ve felt of late, regardless of the uncertainty in the air, and regardless of what’s to come in 2020.
Sending you so much love and JOY this week.
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.