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.
I — not knowing anything about life with chronic disease — naively thought I could call up a heath insurance provider and sweet talk my way into getting us a family policy. Then magically, Sean would quit his job as the director of competitive snow sports, and we would move to Whitefish and have health insurance, and the world would be good!
I’ll never forget that phone call. I explained to the gentleman at Select Health that I needed a family policy because we would be leaving our jobs with health insurance to move out of Utah.
At first, he was like, “No problem Ms. Busby! I can help you with that!” He proceeded to take all my information down, asking questions, creating our profile (and I’m thinking, see? Told you so!) … until he asked, “Do either you or your husband have any pre-existing health conditions?”
“Yes. Sean has type 1 diabetes.”
“Oh, I’m sorry Ms. Busby but I can’t offer your family a policy at this time.”
I feigned shock, even though deep down I knew this was coming. I needed to hear him say it. I asked, “You mean to tell me just because my husband was born with a disease with no cure that he isn’t eligible for a policy with you? What do you expect us to do?” (As if this man would have my answer.)
“Correct ma’am. Your husband should not quit his job.”
“But we’re moving.”
“Then you shouldn’t move until you or he has a job that provides health insurance.”
The way I heard his advice? Stay put. Sit down. Be complacent. I was stunned. It moved me. I knew from that moment forward I was committed to doing everything I could to support the type 1 diabetes community, in Sean’s honor. I knew it deep in my bones. Kids with this disease should know they can accomplish their wildest dreams, despite being denied access to basic things like affordable health insurance. I’ve been around the world hosting camps for the non profit Riding On Insulin, and have spent time speaking to members of congress alongside Sean on Capitol Hill about the importance of research for type 1 and access to life saving medical supplies for seniors.
Since that fateful year, advocacy has paved the way for legislation prohibiting insurers from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions and providing access to life saving technologies for some of our at risk populations. Taking a stand is incredibly important, and change is possible when we’re passionate for the long haul. This takes love in our hearts for the cause. Not fear of inaction. Guilt for past wrongs. Or shame for “who we are.” True change comes when we dig deep and see that love is universal. Love is human nature.
But how do we know the right action to take when injustice is fresh in our minds and time is of the essence?
In the yogic teachings, we learn about dharma—your own unique path. Not a career, necessarily. Not “your purpose”. But the path you uniquely walk. Yoga teaches us that it’s better to strive on our own path, rather than to succeed in the path of another. Nothing is ever lost in following our own path. But when we engage in competition with someone else’s path, that action breeds fear and insecurity.
So, we must ask ourselves: Are we living our own path — from love, from that feeling deep down in our bones — or following someone else’s path, out of our own fear/guilt/shame? As we all struggle to determine the right thing to do at this time, instead of looking OUT to what everyone else is doing, look IN.
Yes, read books, get educated, take courses, talk to people, share your feelings, get advice, stand up for what you believe in. Do all those things. But when it comes to your personal right action, look inside. You will know what to do and it will be authentic and correct. When we do what others are doing (be it inaction or action) without examining our own role in the situation, we don’t feel fulfilled. We experience disconnect because our actions aren’t in alignment with our own deep knowing. Ultimately, we end up feeling even more separate than before we took action because we’ve behaved in a way that's separate from ourselves.
This is some deep work! So my recommendation? Do the work, look inside, trust yourself and LOVE, LOVE, LOVE! (And if you need yoga and meditation in your life to sort that out, you know where to find us!)
Here are Yoga Hive, we have a stance and some action items:
In light with love,
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.