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.