Tuesday officially marks five weeks I've spent in quarantine... this is the longest I've spent in one place in over a year. A YEAR! Sinking into a rhythm without traveling feels... good. And long overdue. And so many provisions with COVID — however crushing in other ways — have ultimately made this rhythm possible in my life.
Gratitude, like this, comes in waves. Each day, I look forward discovering it all over again. Earlier this week, the gratitude wave caught me off guard.
Sean and I finally broke our streak, and went into town. I was waiting while a cashier rang up my grocery order. I surveyed around me as people pushed shopping carts — some with masks, some tucking their chins and mouths into their jacket collars. Some not taking any such precautions.
And in that moment, I felt my chest tighten and my eyes brim with tears... of gratitude. I WAS SURROUNDED BY OTHER HUMANS FOR THE FIRST TIME IN FIVE WEEKS!
The corners of my mouth (underneath my own mask) turned upward. And I could interact with them (at a safe distance). Smile at them (at least with my eyes). Such a simple observation, and gratitude hit me like a ton of bricks. I walked out brimming with joy, a smile ear to ear... which no one could see underneath my mask — the irony!
Something I'd always taken for granted, now in plain sight... and I was feeling all the feels.
As I reflect on what else I've taken for granted over the years, I find myself daydreaming about walking down Central Ave in Whitefish, or down Nucleus in Columbia Falls, or downtown Kalispell... seeing friendly faces on the sidewalk as I carry a hot, handcrafted latte, smiling at tourists as they stand in awe of the amazing place we call home. I love that feeling — I crave that feeling.
But here's the thing about daydreaming about how life was... it sets us up for failure because this dream assumes no change. And change is the only constant. It assumes all those small businesses will still be there when we emerge.
And truthbomb: Some won't.
It also assumes those tourists will be there, supporting our economy like usual by paying full price, in bulk, all summer long.
The same applies: Some won't.
Imagine Christmastime after we've made it through the summer, with the festive lanterns and garlands hung from the street lamps... just look at this!
And as you walk down Central, you pass dark storefront, after shuttered shop windows, one after the other. A nicely decorated ghost town. Wouldn't you wish, in that moment, you could turn back time and bring back the places you loved?
Of course you would.
But what would we say in that moment? Hindsight is 20/20.
It's easy to say: That won't happen to our town. It can't.
But if COVID has proven anything to us, it's that we can absolutely expect the unexpected, at any time. So why not do something about it, and make sure we're not living in a shell of a town, six months from now, or a year down the road?
My point is simple: Your vote counts. Your support matters. Every purchase you make at a small business matters, and helps carry them one step further toward weathering this bump in the road. This, coming from a studio that has given out more free yoga passes than ever before for so many new community members — we're so grateful you're here and you tried our LIVE online classes! But after all the free, our aim is to generate interest for a sustaining commitment so you continue to get yoga because we can afford to provide it.
And remember: Abundance isn't about the "haves" and the "have nots" ... yoga teaches us this:
Your attention is your most valuable currency.
We all have attention to give. It helps a small business when you spread the word, tell your friends, share on social media. All those referrals (especially in a small town) mean the world to us.
If other business owners are anything like me, the decisions we're making right now are crucial. Each step, we're walking on egg shells as we determine what needs to be left alone, what we can feasibly maintain, and how to possibly move forward when the state/county/city opens.
And here's one more important thing to consider: The need for your vote doesn't stop when we all open up. It doesn't stop a few months from now when you're wanting to spend your days out in the breathtaking wilderness rather than downtown shopping.
It will matter for a long time.
A friend of mine who lost her son years ago to complications with type 1 diabetes wrote a book on grief and talked about the feeling after people stop bringing lasagnas over... the newness of the loss wears off, and reality sets in and the family is left to fend for themselves once again. I think the chapter is called, "More Lasagna, please." That idea has always stuck with me.
As a community (this includes you), our collective loss is forcing business models to change, and will inevitably prevent as many tourists from visiting our towns this summer. This impact will be felt for many, many months to come.
I'm also the world's biggest optimist (you all know this by now) ... but yoga doesn't ask us to ignore what's right in front of us just because "this too shall pass." Yoga requires us to examine everything. Take nothing for granted. And take decisive, correct action when the moment is right.
So my advice (which I'm taking myself) is to start investing in what your future will look like. How will you vote with your attention to keep our small communities thriving? This week, I'm proud to promote two Yoga Hive resources to you — Nancy Ellis is sharing some incredibly Vedic Astrology wisdom with us (scroll to read!) and is offering deals on her Vedic Astrology readings... and Maud Mangin, one of our teachers at YH Wisconsin and a gifted intuitive healer herself, is offering a fun virtual workshop for Intuitive Play in early May. Details are below!
I speak for all of our teachers here at Yoga Hive — the handful currently teaching, and the nearly 30 total teachers throughout the Flathead that are part of our team — we would be so honored to continue serving you through our memberships and punch cards as we eventually offer some in-person offerings, and continue offering live online classes via Zoom for the foreseeable future. You could even buy a gift card for a friend or family member — no matter where they live!
If the LIVE online class times aren't working for you, or if you live somewhere other than Montana, we're proud to announce:
Yoga Hive Connect is OFFICIALLY open for live streaming!
For as low as $15 a month (plus a 7-day FREE trial!), you can gain access to this incredible, growing database of Yoga Hive classes, workshops and perspectives... proceeds from which support your local studio.
Through May 1st, as a gesture of gratitude, we're offering the one-time opportunity to become a founding member. By using the coupon code foundingmember, you not only get 7 days to try for free, but you can get 50% off the monthly unlimited rate of $20/month. So that's all the goodness of taking our classes whenever you want, for only $10/month... for life. Cancel anytime on your own — no need to email us!
This offer is only through the end of the month, with no extensions. Act now.
Cheers to each one of you out there — thank you. Thank You. THANK YOU, for doing your part to sustain the businesses and people you love! Remember: Spend your attention wisely.
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.