I can remember the day like it was yesterday. My six-year-old self sat on the bank of the Menomonee River, holding tightly to the arm of my best friend, Lisa.
The two of us had cried that morning as bus pulled out of the parking lot in Waupaca (our Wisconsin hometown), with our faces glued to the window, frantically waving to our parents. We were terrified for this new adventure alone... together. The bus drove around the state picking up more campers, and many hours later, we reached our final destination: Chalk Hills Girl Scout Camp.
Lisa and I would be gone one whole week — but we really just wanted to go home.
...until I saw her.
I couldn't stop staring at her as we walked toward the water and took a seat on the grassy steps leading down to the waterfront. She was a camp counselor, standing to the side of the amphitheater, wearing cutoff denim shorts and a homemade tie-dye T-shirt... guitar cradled in her arms, strumming a tune I'd never heard before with a huge grin on her face.
And she was singing!
I looked around at the other girls from the bus, sitting on the steps beside me, and I realized that everyone was singing. And if my tie-dye icon was singing, I probably should too... in fact, whatever she did, I was immediately committed to doing because I knew she had something that sparkled. If singing camp songs and wearing tie-dye and smiling ear-to-ear would make me sparkle like that, I was in.
The rest is history.
It's probably obvious (especially those of you who've been reading these newsletters for a while now) that I continued to go back and eventually work at summer camp until I was 23 years old. And even after I moved away from Wisconsin, I started a nonprofit that hosts camps for kids with type 1 diabetes, which I still help run today.
Camp shaped (and shapes!) who I am. It has made me empathetic, independent, joyous, silly, and has given me a deep appreciation for the outdoors.
Below: Me, leading a 17-day backpacking trip to Isle Royale, setting up a tent as fast as possible to beat my previous day's record. (Less than 2 minutes!)
Camp staff like Sarah — the woman with the guitar, who I fondly remember by her camp name, Eek — helped me learn what it meant to be a leader. Not just in my 6-year-old effort to be exactly like her, but as the years went on, I returned again and again to learn to muster the courage to stand in front of a crowd of hundreds and sing camp songs. To portage 3 canoes, one at a time, over a mile in the same time it took my campers to make one trip with our Duluth packs...
Below: Summer Camp Mollie, with her signature braids, straw hat, and tie-dye.
... To inspire a school group of tweens to discover their voice using ropes courses and ice-breakers. To not freak out with mice or spiders. To be OK with showering every three days... or less. To see the pride on a young woman's face when she realizes she just made the best cinnamon rolls of her life over the coals of a campfire that she started. To remain calm when a camper sprains her ankle 1.5 miles from the nearest Ranger Station in the wilderness in the middle of Lake Superior as you piggy-back her down a mountain. (True story)
As I was reminiscing with camp friends a few years ago about the "good old days," I had a liberating thought: The good old days of summer camp haven't really ended.
In all those 17 years of physically being at summer camp, I cultivated exactly what Yoga Hive continues to teach me every single day:
It makes all the difference in life when you have a community that inspires you become a brighter version of yourself.
And while at first we follow those we admire, over time we learn to lead from our own heart, in our own way. I've learned firsthand that leadership isn't simply a skill you pick up like cooking, or riding a bike. You can't find it in a certificate or a book or an expensive business coach.
Leadership is an active culture; it's a vibration at the core of your being. It's the ability to open your pores and let the light within you shine out — and be seen.
Leading is not saying the same things your teacher would say. It's not looking like your role model. It's not selling the same product as your peers.
True leadership means saying your words, looking exactly like you do, selling whatever flows through you most naturally in the moment — even if that means being a follower for a while.
And when you're — as we say — "living your truth," the world can't help but notice you, standing there with your tie-dye shirt and guitar.
With that in mind, let me remind you: It's January, folks. A new year — and it's time for us to get to work as we prepare to lead our teams, households, friends, and family into this new era of life on Earth. In the spirit of our Yoga Hive motto, Come as you are, leave as you want to be, we've got so many offerings launching this month to support you on your path to beeeee-ing your best self (couldn't help it!)... hope to see you on your mat, one way or another!
Be a Conscious Leader: I've distilled a framework of yoga teachings, practices and leadership principles into a course called Conscious Leadership. It's more of a lecture/meditation based course, rather than movement, and if you consider yourself a leader in any aspect of your life, this self-paced course is for you. CLICK FOR DETAILS.
Be a steward of the Himalayan yogic tradition: I can't believe it's time to embark on another YTT journey. We only have one spot left for our 7-month LIVE virtual training starting next week. If you're hearing the whisper, now is your last chance to hop in for the season. Click here for details,
Already an RYT200? Consider taking our Himalayan Kriya Yoga Teacher Training, and join Yoga Hive's lineage of leaders bringing timeless technologies from our roots in India into our modern world of yoga. Click here for details!
Be accountable to a daily practice: Really, if no one watches you practice, did it really happen?! Of course... but research tells us that tasks are a smidge easier (and more fun!) when you're held accountable by a group. When Blaine and I heard the call in our own lives to dive into more structured daily yoga practice, we decided to bring everyone along for the ride. Soulful Sadhana was born, a monthly membership and community of yogis committed to their personal transformation, one daily practice at a time. This starts on Monday and we're diving into the Divine Feminine and all about the Cosmic Womb — and we'd love to have you! Start with one month, or commit to six. The choice is yours... Click here for details!
Be adventurous: Join us at Arctic Hive this spring for a life-changing retreat experience bordering Gates of the Arctic National Park. We only have two spots left for each of the dates in March/April. Dog mushing, the chance to see the Northern Lights, peace and quiet above the arctic circle in the Brooks Range, and of course, yoga... what could be more ideal for 2021? CLICK HERE FOR RETREAT DETAILS
Aerial Yoga Teacher Training will be offering LIVE online via Zoom this month with me! Have a rig in your home? Dive in with us... those who've taken Aerial Training with me (Mollie) in the past are eligible for a refresh price of $125. DETAILS ARE HERE
Wishing you all the joy of tie-dye and camp songs,
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.