A few weeks ago, I reached out to a friend who has a business I admire and respect. I was worn out and feeling like there were many more mountain peaks to climb, and knew I needed some support. It had been a heartbreaking week (or three, or forty, or more…) in the world. When we finally got together with our masks and our tea, we looked at one another, and without saying anything, we both started to cry.
It’s been that kind of a year for so many – emotions are right on the surface waiting for someone to acknowledge, hold, and give space for the flood to come. We have spent so much energy trying to hold it together for ourselves and our loved ones, our teams and our friends, that there isn’t a lot of extra room to hold onto more.
We have all been making a series of quick choices, reacting and making snap decisions without any idea of what the future holds; we have been in fight or flight with our nervous systems responding to all sorts of information and danger and unknowns.
I write this from a place of privilege and as a white woman, and as an entrepreneur who is fortunate to have a partner with a stable job during a time of complete instability.
I am writing this as a small business owner who watched every well laid plan and investment crumble to dust only to temporarily close its doors two months later; while watching so many businesses close their doors for good.
I am writing this as a mother, who like many parents has been balancing having a child at home full time while managing jobs and businesses on fumes.
As a human being who has watched in horror the events of the past year.
Who watched the murder of George Floyd and the events that followed.
As a Jewish woman who witnessed actual Nazis marching on the capitol while my son sat next to me on the couch.
I often wonder what my son will think when he is old enough to read the history books about the past year. I wonder what he will ask and how I will answer him.
Here’s what I feel compelled to share in this moment:
Kindness is still needed.
Kindness is ALWAYS needed.
As things open up; as some sense of “normalcy” returns so has a sense of urgency for many for things to look the way they looked before last March.
We are all recovering still.
We are all looking around wondering what happened and what will happen.
We are processing the deep pain and trauma not only of the year, but the past few weeks.
We have witnessed acts of violence against the AAPI community here in America.
We are witnessing the tragic state of Covid in India and other parts of the world.
We are feeling like we made it to the one year mark and there should be some relief, and while there is some, there is also not.
We are grieving. Grieving so many things.
We are wondering when we will feel comfortable in a crowd again.
We are wondering about so many things we just don’t have the answers to.
I am so grateful that my business made it through the past year. I did so with the amazing support of my team, many who worked for free through the summer, the community who continued to show up even if they weren’t actually making it to classes regularly (if at all), and a massive SBA loan that repayment will begin on soon.
I am looking around at the beautiful space we moved into last January, now operating at a quarter capacity, wondering what the future holds as we move into year 5 of being in business.
Yoga teaches us equanimity, impermanence, non attachment, love, and compassion. These things have gotten me through the year and kept me walking tall and strong and focused.
This mission of my business got me through this year: To create a safe space for students to come. To move our bodies in order to tap into something greater. To a sense of peace and connection to self. To share practices of love and compassion and to make the world a better place. To create and hold community.
These practices have shaped the adult portion of my life, are what I have come to live by and what I look to for guidance again and again and again.
I’m here asking for kindness and compassion.
For small businesses.
For one another.
For human beings.
The small business community in Maine, and particularly in Biddeford, is so special.
Support your local business with grace and patience, with an awareness that under the surface many in our community are experiencing burnout, exhaustion, and depression; struggling to make ends meet, and digging deep to try to continue to provide the services and hold the spaces about which we are so passionate.
Support your local humans with grace and patience, and the benefit of the doubt.
And thank you for the love, grace, support and kindness you have shown to me and my incredible team this past year. Your notes, kind words, reviews, and continued support has meant so much more than you may know. I will never ever forget the way we showed up for each other.
Let’s keep doing it.