Just found that pic - wow that feels like a lifetime ago! The first time I traveled to Africa was for an NGO, to produce and direct a web series in Uganda. I knew only that it was far, meant a few vaccines for me and my crew and promised a ton of unknowns. There would be less resources at times and we would need to be prepared on a whole other level for shooting abroad in a fairly remote area. I was super excited but also scared. I knew how to do what they were asking me to do but not necessarily under those conditions - whatever they would be. About me: I'm good to go when I know what to expect. I can plan and prepare for anything if I know what the parameters are AND I can problem solve like nobody's business as long as I have what I know I will need. This gig would be different, as I had very little reference for where I was going, where I would end up or what would be what and when. I fully get that a pandemic is nothing like a new challenge per se but what can be the same is our will to face the unknown. Our belief to trust in the unknown. And if I'm to think back on any challenge in my life that has always been a constant for me.
In times of unknowns what, who and where do we turn to? What skills and talents, along with some blind - BUT wise - faith will get us through? Do we believe in ourselves and in the greater grandness of humanity? That's what I speak of when I reference will. We use what we've got, we trust what we've got and hopefully we stay open to others and what is new. It's usually in the new, through the unknowns, that we learn, grow and maybe go deeper - go deeper with others and ourselves. In this time of huge unknowns, I invite you to savour all the ways your will is making this time work. Look at all the ways you are taking care and showing up. Celebrate all the ways that we are facing our unknowns together.
I've been blown away by the many miracles and SO MUCH connection taking place during this unknown time. People are utilizing their skills, igniting their curiosity, leaning on their talents and having a ton of faith in themselves and - most importantly - in others. There's no shortage of amazing ways to connect and grow right now! Rare but necessary trips to the grocery store, pharmacy or anywhere for that matter have become profoundly moving experiences, as we engage with frontline workers putting themselves at risk to provide an essential service. Happy hour Zoom gatherings - BYOB 😜- are bringing people and families together; livestream concerts and singalongs (Choir, Choir, Choir is doing virtual singalongs) are entertaining and sustaining us; online classes, good and inventive meals being shared across dinner tables, music and books replacing a 24 hour news cycle, and even dancing with a live DJ has been possible (dnice)!
Husband Paul and I drove out to nature just an hour outside of Toronto to meet waterfalls - who knew?! And we're in the midst of our very own film watching challenge here - a movie a day keeps the doctor away - so they say. There are also plenty of yoga classes to be had. Funny how that's taking a front seat, eh? Modo Yoga LA launched their virtual classes with most of their teachers, Modo Yoga International continues to offer classes on Instagram and my friend and fellow yoga colleague, Joe, is streaming for his studio, Urban 728 Yoga on Youtube. I even got to lead a class for Modo Yoga LA the other day and was reminded of how special leading and practicing with you all means to me, especially now. It inspires my will, truth be told.
As we well know, our breath and body collaborate in our practice where we often meet the unknown. We don't always know what's next on the mat, what shape or set of words will inspire us to see things differently OR more importantly what it will unearth; but we turn to that will from deep inside to trust and see…
On a final note, I'm gonna take a pause myself from reaching out for a while. In the meantime stay connected to my Instagram page for continued info on weekly classes that are being offered, tune into your will to face this unknown time and continue to meet your yoga on and off the mat. Stay safe yogis!
I hope you are well and I hope you have found some solace in this difficult and uncharted time.
Modo Yoga LA and Modo Yoga International are offering Livestream classes on their Instagram. It's a delightful surprising AND moving experience to practice with others and know that you're not alone. Sometimes there's been as many as 500 of us, moving our body and breathing together and I have no doubt of the incredible impact that it is having on us and the world right now. I will be guiding a FLOW class this Tuesday at 7 am Pacific|10 am Eastern. If you miss the live experience, all classes are available for 24 hours after in their LIVE STORIES.
In the meantime, find comfort; find that solace. For me, I take great relief in connecting with people - seeing their faces on FaceTime and knowing that I'm still part of a community. A community of friends and family where we can exchange stories and still support one another. I'm not alone and they are not alone. I need to affirm that - yes - we are meant to be socially distancing but not emotionally distancing; and in many ways now's the time to in fact connect more deeply and stay grateful for all that this is teaching us. Connect to people. Connect to animals and nature. Connect to things you love - movies you wanted to watch, books you wanted to read, music that makes you dance or even weep. Snuggle up to your loved ones in person or virtually. Now's the time.
And what the hell does Canto della Verbena… mean? More on that in a bit…
I bet it’s been a minute since you saw a subject line in your inbox that wasn’t about you-know-what… Talk about being democratic - this Coronavirus sure is liberal and inclusive.
Yogis- I hope, despite everything, that this note finds you well, optimistic, rational, loved and still loving others! I’m writing to you from Toronto where things are much the same as everywhere in the world. Is it weird that I find some comfort in knowing that we’re all in this together now… This isn’t just Italy’s or China’s problem anymore, hence why we’re ALWAYS meant to look out for one another.
The Modo Yoga studio that I teach at here in Toronto is still offering classes; they are reduced in size and with some safety provisions but open nonetheless. I know that’s not the case in LA right now. To those yogi friends of mine in LA and elsewhere that might not be getting their fix in a room with others, hang tight!
We are all in the midst of the unknown AND yes we must listen to our leaders and health care professionals and buckle down A LOT. I'm game to do this, for a bit, even though I feel in my heart of hearts that the last thing this world needed was the practice of social distancing. That being said, maybe it’ll make us more aware of the everyday connections we’ve been missing, and even ignoring. My hope in the meantime is that we don’t stigmatize cultures, others and the virus itself with labels and/or unkind gestures; and that we don’t barrel over somebody in the grocery store for toilet paper cause we’re panicked. Let’s remain dignified and compassionate. It’s time to use that yoga of ours - off the mat. We need to be measured, informed and responsive NOT hysterical, ill-informed and reactive.
I’m no expert and please know I know that. But I know that this is not a 'foreign disease'. It’s also not killing everybody and by the same token it’s not just like the flu. It’s a virus that movie stars and Prime Ministers' wives get; and it’s a virus that leaves the elderly and sick people extra vulnerable. It isn’t choosy about who it meets and it is something we should work smart not to get. And with that all said what is happening right now is not forever. This is not who we will always be.
Many of you know that I lead yoga retreats and that my next one is in Italy in September. Yes in Italy and YES I’m still planning on it. Fingers crossed, as it’s nearly 6 months away, and I’m optimistic SO much will come to light and change. As I said before this is not forever, nor is it sustainable. We’re all undertaking practices and gestures as a necessary remedy to a crazy situation but we can’t quit life forever and we still need to look forward to our plans and adjust on a need-to basis. I know we will travel again, we will hug folks we haven’t seen in a while again, we will visit the local coffee shop and buy groceries with ease again, we will practice in the hot room to an awesome playlist again, we will, we will, we will, cause that is the true nature of who we are and that is what I’m making plans for. I hope you don’t forget to do the same!
Two years ago, after my retreat, Husband Paul and I rented bikes to ride the countryside in the South of Italy. It was H-O-T hot and we stopped in front of a house under a tree for some shade. A young Italian man yelled out - in English (he knew:) - from on his roof, do you want some water? We said yes and next thing we knew, we were in his backyard, eating grapes from the garden and drinking homemade wine with him and his mother. We also left with a bottle of wine and some newly packed olive oil. It was a perfect encounter! I’m mindful that this may not happen right now in Italy or anywhere else for that matter; but I know it WILL happen again!
A student from the LA studio I teach at posted something recently that’s been making the rounds, and that I’ve been very careful to remind myself of - Thanks Molly! Viruses are contagious but so is panic, fear, hysteria, calm, love, enthusiasm, kindness and joy - choose wisely.
In the midst of our 24-hour news cycle, centred predominately around salacious headlines, I invite you to curate your space and incoming information, and I return to the heading at the top of this email - Canto della Verbena - which means ‘And While Siena Sleeps’… You may have heard or read this story and seen this video making the rounds - it’s a truly beautiful and inspiring reminder of how we persevere and what we should strive for cause we live to live, connect, feel and experience!
...While on lockdown in Siena Italy, someone opened their window to sing Canto della Verbana, a traditional Siena folk song of pride. He found he was not alone or the only one in need of singing. They ALL opened their windows to sing together in pride, and soon they will do it again, in the streets together - face to face - I have no doubt! Chin up. Head up. Heart up!