Since we opened our doors in April 2015 you’ve known us to be full of fun and wise with wellness tips. Most importantly though, you know us as regular humans who drink milkshakes, swear and also mediate, and who have just as much real life to handle as anyone else.
As wellness people who also happen to be business people, you’d think we might be exempt from stress and tough decisions because we can be so mindful or so calming to be around… that’s what people tell us anyhow. In reality, we’re not. When shit goes down, we still get stressed out – lose our appetites or can’t sleep. It happens.
Just yesterday, we shared with our community members that we had to make one of the hardest and most humbling decisions we’ve yet been faced with since starting this journey together. We closed our yoga program and shut down all of our studio activities.
This major change came with hours upon hours of thinking, talking, questioning, brainstorming, logistic-ing, and being honest with ourselves.
Sometimes in life there are things we cannot change, like, we cannot change the reality of our HVAC unit breaking down in the building where Third Space Wellness lives. We cannot change how long it has been taking to attempt repairs. We cannot change the timeline for future repairs or replacement. We have no control over the age of the building, the players involved, or the temperatures outside.
We cannot change how this decision impacts all of the people we love and have the privilege of caring for – our teachers, our staff, our entrepreneur friends who’ve worked here, and our students.
Today we’d like to share some insights as we’ve come along in this process. Things we’ve learned – like we have off and on over the past few years. We’d like to offer to you the knowledge we’re collecting along the way so that you can collect it in your wisdom baskets, and hopefully, it will help you live into more wellness yourselves.
#1 Surround yourselves with the best people; settle for nothing less: Our people are THE BEST. This news has been hard to digest for all of us. We had to make a decision that causes a ripple of other consequences, and we had to deliver “the bad news” to so many people we love and respect – without much warning. And do you know what? Despite the impacts it has on them, and despite the inconveniences, the surprise, the emotions… every.single.one. has been graceful, supporting, loving, and kind in response. People are the most important asset of any business – of any community. And ours are incredible.
#2 Just because we get stressed doesn’t mean we have to totally lose our shit. 10 years ago, if I had been in this situation – coming off of weird hours at work, challenging conversations, working towards solutions, stalking maintenance crews, staring at spreadsheets, etc. – I would have been in full blown panic. Like, hand me a Xanax style. Here I am though, appropriately feeling the stress of the situation – like the stress the beams of a bridge may experience while trying to hold it up – without the panic. Does it mean I don’t have feelings? No way.
All three of us are experiencing our grief, frustration, fatigue, confusion, and sadness. It’s not like it magically disappears. It’s just that we have practiced over and over and over again – for many years – how to take care of ourselves. We’ve practiced how to use the wellness tools we’ve each collected, and how not to make up stories that make life circumstances harder. What we mean is… is this hard? Yes. Is it ideal? No. Are people assholes because the heat is broken and hard to repair? No. Should we make up tons of drama about the building and the situation? No. It is what it is. Breaks happen, things happen. We don’t have to create melodramatic stories about it and make ourselves more upset which could show up like sheer panic, diarrhea, migraines… you catch my drift?
There’s no blame here, there’s no story. There’s simply a breakdown of a facility and we’re handling that with no extra upset or stories about anything.
#3 Sometimes you have to use a sharp knife to cut through a tough situation. Our situation here was layered in dynamics because the timelines became more and more uncertain, to the point that making decisions, many hours each day, was getting too complicated and tiring. We couldn’t see clearly how to fix this an ensure a safe and solid future for our programs. We sharpened our mental knives and made a slice. For the sake of all involved – their physical safety and mental wellness, and ours, we had to make a cut. It was swift and sharp, so as not to create more layers of complication or upset.
#4 We’re responsible for the safety and wellbeing of others. So, this is interesting. As a wellness center we’ve always prided ourselves on caring for the wellbeing of the people we serve. We’ve reinforced with each patient and each student their responsibility to their own wellbeing, and how we will support them with that. We’ve required of our staff members to honor their own wellness and we create ways to support them with this at work.
I’m talking about something different now though, I’m talking about the part that happens behind closed doors, quietly in leadership offices and amongst companies with their legal and insurance teams. When we decided to open a business, we also opted in to being liable for people’s safety. We signed legal documents, we purchased insurance; and every year we do a check-up on these things to make sure we’re up to snuff. With our facilities situation we could no longer ensure that safety and wellbeing. So, we had to be honest with ourselves about our liabilities and our responsibilities.
#5 Let go of perfection. We learn this one over and over again. We’ve discussed it before. As much as we like to be as professional and synced up as we can possibly be, sometimes we have to let go a bit. There are some instances where things must be taken one step at a time. Or one breath at a time. We may not have all of the information or be able to disseminate it as smoothly. So, we do our best. We’ve been practicing prioritizing. Asking ourselves, what must be done first? What then happens after? How can we do the first thing even if we’re not ready. How can we keep people informed and cared for when we don’t have all of the information? How do we make a clean movement out of a messy situation? Our practice has been to keep our goals at the top: Be safe/healthy, be transparent, act with love, keep the organization whole. If things are a little messy on the edges, so be it. Hopefully all the love and commitment will smooth those out for us.
What now? Well, we’re going to take some time to process, allow our emotions to move, and to stay connected with our community members. Then we’re going to get into planning, so we can make sure that we continue to bring you the best that a wellness center can offer, even without our yoga program or our extended studio activities.
And we will keep moving. As Sam says, “Remember that yoga is called a practice for a reason. So keep on yoga-ing on whenever and wherever, my friends, and I’ll see you in the neighborhood.”