Two years plus 1 day ago, I woke up feeling powerless, overwhelmed and unsure of how women and many others would be heard in a very new political climate. Only weeks before, we had been so hopeful and excited to be women, particularly business women, in what felt like a “new world” of change and forward thinking. But, on that morning, there was a shift, which as we know turned into a very disappointing (to say the least) two years for some of us. As Morgan and I drove off into the great land of Ohio, we deeply questioned how we would continue to feel inspired in Citizen’s mission of community, support and love, while the world displayed something so different.
Truthfully, I was not quite sure. I knew our vision statement at Citizen Yoga. I knew that even if I was scared, and I was scared (I am still a little scared), to cross a state line, that I had to be true to the bigger picture. We had to continue creating little pockets of community, where people, teachers, students and staff feel seen, cared about and connected. I know that Michigan has embraced us more than I could have ever dreamed possible. I know that when I put my heart into something, I will not stop until we manifest our ideal. But I had no idea about Cleveland and, simultaneously, felt more distraught about the future of our country than ever before.
We got to Pinecrest and were welcomed with such warm hearts. They toured us around a huge pile of dirt explaining how well their mission aligned with Citizen Yoga. We had to imagine greatness where it did not yet exist. We had to see connection and community, in a place where no one knew me or our incredible team of teachers and staff, could be possible. Again, a theme these past few years.
I do not have a formal business or marketing background (…I used to design all of our opening graphics in Word). I worked hard to learn and listen as Citizen grew, and I am still learning. One of my strongest qualities is not to know know what I am great at, but rather, knowing where I need to ask for help. If we wanted to expand, especially beyond our familiar Michigan area, I knew we were going to need help to refine our brand identity, but I did not know who to ask.
I happened to be sitting at my desk in Royal Oak grumbling about a family member’s politics and Mallory McMorrow, a student of ours walked by and said, “mine too”. I looked up, and out of a sheer need to connect with someone about ways to put frustrations into action, we decided to get coffee.
Our coffee date set into motion so many amazing things! Most importantly, we became friends. I had no idea that she had an extensive experience in branding and marketing. She started working with us at Citizen Yoga to draw out our living brand statements e.g. Say Hello, which came 3 years after opening. We launched a Platform Event for women to network together, not against each other. She took our teacher training program and we helped to hone all of those incredible interpersonal skills needed to be in front of groups. She decided to run for State Senate and I decided to go for it in Cleveland!
I am so proud of people who are not just looking for name and fame, but to create actual change. We are two women, who met in a state of frustration and from that grew an incredibly empowered friendship, new opportunities for Citizen Yoga, a networking platform for women (we promise to bring that back again soon), and hopefully a State Official.
We are opening Citizen Yoga on Wednesday November 7th. I still have no idea how Cleveland will embrace our perspective of teaching, education and overly friendly community, but I DO know that we all have to trust that if we have the right intention, strive and struggle in our attempts to manifest our ideals and surround ourselves with incredible people, anything is possible! See you in one day #CYPC! And go VOTE for Mallory McMorrow running for State Senate in the 13th district in Michigan.