Chapter 8: Waving

Imagine being on a small boat on the ocean in the middle of a storm . . . 

I was having a conversation last night with my neighbour, friend and yoga business owner after class about life as a small business owner and how fragile we have become. How excited we get when a new person walks into our real and online studios, how far a thoughtful comment or gesture goes, how long a single thoughtless comment lingers in our minds, causing us to question our worth . . . 

We talked about how we don’t know what to do anymore in our one person boat on the ocean, waving and screaming to be heard, as the waves throw us to and fro.   

Small business owners are fragile.  Our investment in our businesses is being washed away and the community around us seems to be unaware and in fact critical. I'm not sure why we collectively and individually do not see how every click creates a ripple, which collectively creates waves.  

It's a lot to absorb and not be overcome by the feeling that all is lost, and that it's just a matter of time before the wave finally wins. 

I spend a lot time reflecting and trying to calm my mind, so that I can find a way to either come to terms with the closure of my business, or to make space for a miracle, which a part of me believes is possible.

Michael Singer, renowned yogi uses the analogy of a bird floating in the water as the waves ebb and flow; the bird must be still, and move with the water, or the water will over take the bird.  

The waves come at us in many directions.  And as a small business owner, I never expected it to be an easy ride.  Economic upturns and downturns are a given. There are highs and lows.  Good times and bad.  But something has changed. 

Small business has become invisible except to those who are already looking for us.  And if we are not on your radar, we never will be, because clicks drive the algorithm, making the clicker the architect of the system. Although this seems logical - we get what we ask for - aside from the futility of knowing that I can wave all day from my boat without being seen - at least it seems mathematically logical. 

But I have to say the waves that take me off balance are the careless ones who, by sheer ignorance and a lack of awareness, willfully drop negative comments for no reason than to be nasty. These are the moments that I find hardest to manage because it's an intentional choice to minimize another person's importance.  

Recently a person who has never been in my store over the past 9 years left a thoughtless comment on a post and it burned me to the core.  The essence of the message was, 'oh well, this business never mattered anyway.'  I did not respond because nothing I could say would change that person's mind. That person is simply not my customer. And never will be, especially since I blocked and deleted her. 

But what motivated this person to be so mean?  

My observation is this:  We have lost our centre. Our core. Our sense of community. So a careless comment by a careless person who is oblivous to the the world and her impact on the environment is not someone I need in my life. 

And while I have been pivoting and pirouette-ing over the past 4 years trying to fend against the waves that are crashing at my doors, maybe the answer is to be like the bird - stop trying to be a part of the system and instead exist outside of it. 

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