bye. bye. bye, 2020.

bye. bye. bye, 2020.

Firstly – 20% off your order today with the code bye2020.

Secondly – a yearly reflection. Reflecting on such a year is overwhelming – at once there is so much to say, and the exhaustion means I don’t know where to start.

I send compassion and love to all of those suffering, from COVID, from racial injustice, from environmental catastrophe, from violence.

2020 has made our connections as a species on this planet inescapable. We transmit viruses to each other, we spread misinformation and hate speech, our economic systems are enmeshed. A country leaving a union of states or a shutdown of manufacturing hubs has multiple effects. Our embeddedness in the climate is undeniable. Our destruction to the planet unbelievable.

Our sharing of memes and zoom calls can ferry across an inkling of human connection. Moments of prayer, yoga practice, enjoying the sky in lockdown, holding a child can give rich solace.

The intensity of this year’s events feels like there is no pretending anymore. There is no fooling that we aren’t connected, that we don’t feel what we do to each other and to the planet.

Personally, as an individual cell in our planetary organism that experienced such a year, I was exhausted by the long, long lockdowns in Melbourne. Progressive restrictions on schooling and childcare meant that much of this year was running a solo business, home schooling, looking after a toddler, house, and working around a partner who was also doing the same. I was grateful to be a participant in a business accelerator, even as it entailed even more work (and time on zoom).

I would have liked to have had more time and energy to throw into that course, but, as with every other area of life, I had to continually accept that I could only do what I could do. 2020 taught me about being honest about my limits. This is an ongoing teaching. Working on an asana, a practice, or a project within limits is also still possible – but denying and trying to steamroll over limits is quickly depleting. Of course, as a parent in these times there often feels like little choice – but I had to practice being ok with the level of work that was getting done, the level of schooling that was getting done, the state of the house.

This year for Upward Dog was a strange, and sometimes strained, mix. As always I am happy and grateful to serve new and returning customers, and I have lots of ideas for areas to improve and grow (when I have the time, grasshopper). There was an amazing month of sales in March at the beginning of the first lockdown – I just sold out of everything extremely fast – followed by torturous months of delayed supply chains.

Starting from factories, closed airports, sea ports, suppliers, more ports, container warehouses, road freight, my warehouse, more road delivery networks, and all the way to a parcel finding it way through heinously congested delivery networks in Australia, this year made it clear that this business, and so many others, is interdependent on global and local logistics.

This has been a frustrating process as a business owner, as multiple delays at all steps of the supply process have a knock on effect, and I then have to apologise to customers for unprecedented (there it is) delays on their items. I sincerely aim to serve people with the best yoga gear for their embodied practice, so this gear being a source of frustration and impatience for them does not sit well with me.

However, thanks 2020 – more learning has sprung from this. I am working to make it more clear on every product page and throughout the site the expected delay on backordered items, and I am working to overestimate how long it will take for items to be received into the warehouse, so that I no longer disappoint customers with the dispatch date.

There is also a lesson for me in balancing putting my heart into the business as a way to serve people, and being dispassionately realistic about the nature of doing business within complex supply chains.

Personally, I am grateful to Yoga With Adriene and Yoga Vastu’s Pixie Lillas for being my lockdown yoga video teachers this year. I have embarked on learning about healing trauma, on an individual and collective level, with Thomas Hubl and others. I feel called to a new avenue of work and learning – I am not yet sure what it will look like, and I am practicing not getting ahead of myself.

For 2021, I aim to keep anchored within, keep practicing, and keep listening for wisdom – as a mother, business owner, and planetary citizen.

  • Annalise Friend, owner of Upward Dog (tech glitch showing Chris as author, I will fix that)


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