Hi. Amy Brachman here.
If you've been engaged with Superfun for a while, you may know that I founded this business. And you may also know that I went on a six week #superfunroadtrip in September & October. I drove myself 6600 miles in just over five weeks.
I was excited to take Superfun Yoga Pants to new markets and new people.
But I was not in the best mental space overall when I planned it and headed out to see what it would bring.
I left Richmond, VA tired. Scared. Frustrated with a lot of people and a lot of things.
And feeling a lot confused as to what was "supposed" to be happening with me and with Superfun.
The honest truth is that any business is hard.
Fashion retail business is notoriously hard.
And attempting to run a values-based, human-first company and life has proven to be way harder than I ever could have imagined.
And, although it may sound extreme, the roadtrip felt like something of a Hail Mary.
Me standing up and saying to The Universe, "I am willing to get way out of my comfort zone and try something new and scary and be all in on this thing (subtext: and I kind of need you to use it to tell me if I should be all in on it or not)!
A few hours into the trip, it became abundantly clear that I was meant to be on the road. With wonder and magic blowing through my hair and expansion and freedom softening the knots in my shoulders. And dots to connect. Everywhere.
Breadcrumbs back to remembering who I am.
And why I ended up starting this thing.
And why I am still doing it.
And insight into how I had been looking at things in ways that weren't healthy.
And how I could, upon return, begin to look at myself and (difficult) circumstances/people that presented themselves to me with less judgment. And maybe more peaceful discernment*.
*More on that another time.
I have synthesized a lot of things since then. Boiled the trip down to three major takeaways. All of which have helped me find more peace in the perseverance and more patience in the human interactions. One of which was a gift from Bob, who you see here. Plus a few other animal friends along the way.
You see, Bob was one of about 25 rescue dogs that live with my friend, Iris, and her family in El Paso, Texas.
Yeah, you heard me. 25 rescue dogs. But it wasn't like you'd imagine.
They ate from the same bowls, so no crazy mealtime rituals.
They hung out in their spots and followed their people, so not everyone was with you at all times. They didn't tear things up or go to the bathroom in the house.
Well, when I say "they," I meant that all of them were trustworthy...except Bob.
Iris told me that Bob had very recently, for about five years (they knew his story), been a street dog. He was still skittish and kept to himself. But it seemed to her, right away, that Bob was more interested in me than usual...and coming around to see me more than was regular for him. And she was warned not to leave my backpack on the ground and to close the baby gate that would keep him out of the room.
And...leave it to me to leave my backpack on the ground and the baby gate open. And I came out of the shower to find Bob starting to pee on my bag.
And I said "Bob, stop!"
And he stopped. And quickly left the room (head down, embarrassed or ashamed?). And it wasn't so bad. And I cleaned it up. And I wasn't angry. Not for a second!
To me, Bob wasn't wrong or bad. He was the sum of his life's experiences. Maybe a little hurt or sad. Maybe reeling from losses, dealing with traumas, adjusting to new environments. And, not to say that Iris's family didn't love him...because they totally do, but clearly just a little being who needed love.
And it was totally easy for me to feel that softness for him. And Iris told me that she thought he was looking for me for quite a while after I left <3
And when I got to my next stop. And ended up at a Superfun DOGA event at Wag Canine Emporium (adorableness here), And Hannah, my friend/the owner/our yoga teacher, asked us to set an intention for our practice. And I knew immediately that my lesson was to learn to feel that same softness for the humans who showed up in my life and seemed standoffish or skulked around a bit or did things like sneaking into my room and peeing on my backpack.
And so, I've begun to make it a practice to think of Bob whenever I am frustrated with a person or feeling hurt by a situation driven by people interactions.
We are all just doing the best we can.
And every one of us could use a Pupcup and a snuggle.
PS This is the first of what I intend to be a frequently occurring glimpse into my Superfun journey. Heart-forward, vulnerable, picking up breadcrumbs, looking for good, sharing stories and lessons and practices that make a difference in my life. In case maybe they can make a difference in yours too.
I'm probably gonna start sharing some of my favorite people, places, and things too. As they relate to my life lessons.
Some things I love/think/explore about animals are here:
- We proudly carry harem pants from the sale of which, a portion of profits go to save elephants! They're what I'm wearing in the photo of me with all of the dogs. And one of the things I most LOVE to live in!!
- My little Maltese best friend Moose (aka The Moo, Stinkypoo Moo, Moo Man Choo, Moosie Juice) rescued me about ten years ago. Many thanks to Petfinder & Hanover Humane Society for facilitating a us to change eachother's lives.
- I am very fortunate that Richmond has an organization called Helping Hands. They provide high quality, affordable veterinary surgical and dental care and people come from far away for their services.
- My Moose recently had to have 24 teeth extracted. And I went through some emotions about how I might not have been the best dog mommy while he recovered (see here & here). But he is doing just fine. And I am very grateful for their help.
- My brother has a pitbull-type-dog, and many of my other friends do too, including Walker Wood who has been instrumental in helping make Superfun what it is. And, with Superfun, And I was honored to share a little bit about how I feel about our relationship with animals in my friend Kelley Blanchard's Project/Coffee Table Book: 101 Pit Bulls.
- Quick looks at a few other furry family members, roadtrip roommates, and petsitting loves:
- Moo Man, my main man (top = Grey Slash Sweatshirt)
- Superfun Stella, Deb Peterson's precious pug (pants = Love the Elephant)
- Avery, my Airbnb guest & Moose's nemesis (pants = Asphalt Whisper)
- Some roadtrip roommates:
- Rosie, Smart Barre Allison Poston's recent addition and my mini Moo in Fort Worth
- Pudge, is my Denver best friend and my cousin Lindsey Miller's epic slobber slinging baby
- Doodle, the Poodle, is longtime friends Amber Golob & Mitch Golob's second child and my Chicago Irish roommate
- Petsitting Loves: Scout (tripawd <3 & Junebug (we share a nickname!)
- I look for signs from animals in nature all of the time. I'm certainly not an expert, but it often feels like they cross my path to tell me something. So I look them up. And it might be because of SEO and that this is the easiest site to find, but I often end up at www.spiritanimalinfo.com.