Hannah Johansen is one of the people who helped shape Big Sky. PHOTO BY JANA BOUNDS

Compassion is the way

Hannah Johansen’s lessons learned from her guru and adventures

Hannah Johansen has an ethereal quality; like she stepped from this world into another and returned with enhanced wisdom and kindness – which actually is accurate. There is a gentleness to her founded in the respect of others’ journeys, and much of that was crafted from the gauntlet life presented her from an early age. Challenges are inescapable no matter of wealth or upbringing, early or late traumas. Kindness should always prevail, she explains with a sweet smile.

“Great spirits require great challenges,” she says.

Born on “skid row” in Great Falls, she never imagined a life of world travel and adventure. She also may not have thought that she would one day study under a yoga guru and learn mysteries of the universe passed down for thousands of years. Her lifetime 2,000 hours of training started with just 10 hours at a massage school in San Francisco. With those initial hours she hung up her shingle in Big Sky, the second real massage studio in Montana – Alpen Glow. Her parents were mortified. The business functioned at Big Sky Resort for nearly two decades and has since ventured to mobile massage.

She shares wisdom learned from her travels and her guru with ease. Speaking of the spiritual path comes easily to her. It is almost impossible to have just a surface-level conversation with Johansen, not because she demands depth, but because it just naturally happens around her. She says she has imagined her own death. An understanding of the transience of the human form is part of her training. She believes the veil between this world and the next is thinner now and she thinks that is because of Covid causing a worldwide awakening – a spiritual cleanse.

The emphasis on material things has largely faded away. People have a greater appreciation of loved ones and friends – connection.

“What is really important is the heart, how we feel, how we share,” she says. “So many difficult things are happening, but ultimately we are going to be wiser.”

She says she cries a lot lately, but they are not tears of pain; they are tears of joy and gratefulness.

Perhaps the greatest example of the capacity of human resilience occurred when she was in Nepal just five days after the big earthquake. She encountered people who had lost homes and loved ones. None of them cursed nature or fate.

For 20 days she heard different people say the entire time, “I am so grateful for my new life.”

She was further into the Himalayas in a tea house when the second earthquake hit. Everyone ran outside and the strangest thing happened the next morning. As if embracing some primal need to celebrate survival – life, she and about a dozen other people ran around playing games like giddy children. She reflects in amazement on that time of strange childlike innocence in the face of disaster.

Despite recent challenges in the world, she says people should look to the future with hope.

Now, she says the world is entering the era of divine feminine. She explained the timeline of ancient wisdom: 2,000 years of a certain thing and then 2,000 years of another. Women were getting burned at the stake for being witches in the middle ages.

“That era is changing. Look at what’s happening: we have a vice president, we have women on boards of directors – it’s a change,” she says.

It is time to prepare for the future.

“We have to have compassion with ourselves and we have to look at our sh--. Period,” she says.

She eyes her future with big plans – a celebration of her time on this planet, learning, teaching, and loving. She plans to trek the El Camino de Santiago – “The Way” and also aims to cross the Sahara Desert.

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Lone Peak Lookout

Cori Koenig, editor: editor@lonepeaklookout.com
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