I did not truly know you, but you changed my life. That sounds audacious, and it is, very much so. I've explained this before, to some of the leaders of my yogic journey, but I feel your passing gives me cause to pass it on to you, in words you can no longer read, but with the hope that this sentiment will carry out to you.
I was broken when I found your studio. So broken that I could not really understand what I was looking at. My first class in your space was destruction, bodies moving in heat, immersion in sweat. My first impression of that first instructor was confusion and bewilderment. Shane has since become my strongest guide and every Tuesday and Thursday morning he teaches me more than I can ever hope to absorb.
On November 14th I was moved to deepen my practice, to commit to the work that I needed to do. I started my healing in your presence and under the guidance of those who you and your wife selected and welcomed into your extended family business. As I passed through the studio, I would see you walking, talking, standing, smiling. You were large, the embodiment of strength itself. If it had not been for the soft look on your face I would have been intimidated. I probably was anyway. And yet your words were always kind, even though you had no idea who I was.
The space you built nourished parts of me that I never knew I was supposed to feed. The people you had drawn in became acquaintances, friends, and some even flowed into my inner circle. They became part of my support system, those who I share joy and pain with. They continue to help me heal and prosper, they challenge me and they also accept me, much as you must have with them.
You changed my outlook, simply by doing what you love to do, by setting up a world where pursuit of health and happiness was the primary goal. Amazingly enough, you were also able to successfully run this business and expand to a 2nd location during a timeframe when all economic indicators were consistently pessimistic. You dealt with all of the headaches of construction efforts, permits, materials, slipped schedules, and you built something every bit as awesome as the first studio, only bigger, more spacious, more awesome. This whole time you knew your days were numbered, and yet you chose to give your time away instead of keeping it for yourself. I am in awe of that accomplishment.
I wasn't aware of your passing until well after it must have happened. Probably because I doubt you ever knew my name. But I felt you leaving somehow, I felt off balance, confused, inverted. I wasn't able to practice that Thursday morning, I took Shane to breakfast instead and we just talked and he helped me to understand what I was feeling.
I will miss you, but at the same time I feel like I will know you better with every year that passes as I follow along behind you in my own journey, just as you must have followed someone in yours. I would have liked to say "Thank You" sometime, but I was not quick enough to understand the urgency of your schedule. I will instead extend my gratitude towards those who you leave behind. Together we will honor you by honoring ourselves.