I just got awful news, via Facebook, that my talented client and colleague, inspiring yoga instructor (back when I wasn’t a slug and practiced yoga), and an all-around beautiful person lost her battle with cancer today. A battle I didn’t even know had begun again.

I blogged about Melanie before here, after the first time I took one of her classes and learned of her journey in the time since I had last worked with her. Just a few months ago, I was happy to read this article about her and the new studio she opened in the Strip. A couple weeks ago, I tagged her in a post on Facebook that made me think of her — cute cookie cutters of gingerbread men in yoga poses. I was a little surprised when she didn’t respond, but chalked it up to holiday busy-ness. I thought, for the dozenth time, that I needed to get back into shape and go back to yoga (in that order — her classes were SO challenging, I couldn’t even think of taking one in the shape I’m in).

And now…now I’m shocked and sad that another beautiful soul has been lost to cancer; grateful that I got to know and be enriched by such a lovely woman; mournful for her family and friends; and more than a little scared — because as many times as you remind yourself that life is fragile and you never know what day might be someone’s (or your) last — it never really sinks in. Until it does. Again.


Namaste, Melanie.
The light and love in you has reached out 

to greet the light and love in the universe.

Wow. Just wow.

What does a “career-challenged” person do when she has free time with no assignments? She certainly doesn’t network or inquire with clients when those upcoming projects might surface or organize her office or update her website or any of a dozen other tasks that make good business sense. Instead, she takes a yoga class.

A hot yoga class to be precise. For the first time.

I’ve been meaning to go; the studio is owned/run by a former colleague of mine I haven’t seen in years. We recently reconnected on LinkedIn, and that renewed my wish to take a class with her. I had talked with my regular yoga instructor about taking a class there together, but this morning, spur of the moment, I decided to do it.

The class kicked my butt — I was the only one there (other people were busy working, no doubt) and she said afterward she “took it easy on me.” (POP — bubble bursting) Wow. I know I’m not in good shape right now, with too little exercise and too many winter pounds weighing me down, but in my regular yoga class, I’m one of the better students. This was so much harder, with 100° heat to boot. I’m whipped.

But that’s not the story. The story is, I got the chance to catch up with my friend after class. What I thought would be a “So, how have you been?” nonversation, turned into so much more.

How she’s been turned out to be that she had a double-mastectomy a couple years ago.The same year she opened her current studio (she had been in a smaller space). Seems she felt a lump in her breast that her doctor told her not to worry about — just a cyst. As it grew, she repeatedly called to say she was having that problem. They told her to lay off caffeine. When she finally sees him and gets a biopsy, she has Stage III cancer. So, double mastectomy and chemo follow. While recuperating from surgery and going through chemo, she of course decides to take more advanced yoga classes; she’s currently writing a book about teaching yoga; her studio offers special events with yoga gurus, concerts, etc., oh, and did I still mention she runs her “regular” business (a graphic design firm) as well?

As she told me the tale of her recent past and gave me a tour of her beautiful space, I was just amazed at all that had transpired in her life — devastating and amazing alike — in just a few years. When she asked me about business and if I was still living in the same place, all I could say was “Business is hanging in there. Slow, like everyone’s. Yes, same place. Still working on our fixer-upper” Seriously, my life now is no different than it was when we were working together. But hers? OMG.

This, on the heels of my “career-challenged” post yesterday, makes me think even more about how some people are so driven to DO things in their life, despite great adversity, and I’m just not. I’m generally quite happy to simply be (and, note to self, not nearly grateful enough to God for the blessings of health and “status quo”). Yes, I might dream of living a more creative life and daydream about possible “fun” jobs, but that’s as far as it goes. I’m in awe, yes, actual awe, of people like my friend. People who just never stop, or let themselves be stopped.

What an eye-opening morning. (Likely to be followed by an ibuprofen-opening evening.) And, God-willing, a blissfully predictable tomorrow.

The beauty [of yoga] is that people often come here
for the stretch and leave with a lot more.

~ Liza Ciano

And the last shall be first

I got up the gumption last night to attend a new yoga class, since my regular class is on hiatus until January. I had never been to our local Y before, and was surprised when someone from my regular class told me I could take classes at the Y without being a member. It’s a bustling place (tons of kids and tweens), and I managed to buy my pass and make my way through the circuitous route to the aerobics room where yoga would be held (down the hall, down the stairs, through the women’s locker room [with a keycode lock I couldn’t open], and there you are).

I was about 10 minutes early, and 3 or 4 people were already there. So I found a spot out of the way (didn’t want to take anyone’s “favorite” spot; funny how you always have one) and started warming up. Then more and more people filed in, 8, 10, 12, probably 15 or more by the time class started (and even after it did) in a very small room. As more and more people arrived and everyone squeezed in, I, who was 10 minutes early, ended up in a very awkward spot, diagonally in the corner, next to the exercise bikes.

Now, I know yoga is all about love and light and calm and rejuvenation, but as I was living in the moment, I was pretty darn annoyed that the latecomers were rewarded with a better spot than my ever-prepared, almost-always-early, non-disruptive self.

But hey, what did I expect for a $4.00 class? I got a good workout (it’s faster paced and less meditative and instructive than my regular class), so I can’t complain. Because they let anyone (like me) drop in, they never know how many people to expect, and I’m sure class space is hard to come by.

But still. Don’t you hate it when you’ve carefully chosen your seat at the movies or an auditorium, and then someone rushes in at the last minute and expects you to make room? Sure, it’s what nice people do, and if you’re the late one, you’re grateful when they do. But there oughta be a rule: Nobody sit in these 2 (undesirable) rows, and anyone coming in 2 minutes before or anytime after a production starts has to sit there. No fuss, there’s always a seat available, and nobody gets displaced who shouldn’t have to be.

Remind me to make that happen when I rule the world.

In the meantime…Oooooommmmm. Namaste. Have a nice day.

Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape.
~ Anonymous