Happy New Year! The last year of another decade in time as modern man knows it. This month’s blog is not about making resolutions. Most of us don’t keep them after two or three weeks and the guilt and disappointment that go along with promises once again not kept to ourselves aren’t worth the trouble to begin with.
Today, I’d like to share with you something a bit different. It’s a little story, so stay with me and continue reading, because there’s a really good point at the end of the tale:
I was at the gym a few days prior to New Year’s Eve. Just exiting from a HIIT class, I saw a woman who changed my life in so many ways and who I never had the opportunity to thank….
Let’s go back to 1995.
I was a near-cripple from being a passenger in a head-on automobile accident overseas. Needless-to-say, it was all very ugly. One person died, another was permanently affected by cerebral damage, and although I survived blunt trauma to the heart, I was terribly injured from the hips down. Upon my return to New York, I was told by an orthopedist that I should “take up needlepoint” because I would never ride a bicycle again. One year later, still holding on to my Equinox membership (and very rarely using it), I signed up for a 4 hour yoga workshop out of curiousity. I sat in the back of the room so I could scoot out if I lost interest. What happened next was transforming. The instructor noticed that I was unable to get into any of the poses, so she came over to me, asked me what my injuries were and for 4 hours, while instructing the class, she helped me into modified poses. After the workshop, for the first time in over a year, I was actually pain-free! I thought ‘hey, whatever this yoga is, I need more of it!’ I never saw the instructor again, but began to take Gentle Healing Yoga classes 3 days per week. Gradually, my inominate bones ceased to shift, my muscles became stronger and I was able to walk a mile and ride a bicycle. Fast forward 2 years later, after doing yoga 6 days per week, and enrolling into a yoga teacher training course, I found myself in Costa Rica for a week-long yoga retreat. I happened to meet a holy man who, after speaking with him for two hours told me this – “God has given you a second chance in life; do not waste it”. Oh boy…. The second evening while in Costa Rica, a group of us gathered around a table and introduced ourselves to one another. We talked about our careers and I mentioned how I was considering a career change having been in the television business for over 22 years. Growing up, I had wanted to be a doctor, but life did not steer me in that direction. My companions and I discussed options and four months later, I was enrolled in the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine and dedicated five years full time to my studies in Traditional Chinese Medicine. I also became a full contact combat Muay Thai fighter (so much for taking up needlepoint).
For the past 15+ years that I have been in private practice, I have recommended yoga to my patients for many different reasons and always tell them about my own initial experience. I tell the story of that one woman who, by her kindness to me that day a long time ago, changed the course of my life. As the wise man suggested, I haven’t wasted my borrowed time on this earth and have been paying forward the many kindnesses that have been given to me over these many years.
So, almost 23 years later, I upon exiting a HIIT class, I ran into Jessica Metz at yet another Equinox location where she was the sub for a yoga class. She remembered me and I finally had the opportunity to thank her for changing my life in just so many ways. I told Jessica how for years, I’ve been telling the story of how I got back my health and changed my life and how it was her kindess that created that shift in life for me. Jessica had no idea how many lives she changed by one simple act of kindness. It truly made her day…and mine.
People….pay it forward. Forget the impossible resolutions you’ll most likely break by the time you read this blog. Here’s a better idea….resolve to do something nice for another person whenever you have the opportunity. Kindness goes a long way – I know it for fact. It will come back to you one day when you least expect it.