I have humbly and not so humbly have sat and listened to this man since the fall of 2002 now. I met him more like in 1999, and was concerned about walking into a yoga studio with men wearing what looked like diapers. Quick to judge, seeing that the gentleman closest to the door had not only decided to wear this strange costume, he also at some point selected a leopard print version of the high on the thigh, I thought to myself, “whatever it is they’re doing in here it seems that yoga may simply be a code word”. I hastily communicated that I had just dropped in to get a schedule and just as quickly scurried out the door. In retrospect I was not ready. I had to tear up my low back, feel paralysis first hand and learn to wear a girdle to support my spine and learn on my own how to sit with a lot pain, emotional mental and spiritual. So humbly I came back 3 years later at the insistence of Jim Bennit, a friend through my once flourishing massage career. I sat in the back of the room and listened to a man who did not know me in any corporal sense, speak my truth in language that filled my heart to the brim. I can’t say I understood more than 20% of what he was saying, but what I did understand changed the course of my life. My massage career was on the rocks, my committed relationship sinking, and my spirit was on the bottom of the ocean floor. I had just come back from 6 months in Asia, much of the time spent in India. The culture shock of coming back was overwhelming. And yet this man in a diaper was speaking right to me with a familiarity of a long lost father. And he spoke truths and told stories that cracked my heart open.
Fast forward to the present. Every week my heart still gets cracked open. He still speaks as if right to me. And I can honestly say that I learn something new every time I sit at this hearth. The practice gets deeper in ways that have nothing to do with hamstrings or shoulders. And even though I fail I am always welcome. Even though I am yet a student, I feel so much more comfortable with my failure and continue to learn to do it gracefully and not so gracefully. Gabriel, the arch-angel that prepares the way for what is to come. There is a great battle to be waged in each and every heart and we never know when the dark night of the soul is to descend, but may each being have a beacon that resounds on the blackest of evenings, a guide through their journey who tells them truthfully of their blindside. Someone to ask, “what are you getting out of that despair?”. Suffering becomes a shadow in the light of the teachers soul. May we all be so blessed to find our own Gabriel in our journey.