I've been reading a book about FDNY Captain Pat Brown; Capt. Brown died on 9/11. From what I've learned about Capt. Brown in the beautifully compiled memoirs in the book, Miss you, Pat, by Sharon Watts, Pat Brown was a true yogi on and especially off the mat.
I'd planned on waiting until I finished the book to write about the book; but I've been taking my time reading it - a few memoirs at a time - because each time I pick it up, my own 9/11 demons come out. But because of Lt. Kelly's death, I was reminded, yet again, that life can be short and take unexpected sharp turns - so why wait to talk about this.
Some of my story from 9/11 day is described in a Boston Globe article from 2008 - but we all have our stories. Reading Pat and Sharon's stories is helping me let go of some of the baggage that don't need to carry from that dark time. I want to help share their stories so that others who are carrying unnecessary baggage can have another tool to help the healing process. And on a lighter note, this book gives a glimpse into the lives of firefighters, many of whom are yogis in their own ways.
I may heal, but I will never forget....I am engaged to a Boston Fire Captain. Although he wouldn't label himself as such, he is a karma yogi (karma yoga being a pillar of yoga related to duty of service to others without attachment to the reward of service). And many other firefighters whom I've met are karma yogis too. Firefighters are a special breed; they run into buildings when the rest of us run out; they show up to the most unpleasant events, and quickly - no hesitations. And this is when they are on-duty.
But the firefighters I know extend their service to others to their lives off-duty. I've seen the community come together for fundraisers, funerals, and families in need. This is not to say such communities don't exist in other professions. Firefighting is a lifestyle more than it is a job; and I'm proud to be on the periphery.
Not everyone feels this way about the firefighting profession.
I've learned not all "yoga people" think everyone is worthy of being called a yogi:
A yoga instructor canceled a yoga retreat at our retreat center. After scheduling it and announcing it to his students, he read Scott's bio and, concluded that he "didn't think it would be healthy for his students to be around someone [Scott] who sees so much trauma".
At the Colorado Yoga Journal conference, someone asked me, "how can Scott lead yoga retreats with you and teach non-harming when he used to be in the Marines and carried a gun."To two people I quoted above...I implore you to read Miss You, PAT and to learn about the many different ways that yoga can be lived.
Sharon Watts gives us a raw, beautiful glimpse into one special fireman's life. I encourage anyone compelled to learn about yogis from ALL walks of life to pick up this book. You may tear right thought it or read it bit by bit, as I have. And proceeds from Miss You, Pat go to Bent on Learning.
To the Kelly family, my heart goes out to you.