On the morning of October 21, 2014, time continued, but time had also stopped. One heart stopped. One heart continued. Although one heart had stopped, however, love did not. Two hearts continued to beat as one. “Your heart never stops.” For me, time stops once a summer, when we come to Gulf Shores with Maureen’s family. I tell the story of over our 18 years here, each summer, in detail in my post from two years ago, “The Powdered Donut Manifesto | You Must Release to Receive.” That post, like this one, is inspired by my time on the mat at Glow Yoga. I just left that mat for the last time before heading home to Austin with Kyla and Katelyn tomorrow.
I had a feeling this was going to be a special week when I drove up to Glow’s new location on Monday. I followed Apple Maps, since I knew Glow had moved to their own space over the course of the last two years. As I looked up to turn right, I smiled. The sign said it all. East 21st Avenue. For those that don’t know the power of this number, it is Maureen’s way of sharing #wingprints, as a dear friend likes to put it. 21 is Maureen’s little love nudge from heaven. We chose to turn October 21, the day of her passing into a day of love, not sadness, a story I tell in detail in You Must Release to Receive. Maureen shows up in little ways. On our son, Taylor’s, senior trip to Yosemite a few years back, he and his buddies stopped at a Whataburger in Phoenix, on their way from Austin. Their table number? 21. Our daughters, Kyla and Katelyn, and I, were in New York City a few years back to sprinkle some of Maureen’s ashes at the Statue of Liberty, where I had proposed over the Fourth of July in 1989. We had stopped for something to drink in Brooklyn. Our table number? 21. And, so, my heart did “stop” for a moment as I turned into Glow Yoga on Monday. It didn’t really stop. It took an extra beat. The one from Maureen’s heart that had stopped on that bed at Seton Hospital years earlier. I call it my “love beat.” Two hearts continue to beat as one. “Your heart never stops.”
To give some context to the rest of the story, I have to take a brief detour. Glow Yoga is the physical manifestation of the heart of Jennifer Fulmer Guthrie. I got to know Jennifer a bit better this week because she graciously allowed me to use a part of her space on Tuesday for a webinar I hosted in my role at the Executive Council. In the midst of this sacred space, I put up my green screen, extended the legs on the lights, turned on the Zoom, and had a cool conversation the CIO of New York Jets and our roundtable guests. I realize now as the week ends that it was never about that event. It was instead a chance to get to know Jennifer and her husband, Drew, who both so kindly shared their time with me to help set up.
As I sit here at Foam Coffee, I can’t help but think about one of my favorite coffee shops back in Austin. The Civil Goat. Yes. I like coffee. However, there is more to it. You see Jennifer is from Austin. She graduated from Westlake High School back home. And, she lived off of Cuernavaca Road. Just down the street from the Civil Goat. Her life took some twists and turns before arriving here in Gulf Shores, and of course, out of respect for her privacy, I won’t go into more detail than that. Except for a brief reflection on how she met her Drew. The details aren’t as important as is the fact that the universe will always be sure that hearts full of love will always. Always. Find each other. If we miss it the first time, it finds a way to bring our hearts back together. Love knows. Love always knows. Love knew with Jennifer and Drew, and my life is richer because of them this week.
And, love brought my heart together with Maureen’s over 30 years ago. A Belgian girl, born in Antwerp, grew up in NYC, went to school in the midwest, and found her way to Chicago and Apple. A British boy, born in Watford, grew up in Ohio, went to school in Chicago, found his way to Apple. And found his other heart beat. The one that stills beats in my chest now. “Your heart never stops.” Love never stops. That loves now beats in the hearts of Maureen and my three children, Taylor, Kyla, and Katelyn. And as Taylor frequently notes, “love doesn’t have a size. It is neither big nor small. And it doesn’t run out. If you share it, there is actually more of it.” And, for me, that is why Glow Yoga is so very, very important. Because, there is love at Glow. You can feel it. The heartbeats. On the mats throughout the studio. And sometimes, it will even show up in the music.
And, on Wednesday morning, as the Beats 20 playlist unfolded for Tara’s practice, love showed up in the music. We were approaching the mid point of the practice. The part where you’re starting to get a good sweat. The part where the muscles are looser. And, then came a part where I kinda wanted to dance a bit. The song was a good one. Fun one. Tara was gracious enough to text me her playlist. Beats 20. The song that had me dancing. The song that had my heart beating a little faster, just like the first time I saw Maureen in the Apple office in Chicago. The first time my heart skipped a beat, because just like Jennifer and Drew, the universe had brought together hearts that needed to beat as one. Interestingly, the song is titled, “the end,” by MisterWives. And, just like the number 21, Maureen uses lyrics to share her heartbeat and her love with me to this day:
To make room for new beginnings
All good things come to an end, an end, an end
But it’s not the end
October 21, 2014 was not the end. A true love story never ends. Your heart never stops. For the past seven years, I’ve been privileged to keep writing stories like this one because love does indeed never stop. And, as practice ended today, and we came out of shavasana, “corpse pose,” Jennifer spoke words of truth. She shared her heart. Her gift. She reflected on something that she shares during their teacher trainings with future yoga instructors. “If you are going to speak, be sure that what you say is better than the silence that is already beautiful.” As I left the studio to head back over to Foam, I simply put my hands in prayer pose over my heart, looked Jennifer in the eye, and said Namaste. “I will stay silent.” I stayed silent so that my heart could do what it does with this keyboard. Share stories. Share love.
It is Jennifer that said, “your heart never stops” at the beginning of the week. On Monday. As I was setting up the green screen and the lights. Not long after turning on to East 21st Avenue. As we reflected on life. On Austin. On life’s journey. On sharing a mat here in Gulf Shores. Her words have stuck with me all week. Bouncing around in my head as I watch the waves outside of Wind Song, the house that has been home for most of the 15 years, out of the 18, that we’ve been at the beach. Words bouncing around in my head as I flowed through the poses each day on my mat at Glow. Bouncing around in my head as Maureen spoke to me through lyrics on Wednesday. Bouncing around until it is time. Until all the pieces come together, and it is time to let my fingers dance on the keyboard and share my heart. Bouncing around until I could take a seat at Foam just now. And, as the dance comes to an end for this trip, two things are bouncing around in my heart.
First, life and love are a reflection. We must share love to receive love. When I took this picture of my espresso at Foam this morning, before heading over to my final practice at Glow Yoga for the week, I originally thought I was taking a picture of the crema, the foam on top of a good espresso. And, yes, the foam of life is indeed important, but there is more to it than that. It is not just our own foam that makes life worth living; it is when we share that foam with another. It is when we love. It is when our hearts beat together as one, because love is a reflection. And, as Buddha reminds us, the trouble is, we think we have time. The good news, though, is this. When you fall in love, time stops. And when it does, live into that precious, glorious moment. When two hearts beat as one. And, in the silence, love says more than words ever will.