Wednesday, February 16, 2011

My Memory of Marilyn

Georgia is one of our teachers that was/is inspired by her friend & teacher, Marilyn. Thank you, Georgia, for sharing your memories with everyone, and we are thrilled for you to teach at Barefoot! xoox :) 


When I first met Marilyn she told me about her breast cancer.  After being in remission, it was back.  There we were, sitting close together in a conference room at Heifer International where we both worked.  A big staff meeting had just ended and people were filing out.  I’ll never forget how Marilyn shared herself with me - her heart wide open and vulnerable, tears streaming from her big blue eyes.  I listened and from somewhere beyond me the words came, “It’s going to be alright, Marilyn.  It’s going to be ok.  It’s your Soul and no matter what happens, your Soul knows and is in charge.”   That’s how our friendship began and that’s how it always was.  She shared freely her challenges of living with cancer and I learned so very much from her.  She brought out the best in me and touched me deeply.  I admired her determination and grace.

Marilyn showed me how to be brave in the face of death, to carefully review the things that mattered most, to be grateful for what was possible rather than concentrate on life’s betrayals, to clearly identify what could be done with the time left, and then deliberately set out to make it happen.

We would walk the big dam bridge together.  As we walked, we talked.  One day, a bit hesitantly, I confessed, “I know this is going to sound crazy and I don’t in any way mean to take away from the intense, heart breaking struggle you are facing, but I see how you have made it into blessing.  You have chosen to face each day in the present and make the most of it.  You don’t know what time’s left and you are determined to make the best of what you have.   I have longed to do the same.  Yet, I often fall short.  You show me how to not let my fears or laziness stop me."    

Marilyn was committed to making the most of life.  She chose to live her life fully, to pass on the best in herself and to give back.  She found ways to be of service to others.  She showed me how to take what life gives and find the way through it.  She inspires me still today and I want to be like her in so many ways.

Marilyn had shared with me her plans to move to south Texas to be near a dear friend where she would be supported.  That all changed after she discovered Barefoot Yoga Studio.  She had finally found the support and community that she was searching for with Barefoot ... right here in Little Rock.  Marilyn was so grateful and she felt so loved and supported.  She told me one day that she was in a yoga pose looking up, and the instructor walked by and told her how beautiful she was.  Marilyn beamed as she showed me her yoga pose…she beamed from her heart.  She felt so totally loved, accepted and cared for.  Her teachers and friends at Barefoot were so very important to her. She found great strength and dignity in her yoga practice and with the loving community.

I went to her house as she was preparing, well, preparing for death.  Marilyn gave me pictures that were taken of her as a yoga teacher for the Barefoot Studio website.  I remember we were walking the bridge when she got a call to set up the appointment with the photographer.   She was really excited and proud in a very heartfelt way to be a yoga instructor.  She told me that she wanted everyone to remember her that way… as a yoga instructor.  It represented the best of who she was. 

I feel honored to have shared a bit of Marilyn’s journey with her.  She taught me so very much about living with purpose.  There are many, many stories and memories of her that I hold dearly in my heart.  It is in her memory and honor that I have recently completed the Barefoot Yoga Teacher Training Certification myself.   Marilyn is still very much with me, inspiring me to be the best that I can be.  And that is exactly as she would want it to be.  Lets join together in remembering and celebrating Marilyn Murphy…such a wise, gentle Soul and caring, bright Spirit!

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