Williams Bacall Iyengar

cheers geniuses

It was just after midnight on a Tuesday. I had been out at our local bar, drinking good beers, talking about the eccentricities of life with my beautiful husband and our favorite bartender.

Then, when I slipped into my jammies at home, I found out about a third tragedy—after Robin Williams, after Lauren freaking Bacall. Another great loss to mankind.

B.K.S. Iyengar.

Dammit, I lost it. I finally, finally cried because I couldn’t do anything else. I should have gone to bed. I needed to get up for work the next morning.

But suddenly I was charged with emotional energy to write this little piece. My mediocre tribute to these great people.

I made myself some tea, put my headphones on, and started writing. Shit, this is epic for me. To lose all of these gorgeous souls within a week…brace yourselves.

 Robin Williams – Monday, August 11, 2014

Lauren Bacall – Tuesday, August 12, 2014

B.K.S. Iyengar – Tuesday, August 19, 2014

I sobered up enough to write this post. I promise it will not be my most eloquent work, but I felt compelled to write something. How could I not?

ROBIN WILLIAMS

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

I avoided the Robin Williams tribute because I was floored when I heard the news, and I knew I couldn’t do a magical man like him any sort of justice. I grew up with him, as this sort of distant uncle who seemed to know everything I didn’t.

He portrayed the mysteries of life through acting with a dedication and grace that I have never seen before—Dead Poets Society, What Dreams May Come, The Birdcage—these are films that genuinely capture the human spirit.

They are brilliant, and Robin was a key player in that brilliance.

I had just returned from a romantic weekend in Seattle with Mr. H and I felt peaceful, loved, and hopeful. Then, the next day at work, a coworker of mine came dashing over with the news. Robin was gone.

I didn’t believe her. How could he?

My first boyfriend (and my first kiss) killed himself during my Sophomore year in high school. Right on the baseball field…a bullet to his lovely head. Suicide is not something I take lightly. I’ve known those who have threatened loneliness and I’ve known those who have acted on true alienation from that which we call the “norm”.

It’s scary. It’s heart-wrenching, It’s out there.

I wish it wasn’t, believe me. If I could figure out a way to absorb this from anyone…I would.

LAUREN BACALL

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Right after one of my film heroes—Mr. Robin Williams—Bacall followed a day later. The pretty songbird that I had known for so long had left my window. She was gone and it was so eerily quiet.

Bacall was, quite simply…beauty. She was an effortless woman, with her infamous voice and come-hither appeal. Beyond the exterior, Bacall’s acting was top-drawer—always provocative, smart, and moving.

I’ve been a classic films aficionado for a good decade now. I respect Grace Kelly, I adore Audrey Hepburn, and I caved in to the charms of Marilyn Monroe.

But, Bacall. Just listen and watch. She was a force, a damn gorgeous force.

B.K.S. IYENGAR

Photo: Yoga Journal
Courtesy of Yoga Journal

Where do I begin? Iyengar came to me much later when I was pursuing my Yoga teacher certification a year ago. I know what you’re thinking…big whoop. “Light on Life” by Iyengar is typically a required book.

Honestly, I didn’t want to read it. I certainly didn’t think I would like it.

On the cover was this man with bright white hair and matching eyebrows, smiling in a red robe, seemingly important and happy. Because he was important. Because he was happy.

He was Iyengar, the man who brought Yoga to those of us who truly needed it most…those of us in the West.

Last October I wrote a post called “I Am Still Learning”, which was inspired by Iyengar’s humble wisdom. I was a lost adult in so many ways until I found Yoga, until I connected with this man from another part of the world, a man who didn’t know I existed but didn’t care.

In some weird way, he was there for me when I needed him.

I’m not a religious person, but I am deeply spiritual. My faith belongs solely to the exquisiteness of mankind. Iyengar provided a connection to this realization and I will forever be grateful for that.

Williams, Bacall, and Iyengar left us. I can’t explain it, but I felt a strong kinship with all three of these incredible humans and I must say this…

Robin…thank you for your amusement, your intelligence, your cool.

Lauren…thank you for your loveliness, your emotion, your grace.

Bellur Krishnamachar Sundararaja (B.K.S.)…thank you for your influence, your spirit, your love.

If I had it my way, things would be so different. But there will not be an official holiday for any of these magnanimous souls. And so we will all go our separate ways—some will mourn, some won’t feel a thing.

I will forever know that these strangers did something special…and that they meant something very special to me.

32 thoughts on “Williams Bacall Iyengar

  1. What a great tribute. It’s amazing how much impact people can have on our lives without us every meeting. I was very saddened to hear of Robin and Bacall. They contributed so much to so many. 🙂 This is an amazing tribute to all 3.

    1. It is amazing how strangers, even famous ones, can impact us…absolutely! This particular sequence of events was too much for me to take. I was okay, stunned but okay, until Iyengar passed away the other night. I had to write something for them.

  2. Lovely post Britt. This is even though I don’t have the capacity to care so deeply for the passing on of people I’ve never met. Maybe I’ve hardened my heart so that it doesn’t hurt as much.

    1. Honestly, Roy. This is the first time I’ve been hit like this. I usually don’t react much to deaths of people I don’t know. For some reason this trio did me in, especially when Iyengar passed away. Strangely I felt a solid connection with all three of them, even though they were so different. Writing the piece, as always, was a good form of therapy.

  3. A lovely tribute to three beautiful souls, Britt. It’s always amazing how we are touched by people we never meet and how we touch people we never meet. I think this may be one of the most powerful aspects of art.

  4. This was such a lovely tribute, Britt. I still can’t accept the fact that Robin is dead, and yet every time I see him on TV now my heart aches a little and I quickly look away. I know he probably doesn’t want his legacy to be avoided like that, but it’s still too painful. I will return to his movies eventually because they’ve always given me such joy, but for now, my brain is still far from digesting the truth. 😦

  5. This is a lovely post and tribute, Britt. My daughter said the passing of Robin Williams was like the tooth fairy dying – she was very upset. I loved Lauren Bacall, what an amazing woman! I didn’t know about B.K.S. Iyengar, but another great loss for the world. Life is fragile and we must live every moment we can xxxx

    1. Thanks, doll. Now that you say that, it really was a lot like the tooth fairy dying. There was a bit of magic that just disappeared with all three of these great people.

      Let’s live it up…abso-freaking-lutely! xoxoxo

    1. It’s very true, honey. As I was telling Roy, usually I don’t get affected this much by other people’s passing when they are complete strangers. This particular trio were three humans I really connected with throughout my life. It was tough.

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