Better Because You Spark So Much Light!

Can any of you guess who this bright-eyed beauty might be?? I’d sure love to know what she was thinking when this picture was taken. I adore the gentle glow that ever so delicately glimmers through her upward glance. I can also sense such a sweet and sensitive soul reflected through that precious smile!

I’ll give you a hint of who this blog about. The following describes her absolutely perfectly.

And, she does EXACTLY that. I feel blessed beyond belief to honor and acknowledge this exquisite human with a few words in this blog. I have hesitated to do so because I wasn’t sure if I could aptly depict her exceptional essence with words alone. If you know her … you will understand my reticence. It feels like a challenge to do her justice. Maybe you already have an idea of who it is, but I’ll offer you one more clue!

And, yes … this beautiful soul radiates so much joy as she embraces her truth and pursues her passions! Some of you will recognize her through the incredible ‘movement’ (pun intended) that she has single-handedly inspired in our community over the past couple of years. Her remarkable efforts to increase flexibility, mobility and activity in our community have been incredibly well received!

I bet you know who I am talking about now!! Yes. I am speaking of none other than the warm and wonderful Lindsay Anderson! With her engaging exuberance and enthusiasm … Lindsay has ensured that the body of work founded by Miranda Esmonde-White (a former ballerina with The National Ballet of Canada) is a household word in our small town and far beyond! I am so glad I can include this little video so you can hear Lindsay’s unequivocal passion as she describes, in her own words, how she discovered Essentrics.

You can’t help but detect both the delight and the dedication that Lindsay devotes to building her practice and optimizing her expertise. And when Covid-19 swooped in and disrupted most everything in most everyone’s lives, it could have been the end of Essentrics in our community. Instead, Lindsay chose to offer her classes on Facebook Live! And so, for a mere $3/class up to a maximum of $30/month (regardless of how many classes you attend), she continues to provide at least 7 or 8 classes per week.

She even offered classes on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day during the decidedly different holiday season we experienced in 2020. For many of us who were alone at home instead of with family due to the pandemic restrictions on socializing, it was a wonderful addition to our quiet isolation during the holidays. And, as of the publishing of this blog, she has developed an enthusiastic and loyal following of 700 participants who benefit from her willingness to so generously support all of us.

Yes. Lindsay’s caring commitment to her people is unequivocal and impeccable. Even when she has other obligations and responsibilities and activities in her own life, she consistently finds a way to show up for her Essentrics followers. For example, when she was going to be out of town cross-country skiing in Waterton, Alberta … and even though it was four degrees below zero with a wind chill making it feel like -12 degrees … Lindsay gifted 30 of us with the opportunity to feel like we were stretching our fascia, activating all 650 muscles and mobilizing all 360 joints in the beautiful Rocky Mountain resort.

I know I am not just speaking for myself when I say that in addition to mobilizing our bodies, Lindsay is also uplifting our spirits! In fact, not too long ago, one of her participants shared that his wife had recovered enough from surgery and was finally able to return to class. His comment on Facebook made me smile because I knew exactly what he meant. Lindsay’s exceptional essence is what makes doing Essentrics with her so very exquisite. She is a spark. She is a veritable spark of light and leaves such lovely heart prints in all that she touches.

If you didn’t know Lindsay already or haven’t met her through Essentrics, you might have met her at the beginning of this pandemic when her 88 year old mother-in-law started sewing masks. Lindsay supported the distribution of these handmade gems by using her own Facebook account to ensure the public had liberal access to them. While Grandma Carma was content to simply give the masks away, Lindsay encouraged her to charge a teensy little fee which was donated to a charity. It was remarkable to witness their joint effort to mask us all up and keep us safe from Covid-19.

Lindsay is not only a bountiful bearer of light, but is also a spectacular sharer of light. She heralds the givers and generously acknowledges those who endeavor to make the world a better place. Just recently, she introduced us to a woman whose job in a local restaurant was compromised by the pandemic. So, Lindsay invited us to experience this woman’s culinary skills by ordering a ‘dinner for two’ from her. Lindsay did all the leg work to ensure our community was aware that we could supplement this person’s livelihood by simply ordering and enjoying her homecooked meals. She was sold out in no time. I am hoping to get a taste of it all next time around.

And that is precisely what Lindsay does … with utmost generosity of spirit. As I say that, I am also reminded of when she introduced us to Poppy. And even though she is introducing us to a young girl, I am including this here because it gives you a small sense of the vibrancy and vitality of who Lindsay is herself.

And, now that you have a sense of Linday’s limitless loving-kindness, I must introduce you to Robin. If you don’t already know him, Robin is Lindsay’s brother. And, when he passed away, she started a memorial fund called “Robin’s Nest Egg”. I hope you will take three minutes to allow this inspiring video to touch into your spirit.

I am personally aware of a number of situations where an egg or two from Robin’s Nest have been kindly gifted to others. There is really no end to the compassion and caring that characterizes this remarkable human called Lindsay. She also works with people with special needs and when funding was cut in the schools and many of the assistants in our community lost their jobs, Lindsay decided to create a kindergarten in her own home. Who does that? Who just decides to start a school? Well … Lindsay does. ๐Ÿ˜Š

High Five was birthed by Lindsay’s indelible and innovative spirit. I trust that her skills, abilities and creative gifts were blessings to the children who attended. As you see in the video, there is no end to the unique and interesting opportunities Lindsay provided her students. It is inspiring to see what kindergarten can actually become when imagined and created through the eyes with which Lindsay interprets the world!

Lindsay is one of the most creative souls I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. She doesn’t live within the confines of space that generally limit the edges of possibility for most of us. She has this incredible way of ‘seeing’ beyond the ordinary … and then … creating something extraordinary. I marvel at how she brings all her benevolent being-ness to every interaction, every circumstance and every situation … leaving everyone feeling better for being in her presence.

I should clarify that Lindsay and I didn’t grow up together. We don’t get together for coffee or lunch. Our husbands don’t know each other. We don’t see each other at church. We don’t talk on the phone. And yet, I consider her a very dear friend. Somehow … this exceptional woman has a way of forging deep and abiding connections. She is the kind of person you want in your circle.

Lindsay and I first met a few decades ago when I was contributing articles to our local newspaper. The column I submitted was called ‘A Closer Look’ and was intended to highlight and give us a closer look at some of the people living in our community. Lindsay reached out to me to say how much she enjoyed the column and expressed her appreciation for the opportunity to get to know people better through the questions. Our friendship started via these email exchanges and over the years I came to understand that she has always loved people’s stories. I learned that she has an insatiable and altruistic interest in humanity.

One of the things that I deeply appreciate about Lindsay is that when she discovers something good … she shares it! Life is far too short to ensure we find all its treasures on our own. Lindsay ensures we do not have to do so.

Lindsay is always spreading joy … spreading good cheer … spreading good movie titles, excellent books, inspiring videos, beautiful music, great recipes … and even the delicious treats she has scored at Costco! About 20 years ago she led me to a peppery snack she found at Costco. I think it had cranberries in it too! I can’t even remember the name of it now … but my taste buds haven’t forgotten because I notice I am salivating as I write this. One day she introduced her Essentrics class to an exceptional chocolate hummus she discovered. So dang good. She is always sharing something good.

I think that is one of the things that makes Lindsay so unique! She truly touches deeply into the miracle of being alive. She leans into her longings and enthusiastically courts her curiosities … and … generously greets the wonders of life with so much gratitude. She sees the beauty in everyday things and notices the light in the littlest of things. And, she so humbly and gently invites all those in her presence to experience the same. A long time ago she reached out and recommended a Ted Talk that she had seen. It was about internet scammers … and it was so deeply moving … in such a unique way … that I ended up sharing it on my own page.

I am not sure how Lindsay finds so many remarkable things to share, but I have learned to heed to her suggestions. Following up her recommendations adds a depth and a breadth to my existence that I might not get to explore were it not for her. So, when she reached out again via text and recommended a TEDx Talk featuring a phenomenal photographer named Lene Marie Fossen who faced her life with anorexia … I made time to watch it. It was such a haunting portrayal of how pain and struggle shape our humanity.

We all have stories to tell. As I shared, Lindsay is always learning more about people and their stories. I am always inspired to follow where her interest in people takes her. And when she watched a video suggesting that Christmas brings a softness to the cell blocks within penitentiaries … she got curious. And, she invited us to join in the learning what she discovered. As Lindsay posted on Facebook:

Can Christmas happen “anywhere”?

I stumbled on this video shortly after I read a book entitled “Getting Life” by Michael Morton – a true story of a man who served 25 years for murdering his wife – a crime that he did not commit. I have since watched interviews and am amazed that he is not bitter or resentful – but instead a grateful and appreciative soul who is soft spoken yet carries a voice with purpose leaving no one with an excuse for ingratitude. I loved the video – but Iโ€™m a skeptic. I wondered how ‘authentic’ it was. It is easy to slow down video footage and add some beautiful music – it plays on your emotions, draws you in. Are those feelings โ€˜realโ€™? It was a long shot but I sent an email to Michael Morton asking if he would mind watching the video and telling me if it made him roll his eyes – or if Christmas really does bring a softness even within the walls of a prison. Several weeks later I was so surprised and touched to get this reply:

“Lindsay–Watched the video. My wife said she teared up when she watched it. I grunted, then watched it, too. Yeah, I also teared up a little, just like a tough, old ex-con. Every prison and most prison experiences are unique. But this video has some universality that struck a chord with me. The guards are human. Some of them are okayโ€ฆand some of them aren’t. Most of them, though, are touched by the holiday season, and Christmas in particular. God is bigger than any wall or series of razor-wire-topped fences. He transcends time, space, and all human circumstance. I liked the video. Thanks.-Michael”

Merry, merry Christmas to all. In prison, or amidst a pandemic, nothing can remove or destroy the special spirit of the season. xo

Ha ha. Of course she emailed the author!! She is so earnestly interested in understanding all the layers and complexities of people. This is the magnificence of Lindsay! I am not the least bit surprised that she stretched out onto the road less travelled and connected with an author who had also been an inmate. Not too many of us might ever even think to do so, but Lindsay’s commitment to honoring the stories of others is unrivaled.

And that Lindsay does!

She also recommended that I read a book entitled “The Unwinding of the Miracle.” I have not yet finished it, but I trust that I will gain something special from it. I cannot yet say what it will be … but I trust my friend implicitly. She never leads me astray. She also recommended that I watch “Fisherman’s Friends” on Netflix. I had never heard of it either. If you haven’t seen it yet, look it up. It was so well worth the watch.

It is so clear to me that Lindsay is always listening. I know she hears a song when many of us miss it … both literally and metaphorically. And, I do not take her exceptional essence for granted. She has this remarkable way of nourishing the landscape of people’s souls. She is also such a gifted writer. I haven’t really touched on her exceptional skills in this regard, but I look forward to reading more of the remarkable stories she has to pen through the lens of her empathic eyes and huge heart.

Lindsay is just so sincere and genuine. She is unapologetically herself. You find no airs about her. Her transparency and authenticity is so entirely refreshing. I’m not sure who said it, but someone once stated that “in a world where everyone wears a mask, it is such a privilege to see a soul.” And, that it is.

And so Lindsay, with these few words … I offer my humble observations of your beings and doings with the deepest appreciation to you and for you. Your presence is a true gift in my world. Thank you for being such a spectacular spark of light. Thank you so adding such a glorious glow to the globe. And, thank you again for touching so joyfully into the miracle of our mortal existence and inviting inspiring us all to do the same. One of these days I might even try sprouting some lentils. ๐Ÿ˜˜

With unending appreciation for the bright light of your soul …. ๐Ÿ’– Karen ๐Ÿ’–