It was without pretense that I signed in at a place that resembled the first studio where I had met him years before. An office building that didn’t seem to have much more going on other than the Spa. I saw Marty hustling around before calling me in completing his last appointment before his next with me. He seemed much older but of course he is, the last I saw him was 14 years before. Balding, with a little belly pouch that was my first impression of him. But when he greeted me, I saw that familiar big smile and genuineness in his eyes that I did remember. He looked alittle like a Buddha with blue eyes. He asked if I had had Thai before and I said that I had and then he asked, “Thailand?” I guess not many people have Thai in the States but he said there are a subsection of yogis who do.
The session started out quietly and then I got curious about him and what he was about, so the questions started to pour out from me. “You used to work at that studio in the office building?” Yes, he had and from there he started a studio of his own in Beaufort. It was a donation only space for yoga and it would fit 15 people crammed in but was meant for only 12 people. “I used to have to close the doors 10 minutes before class started it was full by then.” “People are funny they kept asking about packages and paying for a bunch of classes ahead. I told them this is donation based don’t worry about it, but they still wanted to do this. It became a joke them creating their own system of payment.” I added wryly, “People love to be corralled.” “That is exactly right!” he replied.
In addition to the studio he had his massage business on the side. “This is where you make money not with the classes.” He went around the country and adjusted people in class at various studios and then would offer massage while there. “Why did you stop doing this (back in 2009)? He wasn’t sure why. He liked it but it just came to a natural end. I comment, "Yoga changed back then it became more of a business." “Yes” he agreed. Maybe that is why he stopped it became too complicated to set up the work. He later decided to sell his studio to a friend who expanded it to multiple locations. It is now called Dancing Dogs. Now he simply offers yoga on the beach and massage through this space with flexibility that works for the owner and him.
You had a smoothie place that was donation based? "Yes, It was great. I convinced my wife to open it and at first she was skeptical but I ran the numbers for her and she agreed. People think I don’t understand numbers but I do. I majored in college in Finance. My wife for years was the one who made the money. She did contract work for cable companies. She's very successful and still does this work a few hours a week as a consultant." Is your wife a yogi? "No but she surely was in a previous life." (Uh huh, no doubt).
"Was it successful?" "It was! It was great. No stress donation only. I set it up for my kids to run someday and they worked there for a while but then they wanted to do their own thing. Travel and stuff. “ “How old are your kids?" I asked. “24, 22, 19 years old.” (He had three kids under 10 back then and seemed to not to have a care in the world!?)
"I wanted to mentor someone on how to take over the business as a donation based spot. I finally found a friend interested. He said he would do it if I worked with him on the business side for a few months. I told him, ‘Dude, you have to be in it 100%’ If you are going to do this you can’t be half in. So for awhile I helped him but he couldn’t do it. I would counsel him. ‘Dude, not 90%, not 99%, but 100%!’ He just couldn’t do it.” “Do you mean he would get stressed?” “Yeah, he’d get so stressed and pissed off. If a wealthy kid from the Island came in and dropped a quarter he would be furious! I told him, ‘it’s ok it all evens out. The model will take care of itself. People will rally around it’ So, eventually he needed to give up the donation model. It just didn’t work for him.” “Wow, do you miss it?” "Yeah, but my wife and I would travel and our kids are older and doing their own thing."
I have to ask you, “What do you think of Donald Trump?” (Pause) “My thinking is (he tells me), Wait and see”. (Love everyone without judgment.) David Williams taught me, 'It is your perception that will kill you.” “I studied with David back in the early 2000’s and we became friends. He became my mentor. He is a chill guy.” As he says this, I think about Lewis the Astanga teacher at AYC and how David is his teacher as well and how Lewis said to us last week the same thing, "Love everyone—regardless of who they are. Your goal is to feel love for each person.”
Marty goes on to tell me stories about Williams that he toured in Europe with David Paradise and Pavarotti (whose girlfriend was a yogini) and that Williams would give Parvarotti neck adjustments. "Parvarotti wouldn’t trust chiropractors but trusted David." How David Williams moved to Hawaii after the yoga frenzy started in the states and how he’s originally from Greenville, NC. “I would meet up with him near here as it is close to his home in Greenville.”
"It must be nice," I ask "to have your kids pretty much grown and out of the house." Well it would be if that was the case but he and his wife have opened up their home to others. Currently they have a few kids living with them that have needed a sanctuary away from family and life. One kid is headed to the Coast Guard soon. They are hosting a young lesbian couple that are struggling to make ends meet both from neglect and abuse backgrounds. Another girl who is a missionary staying with them temporarily and one of his adult daughter’s and her husband are with them. His daughter and son in law are expecting their first child so before going back West they are going to try and save money. "My daughter and her husband are helping the other couple get back on their feet and counseling them." Their home is also a sanctuary for animals.
The Thai massage seems to end as my questions come to an end. We thank each other. Marty pauses before I leave as if he has noticed me for the first time. “Some people when I tell them my story, don’t get it but you seem to get it.”
Thanks Marty, I hope so