Are You There Yoga? It’s Me, Salvador.
Last I left you with Are You There Yoga? It’s Me, Salvador, it was around 1980. Now, let’s go to around 1984. I was a freshman in high school. That’s a scary thought. The mid 1980s! Can I get a what, what?! Anyway, I digress. It was around this time that something happened that was another marker leading me to Yoga.
My dad was an avid reader. That is how he relaxed. He worked extremely hard, sometimes three jobs to support the family. How I remember him relaxing is by reading books, smoking a Marlboro Red (not recommended), and every now and then drinking a Miller beer. Whenever my dad would light up my mom would chase out of the house, and told him to smoke in the front or out in the back. Stinky. Stinky. Bad for you. Cigarettes. Blah! My father passed in 1993 of a heart attack while he was mowing the front lawn. All those years of hard work and smoking caught up to him, and took him. He was fifty-seven.
I was born on my dad’s birthday, January 28, and growing up I was often told how special it was to born on his birthday. Honestly, as a child I didn’t feel that it was anything special. I thought it was normal to be born on your dad’s birthday. Me and my partner hopefully will adopt a child this year, and just to think of our lil’ one having the same bday as one of us, is something that would be awesome. Connection.
Even though I didn’t feel a connection with my dad when it came to our shared birthday, I did feel a strong connection with his interest in reading. He often went to bookstores, and took me with him. I remember riding in his big black truck. Just me and him. That felt special. While we were at the bookstore my dad would give me free rein, and allow me to roam around. My dad would often go to the biographies, and some how I would end up in the eastern religion/philosophy section. The energy in the bookstore seemed different then the energy outside the bookstore. People were bringing their curiosity and stimulation to learn. I felt that the energy in the eastern religion/philosophy section was even a bit different from the energy in the other parts of the bookstore. It felt spiritual and mystical, but I was fourteen at the time. I was way more into The Smiths than feeling “spiritual.” I do remember two books jumping out at me: Light on Yoga and The Lotus Sutra. The titles, words, sentences, and images are imprinted onto me to this very day. I thumbed through thinking, “What the heck is this?” We were raised Roman Catholic, and went to church twice a week, every week, but this stuff was totally different. This might sound crazy, but I remember flipping though the books, feeling so confused, and feeling the taste buds in my mouth changing. It was sooooooo different from anything I’ve ever heard of before. Whenever my dad said, “Mijo, vamos a la librería.”, I was down, and ready to go. That meant I could pick up where I left off with the books.
Those books gave me a window to another way of thinking and living, bringing me closer to experiencing Yoga as a practice, and questioning my Roman Catholic upbringing.
The older generation in my family say that I look like him, and that I act like him. Honestly, I don’t see the resemblance, but I do feel that as I get older, we are alike and connected, even though he is not physically with us any more. Aquarius unite!
I miss my dad, Arturo Martínez, but whenever I go into a bookstore, I think of, see, and feel him.
Photos by Anna Rose