Friday, December 21, 2012

Shayne Autry, Dec 19, 2012 - in Memorium -

I'm not sure how to describe Shayne Autry. I kinda fell in love with Shayne the first time i interacted with him. This was at a z-health course - sustenance - and one of the exercises was to team up and practice active listening. Shayne and i were sitting close to each other so we teamed up. I was supposed to talk about something to do with my training and he was supposed to practice listening, reflecting and i think making some suggestions.
This photo was taken by Kathy Graves,
Shane's buddy, and fellow karate expert and
zhealth trainer/co-course attender.

I immediately felt safe starting to chat with Shayne, first because he seemed quietly self-possessed, second because of his lovely texas accent, and third, well, third, Shayne and i are about the same height. What some might call "short."
Beyond these qualities, what made me feel so sweet on Shayne is how well he listened and how well he engaged - i felt heard and like my practice was going to get better.

Shayne could also do amazing movements on the rings - there was a set hanging up where we were at - and he was lovely in his demonstration of skills, and kind in his demonstration of techniques to progress a movement. I was taken with the muscle up, and i recall how he gently and clearly demonstrated the role of the hand position in getting the muscle up on the rings.

I had no idea that this grounded guy was also a 5th degree karate black belt instructor. I learned this later - and not from him - at another course. Why i say i have no idea is that i was more accustomed to the folks who made their martial arts prowess a thing. If you're in this space you likely know what i mean: the guys with the chest forward and the shaved head whose sentences are often peppered with references to their particular speciality. This is not a critique - just an observation of how many of the folks in that space recognize each other. It's a kind of uniform. IT's not however the uniform that shayne wore - at least not where i encountered him, which was in Phoenix on courses. There you're seeing a guy in sandles, jammers, a loose t-shirt, longish hair tied back in a pony tale, beard. Everything looked relaxed, loose, compact.
When i learned about his martial arts expertise, i thought you are like columbo or the spy in sun tzu who no one would expect is the expert, the gymnast, the lethal fists. So impressed that what came to the fore was just this warm, welcoming Texan.

I can't say i "know" Shayne at all. I think i've seen him in person less than a handful of times - always at courses, but always looked forward to seeing him, hearing his voice and especially seeing his awesome smile. It just wouldn't be the same if he wasn't there.
I remember last year when i think i learned about him running his own academy thinking that ya, what a great coach - his students must be so lucky to have him teach them martial arts. And i'd again be struck with how un-pre-possessing this guy who could likely kill me faster than look at me, seemed to be.

video put together by one of Shayne's cousins

Over the past year or so, Shayne and i connected mainly over the net via posts on Facebook - he'd reply to something on one of my posts; i'd reply to one of his. Mostly kibitzing. I don't know why - we just did. It was alway a kind of Warm feeling that another human being was connecting not just with the b2d stuff, but more often the regular fb posts - not conversations - just contact - a virtual smile - acknowledgement - i dunno. Friendly and fun. I think we spoke more this way online - with these kinda  virtual buddy shoulder punches - than we did in person.

The last contact i have from Shayne is a message shortly after an FB event b2d hosted - a one arm push up progress party. Shayne sent me a direct message - first time - saying he thought he might have a way to improve my push up and to call him. Remembering his muscle up ideas, i was really excited that he was offering some thoughts here. And how interesting that he was offering his phone number for contact rather than a message contact or public post.

I'd been on the road at the time his note came in and just saw it the other day. Calling...Guess i missed him...

Then i saw the email from zhealth saying that Shayne had died and there were as yet no other details about cause of death. He was 37. 37.
I still can't parse this. Did i just miss him? Did he want to talk? Hello? Is anybody there?
Shayne, i'm so so so sorry i missed you. That's just not right. None of this is right.
What happened? What can i do?

Despite not knowing Shayne deeply, Shayne's digital greetings have been a gift in my life, and i'm feeling the loss suddenly, keenly. It's a hole around something i didn't really even know i had. It's arrival was unexpected; its departure, more wrenching than expected having reflected on what is lost and that will never be there again.

And that i missed his call seemingly offered so close to the end of his whole life - his whole life. What did i miss? Could i have been there for him in some way?
 That seems the most bitter: to have been so close to that moment and there is no "catch ya later." It's gone. Shayne's just gone.

So no i don't know really how do describe Shayne in any kind of deep knowing way to tell you any part of his story; i can't witness anything else about him, beyond these glimpses of someone who seemed to be a warm and generous human being, someone i'd trust as a coach, and recommend to anyone else who might be in his area, and loved in these exchanges where the words weren't important; it was just the contact, the presence. It occurs to me how potent this contact has been - what a gift.
Of all the folks i know, he's one of the few who so regularly reached out to just make contact - and never asked for anything back. I realise thinking on this how rare that kind of contact is, and how delightful, how priceless. It's amazing to me, i think, that such quality can shine through, be so potent, even with so little quantity. That's powerful isn't it? That is a kind of testimony to person. A proof that he was here. Will be remembered warmly and missed deeply for at least these gifts.

For those who don't know Shayne and may be wondering why i'm using this blog to talk about Shayne, please allow me to offer this: i think it is important to recognize that a really good member of the health and wellbeing community is gone. That someone who helped shape a profound aspect of people's lives be recognised for this work.

WE are so few of us famous but still profoundly affect the lives around us and so out of repsect should be named, honored, noted, remembered. Shayne Autry stepped here.

I'm glad to have known him even to this small degree, glad to be able to tell you about him, sorry i can't introduce you to him, but hope you will raise a glass this holiday to the good folks who have tried to make our lives better - and even not knowing him - take my word for it if you might - that he's worth remembering in that toast too.

Miss you, Shayne.


1 comment:

Rannoch Donald said...

m.c. Thanks for sharing this. It's hard when we connect with someone only to have them disappear from our lives. Great you had the chance to share some time and space with Shayne.



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