Spring is in the air, excitement abounds and fresh, new beginnings seem like the order of the day. I am spending a few days in Long Beach, CA with my family and enjoying every minute of it. It has taught me an important lesson – there is so much to enjoy in our own backyards, we don’t have to look far to have fun. I have lived in southern California for 25 years and have seldom visited Long Beach, which is 40 minutes up the road from my home. I have seen far more of London, Tokyo, New York, Sydney, than Long Beach or for that matter Los Angeles.
Next week we are hosting our 2015 BASI Summit, with around 60 BASI faculty, licensees and hosts from around the world converging on the Academy. We will enjoy a weekend of presentations, discussions and repertoire review. As always, I am “blown away” by the dedication of this nucleus of the BASI Family. It promises to be a lot of fun, besides hard work, which is the nature of all our BASI events.
I have always aimed at making BASI a collection of independent thinkers and creative teachers and students – this it is. Although we strive for the education to be standardized in its content, the delivery differs from person to person. In addition, we do not shy away from making changes based on contemporary thinking. I never feel bad saying, “At the time I was doing the best I knew how, but now I know better”. For the sake of those that put their confidence in us, we need to always be on the cutting edge. The Summit is the time to introduce new ideas and new directions, it is so pertinent that it comes during the spring season.
I am going to end on a sad note. One of our BASI graduates, Beth Mast from Indiana, passed away recently after battling cancer for sometime. Following are some words from Katie Brown-Wright, our host in Indiana:
“On April 8th, we lost a member of the BASI family to the cancer that finally seeded to her brain in late November of last year. Her spirit encompassed all that is BASI. She loved to learn and though she was never able to make it to California and meet Rael, her constant drive to be a better teacher, a better student, and to better the world for those around her regardless of her own struggles embodies the BASI lifestyle. Beth was an amputee, yet always transformed her challenges into positives. She spent time in Africa assisting amputees with learning how to use their new prosthesis. When the cancer spread to her bones, she spent much of her last year fighting for change and acceptance of less traditional treatments as well as working to integrate Pilates into a local Indianapolis hospital. She continued her own Pilates practice with an open mind, fearlessly willing to try anything I would throw at her and wanting to do her best for that day as we worked around chemo treatment schedules and blood transfusions. Through her own angst, she maintained a sense of humor and a positive light on life. She will be missed.”
Early in March one of our BASI Family suffered a terrible tragedy. I want to shed light on it and convey to Amit and Rafi the support of our BASI community. There is nothing sadder and more tragic than losing a child. Amit writes about the loss of his very young son below.
I have known Amit as a Pilates professional for many years. He did not study with me initially, and was already an accomplished teacher when we met. Amit joined BASI, studied our approach and went on the become BASI faculty and teach for BASI in several countries. For many years he kept the BASI flame alive in the UK, which has now been passed on to two incredible ladies, Lisa Lamberti and Theo Van der Riet Botha.
Amit and Rafi were the most incredible parents and gave to Eli unconditionally. Their patience, their capacity to never give up, their sheer determination to give Eli the very best they had to offer. Their giving came from the depths of their hearts and souls and it was always an inspiration to me personally.
I send them condolences on behalf of the entire BASI Family and hope that they can find peace at this time of turmoil, and find joy in the memories of a little boy who, even though challenged physically and mentally, brought such light to their lives and the lives of many others.
Written by Amit Younger:
Eli was born in Florida, after a long journey of surrogacy. At 8 pounds 10 ounces, Eli showed nothing but great health and vitality.
Sadly, at the age of Three months Eli was hospitalized with severe Meningitis. After four weeks of hell in the pediatric Intensive Care Unit, Eli performed a miracle and started coming back to us.
This was the beginning of a new journey. The Meningitis has left Eli with a severe brain injury; his hearing was badly damaged, his vision was impaired; he suffered motor problems and daily seizures.
Eli passed away on the 6th March 2015. He was 5 and a half years old. In the relatively short time he was with us Eli touched hundreds of lives and hearts. He was a brave little boy who hardly ever complained and always brought immense joy to our lives. Eli taught us the true meaning of unconditional love and showed us the beauty that is found in the simple things and in learning to accept life as it is.