I awoke and saw that life was service.
I acted and behold, service was joy.
-- Rabindranath Tagore
On Wednesday morning I received news that Patrick Collard had passed away. Patrick came into my life in August of 1995. I was in Philadelphia attending Patrick's "apprenticeship program," a 10-day personal growth and bodywork seminar. I had enrolled in this program purely on faith, never having met Patrick or even heard of him.
I stepped into the hotel elevator, already occupied by a single man in an Armani suit and shiny black cowboy boots. He acknowledged me with a nod and later, as I sat in the seminar room waiting for the day's activity to begin, the same man strode to the front of the room and began to speak. I had just met Patrick Collard.
On the first day of the apprenticeship I was a massage therapist firmly rooted in the "real world" and sure of all my scientific knowledge about the human body. On the last day, I was still human, but everything else about me had changed. I had just spent ten days hearing the truth for the first time in my life, and I felt as new and powerful as as the earth's first sunrise.
What was the big deal? What did I learn in ten days that could make such a difference in my life? The better question is "what did I unlearn?"
I discovered that I am not a self-contained, finite individual, but rather a precious part of a shining whole, connected to others with every breath I take, and that true knowledge is every moment of present time. I learned that even though I have assigned the function of seeing to my eyes, true sight is trusting myself and surrendering to my unlimited nature. I found that power and strength are sometimes opposites, and that what I am made of, and what I am, are two different things. Most of all I learned that I am, in Patrick's words, "doomed to perfection."
Fourteen years as Patrick's student provided me with tools that released me from the past, encouraged me to embrace my essence as a strong female authority figure and taught me the power of receiving. Patrick supported me in all I did and respected me enough to invite me as a co-teacher for some of his bodywork seminars. Those opportunities to teach with Patrick will remain in my memory as some of my life's highlights.
Patrick touched tens of thousands of lives through his music, writings, seminars and private sessions. In his presence I experienced some of the greatest moments of my life. He gave me my vocation and, by extension, my happiness. Patrick Collard was my teacher, my mentor and my friend. I will miss him forever.