There are a million different words in my head. And yet once again I am at a loss for them. I find myself writing in disbelief as another one of my friends has gone. Just a few days ago while walking home he suffered a massive heart attack. Though he was revived three times, he was unable to regain consciousness and now he is gone.
Tommy Flanagan, or as he preferred, River Peace, was a man I met just a few years ago while I was teaching in a yoga teacher training program. Over the years we built a friendship, and I came to know the deep passion and love that River aimed to express in his life. It is only fitting that this blog posts happens to fall on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and I think River would have appreciated it deeply.
He was a school teacher who inspired his students to find the best in themselves, even if their circumstances and surroundings were less than ideal. He was a yogi, who dove deep into the traditions of yoga and sought even deeper to discover the answers he was seeking. He was an activist, who fought passionately for and about the things he believed in. His fiery nature and endless passion made him many friends, and also stirred up many disagreements. In all these things he lived his truth, and did it with great vigor and fire.
A few years ago when River travelled to India, he brought me back a small stone from the sacred Ganges river. A powerful totem, blessed by the water of sacred India, and the history and the tradition of Yoga. It was a powerful gesture, and it meant a lot to me. It is something I will always remember as to the generosity of his spirit.
Without question he is gone too soon, and yet I know that he is exactly where he is meant to be. He was happy, very happy. River had just returned from Standing Rock, where he spent a few days helping the Water Protectors, and in doing so standing for all of us as well. That was Tommy. That was River. He stood for the people and the principles that mattered to him, and whether you agree with that or not, he lived his truth. We could all stand to learn from his example.
I will miss our discussions every so often about life, and politics, and yoga. I will miss the Facebook posts and the storm of responses that followed them. But simply, I will miss your presence brother. Thank you for living your passionate and fiery truth. Thank you for standing up when others couldn’t or wouldn’t. Thank you River for calling me a friend.
Journey well brother.
And once more, the Light within me acknowledges and gives thanks to the Light within you. Namaste.
About the Author
Adam is an author, transformational speaker, and stress management coach. His powerful yet approachable and easy-to-understand wisdom have the potential to make a powerful shift in your life. Combining ancient wisdom and modern science, he helps his clients achieve their personal and professional goals, free from stress and worry.
My journey has taught me some powerful, profound, and incredible things.
Walk with me, and I’ll teach them to you too.