If you’re seeking a greater sense of purpose and think you may never find it, I’d like to tell you about Frank White who didn’t find his true calling until he was 65.
But once he did, he made a big difference in the lives of thousands of people.
At 65, White was in failing health. He had been an alcoholic and for nearly 50 years, a four-pack-a-day smoker. He had severe breathing problems, a leaky heart valve, high blood pressure and he endured painful rheumatoid arthritis. He was also 50 pounds overweight.
His failing health and the pain he suffered required him to spend extensive time with doctors and take a wide variety of medications. Of course he had no time or inclination for exercise.
He was too busy. When not undergoing medical treatments, White was an actor doing small roles in movies like “Rosemary’s Baby” and TV shows like “Hill Street Blues.” Between acting roles, he sold furniture and did interior design work.
But White knew he was at death’s door and finally took action. He joined Alcoholics Anonymous and stopped drinking. Soon he stopped smoking.
Then from out of nowhere, White “stumbled into” something that dramatically changed his life.
He was a talented musician and he went to Los Angeles City College to take a guitar class. But the class was cancelled and in its place he saw a yoga class in session.
White was so intrigued that he became actively involved. His son Kevin said that when he began, “…he could barely touch his knees, yet alone his toes, took the class – [and] decided to stick with it…”
Over the next two years, White progressed rapidly as a student and then as an instructor. He also became a vegetarian.
As White exercised and ate well, the excess weight came off and he looked and felt younger than his years. He no longer needed to visit doctors so often and he got rid of most of his medications.
At 68, an age when many people are retired and sedentary, White got his teaching certificate and taught what became highly popular yoga classes at the prestigious Los Angeles Athletic Club. He established the yoga program there and their yoga studio is named in his honor.
He also taught in other well known yoga studios and through his passion for yoga and his caring for his students, he built a huge following. As Kevin said, “He went on to become one of the most popular and beloved yoga teachers in the country.”
As the years passed, his students saw a man in his 80’s, doing poses that seemed impossible for most people in their 20’s. He’d then help his students perform well beyond their expectations and they’d leave the studio feeling healthier, happier and more self-confident.
Often, White’s students were young enough to be his grandchildren as he taught people of all ages, calling those under 60 years old, his “kids.”
He also taught students with AIDS, Multiple Sclerosis and other life threatening diseases to help strengthen their bodies and to help them feel a little better about their circumstances.
White taught gang members as well, as he sought to help them believe in themselves and make more productive use of their lives.
Doing what he loved, White taught until he passed away from throat cancer at 85 in 2005. Kevin said that he might have “lived to be 100 or more” if only he had not smoked for so long. But White was so enthused with yoga that even on his final day, he wanted to return to his students.
White often said, “A.A. saved my life, yoga taught me how to live it” and he lived it by offering a valuable service that inspired thousands of people to a greater level of self-confidence, happiness and good health.
Success Tip of the Week: If you haven’t found your calling yet, don’t give-up. As it did for White, it may come when you least expect it and in a form you don’t anticipate. And it could bring you a far higher level of meaning and fulfillment than you ever envisioned.
In the next KazanToday, Interesting stories and a memorable lesson from the life of famed Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal.