Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Feeling Family at Marco Fitness Club

Left to right: Jean Cholka, Diane Saywell and Bob Cholka.

Left to right: Jean Cholka, Diane Saywell and Bob Cholka.

By Diane Saywell

The family that stays fit together, remains knit together. We are of body, mind and spirit, but when it comes to presence, while we are apart from one another, the spirit comes through the strongest. It is the spirit that loves on, remains strong in direct correlation to the depth and experience of the relationship. Follow me?! Another thing, notice that I didn’t mention time spent in the relationship? Simply because I bet each of you can recall individuals you have known for very short periods of time, or for short periods of engagement (dental appointments!) over long periods of time, that left such an impact on your life that you connected with them more than someone in your own family even! Think about it.

We are here on a journey, a path that is ever unfolding, whether we notice, appreciate or even participate in it. The most beautiful thing is to know yourself enough to know when you connect to others, and then celebrate it! Visit, revisit, expound, explore and open yourself to what the other person in your path has to show you. Perhaps it is you who are showing something to them? Open your eyes, open your heart and come back to the place in your body, in your mind, as well as spirit, that celebrates that connection. When you see and feel that kind of love, I consider that to be the basis of what FAMILY means. What it means to be of a family, beyond the parents and children concept, boils down to love.

A couple of years back, there was a story about the Marco Fitness Club published. It was about Burt and Jan Brewer, the original and very well known and

Diane Saywell and her students. PHOTOS SUBMITTED

Diane Saywell and her students. PHOTOS SUBMITTED

loved owners. They both got sick with cancer and passed from this life at young ages, just two years apart. The community was devastated, and the Marco Fitness Club rather ran itself for a period of time. You see, we were all interconnected with Bert, having given out so many keys to remain open for clients while he was fighting his battle and he couldn’t open the doors in the morning. So most members had one. We all trusted, we all banded together and as we worked out, side by side, morning after morning, we watched and waited with anticipation to see what would become of the Marco Fitness family.

Well, we were saved from becoming a CVS and remained a family, when Bob and Jean Cholka moved to the island from Michigan and took the helm of this floundering vessel. It was an interesting and sweet transition, looking back on it (perhaps research the article “We were a family” and check it out?) and has grown as time has passed. I will admit one of the hardest things to leave when I moved off the island less than one year ago, was the gym. The Marco Fitness Club, and especially Bob’s smiling face at 5:45 AM, was a routine I didn’t want to let go of. Walking in, zombie like, not speaking and 50 minutes later on the way out, babbling Bob’s ear off as I was late to get ready for work! I woke up there, literally.

Then I moved. Only being 2 hours away, I could visit fairly easily. The few times I came back were for short periods, and I didn’t manage to stop at the gym. The thought of walking in and not getting on

Students plank in Diane Saywell’s class at Marco Island Fitness.

Students plank in Diane Saywell’s class at Marco Island Fitness.

a machine and knowing I was not a member, kind of hurt. It was easier to not feel that, whereas visiting was a bittersweet thing to do wherever I went, all over the island, (especially beach yoga!). Then Bob messaged me as I was getting ready to hold a workshop in the studio I teach at in Northport. Did I want to teach a yoga workshop at the studio space there? (Where many wonderful classes are held!) He wrote that THEY would be honored…THEY! It is ME who was honored! And thrilled at the idea of having a section of that family together again.

The workshop went down, the love went around, and it being yoga, we all connected on many levels. I heard between the words in conversation at lunch, looking back to it later, that I left something there. It made my head drop a bit, my gaze come up and a sweet smile spread across my face. I can still feel it now. So in fact, I am there still, in spirit. I should have realized that, and why not? All of the people I have come to know, or even be simply aware of (readers!) have left their spirits forever with me. On a deeper note, Bert and Jan Brewer especially. I am sure there are some you are thinking of right now as well.

I realized, that Sunday morning on Marco, as I stood in front of the “students,” that I have grown. The kind of stress in moving away, in changing and in creating a new life causes growth. We stretch, we grow. We open our hearts, we know. We live with love, let it show. Thank you Bob and Jean Cholka and the Marco Fitness Family!



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