Star Spotlight 18: Phil

If I remember correctly, I first met Phil at a happy hour & yoga class at Vibrant Studios. He was instantly likeable: a delightful blend of easygoing and accountable, playful and reflective. Upon becoming a part of our “Studio family,” he’s since been at all sorts of different Vibrant events — he’s made appearances at Salons dinners, painting parties, karaoke nights, and even business meetings. Phil has touched more parts of the studio – both literally, and metaphorically – than most anyone else. He’s been a catalyst for growth and change, a strong physical and emotional support, and a harbinger of hope when mine was dwindling.

If there was a poster child for “ideal friend,” Phil would be it. He is cheerful and optimistic, adventurous and loyal. He’s a fantastic conversationalist, and seems able to engage with nearly everyone he comes in contact with. His open-heartedness, humor, and ability to laugh at himself make him a master at helping others feel at ease. I’m always happy to see Phil at a social event — generally with a beer in hand and a jolly mood.

I know Phil as a beacon of friendliness and cheer, but he’s got another side, too; one that he doesn’t show as readily, but is no less special. This is a softer and more soulful side: a side that sees the value in being connected to his body in addition to his emotional terrain, and makes sure he’s keeping his inner compass in alignment. I see this side come out in the quiet moments before a yoga class, when Phil makes a point to come to class at least 15 minutes early to rest in child’s pose and really land in the moment. This side also shows during a yoga practice itself: Phil’s presence is astounding, his breathing no less than magnificent! His presence in a class almost always assures that, by the end of the hour, the entire room of yogis will be inhaling and exhaling luxuriously, following in Phil’s lead. It is a pure and undeniable pleasure to flow beside him, as teacher or fellow student.

I also know Phil as a “yes guy.” He’s almost always up for whatever is thrown in his direction — be it a trip to Vegas or a trip to the woods, an evening spent bar-hopping or getting in with his contemplative side at a Salon. He’s seen an impressive amount of movies, and never fails to surprise me with his well-formed reviews and recommendations for films of all types (action, romcom, classics – et al!). He knows a lot about a lot of things, actually. Phil is a source of information about current events, politics, pop culture, and all things tech. He’s super intelligent, super witty, super connected to the societal climate.

His career has had a whole lot of twists and turns, and I’ve seen Phil handle these with grace and grounding (okay, okay, most of the time… the guy is human, after all). On the occasions he’s left reeling, rather than composed, his ability to rebound is pretty remarkable. I sometimes imagine Phil as a boxer: deft and lithe, navigating the punches life throws him with finesse, making it look almost effortless. But even the best boxers get hit. When life lands Phil a blow directly in the face, yes, his nose gets bloody, yes, he’s temporarily left with discomfort or pain or a slight concussion. But the dude always gets back up. Sometimes, it means he’s gonna take a little bit of time out of the ring, to reevaluate his game plan and formulate new strategies. Sometimes, it means he’s gonna pull out of a fight completely, before it’s officially over — he knows it’s time to get a little R&R, to give his body time to recover from the punches he’s been dealt. But at some point, Phil always jumps back in. And he’s always better because of the lessons he’s let himself learn.

At Vibrant, Phil has been integral in so many ways. I mentioned fleetingly above his level of involvement, but one more notable area bears calling out: if not for Phil, we wouldn’t have the gorgeous website template that we do! He was responsible for shaping many of the visuals, in addition to some of the text, for the site that served as online placeholder for Vibrant Studios for so long. He assisted with online optimization, with formulating taglines and promotional blurbs, with creating coherency and accessibility within our brand. With his focused efforts, I was able to capitalize on the wave of forward motion he created; even while I was away for extended amounts of time this past year, I felt the reverberations of the momentum he had created. The fact that Phil offered his services and support, with such kindness and warmth (not to mention, free of charge!), left me feeling grateful, that’s for damn sure, but also inspired to act from a similar space of selflessness and clarity. Phil inspired me to hone in on the areas where my skills would be helpful, and engage in the practice of volunteering without the expectation of receiving anything in return. I can’t say exactly how great of an effect this has had on both my life, and the future of Vibrant, but I can say this: thanks, thanks, thanks.

Phil, you are a gem. I see you not only as smart, but also deeply intuitive. I see you making decisions from a space that’s truly your head and heart working together, which I find astounding and deeply inspiring. I see the bravery it takes for you to halt, shift, and refocus when you’re life’s trajectory isn’t feeling like you want it to. I see your kindness and generosity, and your ability and genuine desire to act as supporter and protector for those you care about. I see YOU, and feel so grateful to have you in my life!

Please choose a charity for me to support on your behalf.

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