I will always admire people who do it all. To all of my beautiful friends who do it all–thank you for giving me quiet strength to not give up. Your words, your kindness, your courage and your energy kept me lifted these past two years. I am so thankful that you are my friends, my positive influences, my motivation, my heart. Thank you for being there.
If I had a penny for every time I was asked, “Are you still teaching Pilates?” I would have enough money to buy a Starbuck’s coffee. The answer was so complicated…yes, no, sort of, sometimes. So here it is…not so simple, but not so complicated after all…
Two years ago, I made the decision to focus all of my energy on my kids who are entering what feels like the fast lane of adolescents (they both have found their passion in the arts and are totally immersed–which is fancy for “we have a totally hectic schedule in the evenings now–and I have another new title, Mom Taxi”. ) On top of this new title, I had some hurdles to creatively jump over as a Mom. These hurdles took a lot of my energy and my focus. This all meant saying good-bye to some amazing Pilates clients and half of my “very loved” equipment. It was a bitter sweet moment when I said good-bye to MLB Pilates, but one that I do not regret.
Some decisions can be terrifying, but great!
Within the two years of making that decision, my daughter’s ongoing struggles with anxiety reached a new level of difficult and I had major health issues that required many stages of testing and two surgeries. Amazingly, I didn’t throw in the towel (although on some days I mentally wanted to just drift into Bravo land for the day). Instead, I decided to take this gift of time and be proactive and not just reactive (I had some amazing people teach me how to do this along the way–thank you). I decided to homeschool my daughter for a year–and give her time to heal before her first year as a middle schooler. Anxiety can be crippling and a life long struggle. It also can unfortunately have a negative stigma with negative or uninformed people–but not in my house. I am very, very proud of how hard my 11 year old has worked to overcome some life challenges caused by something completely beyond her control–this is nothing to be ashamed of, nor should it have a negative stigma in society. Severe anxiety takes a lot of energy, hard work and patience. My daughter is worth my time, my energy and my patience. My decision to homeschool was not just mine–it was our entire family–and it was a big deal in this house. This decision felt so similar to the closing of my Pilates studio–terrifying, yet right at the same time.
Seriously, are you kidding me kidneys?
As I was closing my Pilates business, I was also struggling with an ongoing health issue that continued to be misdiagnosed. Some doctors called it “being 40”. I wasn’t really impressed with that diagnosis…so for two years I kept searching for an answer and a better doctor. Finally, the health issue revealed itself. After a trip to the ER, I learned (while drugged up on a crazy narcotic IV drip) that a CT scan revealed I was very close to kidney failure–like 80% close. I remember slurring my speech and looking at my husband and yelling “Are you kidding me kidneys???” I had to homeschool my daughter–I seriously didn’t have time for this debacle–but I did.
Many, many tests and doctor’s appointments later and one minor and one major surgery, I realized that instead of resenting my body for not working, I was grateful for my body for not having cancer (which was the first suspicion). I was thankful for my right kidney for not TOTALLY failing on me and giving me 20% function and my left kidney for functioning at least at 80% and carrying the burden for so many years. I was beyond grateful for a young female surgeon who not only was incredibly skilled, but kind, honest and personable. I actually didn’t have any resentments at all–just gratitude. Little did I know that this kidney issue (which, don’t get me wrong, was awfully painful and scary) was one of the best things that could have happened to me–it FORCED me to slow down, look around and listen. Perspective is an amazing gift friends.
Back to Instruction, back to Pilates
As a former elementary school teacher, I was giddy to teach again in the homeschool setting. As a former Pilates teacher, I was challenged with my own need for careful and meticulous Pilates training post surgery. My daughter and I were determined to make this all work. It is amazing what you can achieve when you have support from others. One of the many lessons that we walked away with during our new adventures together as teacher, student and kidney patient. Without support, I could not have returned to my daily tasks…or even had any kind of determination to do much at all.
I could not have healed without the support of my friends (thank you amazing people), who did the physical tasks I could not during my first few weeks of healing–like dropping off meals and driving kids to activities. I could not have taught my daughter without her helping me move from point A to point B carefully without harming my incisions. I could not have kept my spirits up without my son being the nurturer and sitting with me day after long day…reassuring me that I would be okay and somehow squeezing in a joke to make me giggle. I, physically, could not have returned to my life if I did not have Pilates in my muscle memory to lift me cautiously out of bed, my spirit to be patient and my mind to remind me to breathe. I am so grateful to be able to see the beauty in a complicated situation. I am so thankful for a healthy perspective and many beautiful friends.
My kids have been my favorite teachers
Through all of these hurdles, bumps and debacles, I have learned how to take time to pause and reflect. Instead of just running from point A to point B (like we all do with hectic schedules), I have learned how to stop and observe and treasure moments. In the last year, through all of the messy life situation I have learned some profound life lessons–most taught by my kids. They have taught me how to be strong, how to persevere, how to be forgiving, how to be kind, how to know when to ask for help, how to take a risk, how to be honest, how to be genuine, how to laugh and be silly even when you feel crummy. If I had not modified my schedule by pausing my Pilates business, I may have missed these amazing lessons. Thanks kids!
So now, when I am asked if I am still teaching Pilates, I know how to answer. YES. Pilates is my passion–it is ingrained in my body, my mind and my spirit. I have missed this part of me…and thankfully, with the help from my kids and the amazing people that surround me, I have found the energy, the perspective and the answer.
Pilates for Young Dancers is a new and wonderfully personal project. I am so excited to share. It will not only be for young movers, who are growing so fast that they need extra attention, but also anyone wanting to learn more about the benefits of Pilates for your body, your mind and your spirit.
My young dancer (my daughter) has given me many opportunities to grow as a person with this new homeschool adventure. We share many things in common, but one commonality that we share is our love and appreciation for movement. It is incredibly healing for both of us. Sharing Pilates with my kids is a dream (yes, even my 13 year old son will jump on the reformer at times when he’s not playing bass and dreaming of being a rock star or ask how to work on his hip strength for lacrosse). Working with my young dancer as a Pilates student is a gift–I am so grateful she has graciously offered–especially during a time when hanging out with your Mom is not as fun as hanging out with your friends. Thank you C.
Together we are going to bring balance back to our bodies and our lives. Together we are going to make this an amazing year of learning… a foundation for many years to come. I am so grateful to be a Mom, a homeschool teacher and “again” a Pilates instructor.