Thursday, July 12, 2012

Body of Work: Being Called to Teach

"A good teacher is like a candle - it consumes itself to light the way for others." - Mustafa Kemal Ataturk

When one of my Pilates clients arrived to class last night, she barely let me get through the door before she tackled me in a bear hug.  "I just got back from the physical therapist!" she shouted at me.  "And for the first time since my surgery my shoulder didn't hurt and he told me how strong I looked today!  THANK YOU!  THANK YOU!" And she jumped up and down as she squeezed me hard.

During class she could barely keep the smile from her lips as we went through the workout, and as her instructor, it was evident how far she'd come since she started.  Her strength, coordination, and balance incredibly developed over the last several months.  When she'd started with me she had so many pain points, inflammation in her joints, and severely limited range of motion.  She was desperate to get out of her cycle of pain and in her efforts in the studio, she's turned her life around.  As I watched her move fluidly through the challenging program, it was hard to believe she was the same woman I had met who sat in my office that first day.  She was transformed.

In reflection, I never imagined myself to be teaching Pilates.  When first approached to start the arduous process, I immediately said no.  It was nothing I had ever imagined myself doing and it was a lot of work.  I dismissed the notion outwardly, but a seed had been planted. And that seed began to grow.

Two weeks later unable to shake the idea, I sent the instructor who had asked me to do it an email with two simple questions, "Why me?  What if I am horrible at it?"  To which she simply responded, "You are meant to teach. You'll change lives."

And there it was. The seed now had roots.

I began the process and I haven't looked back.  And, if I'm honest, it's about leaving a legacy, but not of my own name, but in the lives I touch through the practice.  I realize how blessed it is to have the chance to instruct and help create physical changes in their bodies and how grateful I am to be doing that work.  I am a aware of the power of the body, the power of touch, of movement and I relish the opportunity to share that passion with my students.  And the physical brings a much higher connectivity for me, a connectivity to my spirituality and a realization of purpose in my work.

God brought sport and fitness to my life for a purpose, even as a youth - it's always been a big part of my life.  Teaching as an adult and training as an adult, there is a new and deeper appreciation for what my body can do, the limits I can push past.  To be able to use your body, build strength and capacity and feel those effects in every movement, is incredible.  To watch those same changes and growth in others is a gift.  It's the most rewarding part of it all.

And I believe those words now from that email.  That I was meant to teach.  And I will always strive to live up to the second part, that I'll change lives.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you whom you have received from God?  You are not your own; you were bought at a price.  Therefore honor God with your body."