In the short time I am here on this planet I am here to serve. I am here to make a difference, to create change, to move mountains. Well, at least that is my goal.
I also believe everything happens in our life for a reason to which goes back to your goal of why you are here. Nothing is coincidental, nothing is random, everything is for a reason. Everything happens not to you, but for you.
I was in a transitional time a year and a half ago. It was a time where I was doubting my career in Pilates. Don’t get me wrong, I love Pilates and every experience it has given me, but I was feeling a bit stuck. Not sure of what would make me happy, I started to research a new career. In fact, I thought I was to change gears completely and become a helicopter pilot. I romanticized flying into the Sierra mountains to drop my husband, (who is an RN in the ICU), down to rescue and save the life of a deserted, injured hiker.
Around this time, my husband sustained a snowboard injury, leaving him with a dislocated shoulder, L3 fracture, pubic symphysis diastasis with internal bleeding, and a broken fibula. Needless to say, our adventurous lives in Tahoe turned upside down quickly. Through this experience we were introduced to High Fives Foundation and the world of adaptive Pilates for spinal cord injuries at the CR Johnson Healing Center. In this moment, my new career path became clear. I was to teach Pilates to those who had suffered from a spinal cord injury.
From first hand experience I saw how easily life could change in an instant. We were lucky, as all of Michael’s bones healed and he was on the road to full recovery. This personal perspective gave me fuel to charge ahead in a place that felt scary, yet exciting. I felt an intense desire to give any ounce of normalcy back to these strong individuals who are now living a much different life than they had imagined for themselves.
Everything I experienced with my Pilates career and through Michael’s accident was to prepare me for this career specialization and it was now my duty to give back. It was not long after my internal decision that I found myself taking a bit of a leap of faith to work with this inspiring demographic.
Education is a struggle when it comes to working with SCI clients because there isn’t a program out there. I hope to be a part of this solution one day. Through my journey of trying to find support and direction I reached out to one of the best mentors I could think of, Shawna Korgan. Her husband is the ever-inspiring Grant Korgan and is such a positive beacon of light in his journey to recovery. Shawna was such an integral part of laying my foundation of what to consider with SCI clients, what ideas to begin with and she continues to coach me going forward.
In my new journey with the High Fives Foundation I found it very important to log observation hours. Jack Powell is the main trainer working with SCI clients. He gave me so much insight to taking the Pilates equipment and exercises and how to think outside of the box. No spinal cord injury is the same and no diagnosis is the same. Additionally, working with SCIs was going to involve way more manual manipulation, as I would be moving their body for them in some cases.
It was time to push myself and get out there. Time to trust my gut that is exactly the place I needed to be. Uncomfortable, unsure, and scared because in that space we grow and learn the most. I often tell my teacher trainees that there will be times that you will be feeling that you were thrown overboard. Only you will decide to sink or swim. I was ready to swim.
Lupita was my very first SCI client. We had our initial intake and I had come to realize that she reached out to the studio, Purely Pilates, some time back but there was a miscommunication in getting her into the studio. How perfect was it that when I made my self declaration, she decided to contact us again? Coincidence? I think not. When the teacher is ready, the student will come! You will hear more about Lupita in another post, but she holds a dear place in my heart. I was incredibly nervous to meet and work with her. Just like any other new Pilates client, I understood there was going to be a learning curve. Having that knowledge provided me with confidence that we would be fine. Pilates exercises and principles provided the best foundation. Lupita continues to blow me away with the physical and mental reconnections which support her recovery. She is one of the many that will be forever changed from inviting Pilates into her life.
I now feel so fortunate to be able to spread the word and to share my story. The positive feedback in this early stage is reinforcement to transition and specialize in working with spinal cord injuries and neurological conditions. This will take some time, but I look forward to it.
As I continue to work with SCI clients, I feel that my soul is changing. I have a purpose to get up and push through long teaching days and I am exactly where I need to be. I am constantly wanting to learn, grow and push the boundaries of how we look at therapy for spinal cord injuries as well as how we look at teaching Pilates.