Purpose and Legacy
Our lives are busy. Filled with family, friends, work, hobbies and sleeping. It’s not easy taking time out for more. Still, sometimes we must and when we do, we are sometimes rewarded beyond our expectations.
I hope this post inspires you in some way either personally, professionally or both. While I will write a post that is about exercises and tips another day this week, sometimes we need tips and reminders not about technique, but about living and why we teach Pilates. If we remember why we started doing and teaching Pilates in the first place, take stock of how we’ve grown, then we can continue with passion and grace for a long time to come.
Can you tell I went to Kathy Stanford Grant’s memorial last night? Yes.
The Alvin Ailey Theater was filled with Kathy’s family. Those she is/was genetically connected to, those who she claimed as her “kids” and those who admired her, learned from her and are still learning…like me.
Last night, I learned more of what I had suspected about Kathy. She was more than a stunning dancer, creative administrator, intuitive and intellectual teacher of dance and Pilates. Kathy was a woman. She lived life. Lived it. No holds barred, I see, she figured out what she wanted to say and said it. She grew beyond ego and shared her heart. Sometimes the package was soft and sometimes it was hard. Last night, those who shared their memories of her showed us all that she would stop at nothing to teach what she believed, help others and live life the way she desired.
If we’re lucky, we all go through many phases in life. We are shy, then bold, then full of ego, then humbled and more. These are often the phases of our teaching in Pilates. They are natural and necessary. Especially the “humbled and more”. Once we understand our truest gifts and their power to do good for others, ego goes by the wayside and must. It’s important to have experienced boldness and know the value of what you have to give and then find yourself humbled by your purpose which is to share and help. That is what a teacher does in and out of the studio.
Kathy seemed to delight in giving all that she had to everyone who wanted it. Can we do the same? I think so.
I came to Pilates hoping to help others in the way that it helped me. This method and my teachers helped me regain both physical and emotional strength after I was paralyzed and then scared to move again. I was sorely disappointed when I learned how much in-fighting there is behind the scenes and how much of the business is about training very wealthy people who don’t find value in their time, dollar or lives. Of course, there are many who appreciate every moment of their sessions, apply it to their lives in every aspect both physically and emotionally, but you all know what I’m talking about. I have been blessed with a remarkable clientele of hardworking, passionate people, but I have also seen my share of those who do not appreciate their privileged position. I want to stay excited about doing and teaching Pilates even when a client or life has the potential to take me down.
So, I look at what Kathy has done with her life and career. Beyond her dance work where she performed, of course, but then built dance companies that gave life to art and gave livelihoods to many, many people. In Pilates, she continued to save the dancer, among other non-dancing clients. From my perspective, she seemed to have a mission: Save the dancer…Keep her/him dancing throughout life in one way or another. She did it! She did what she set out to do. She had a purpose and now has a legacy. She had her niche. From her niche she reached out to all people…she would have been successful with anyone, but it is from her primary passion that she developed something tremendous for all.
Would you take a moment to recall what passion got you into Pilates in the first place? Why did you decide to start teaching? Why are you teaching still? Have you fallen into the common mundanity of it or do you find ways to reignite that fire of why you started in the first place?
Our “Pilates Elders” are just human beings. Kathy Stanford Grant was just a woman. She truly lived a life.
Please take a moment to comment, ask a question about this or anything in Pilates, say hi, etc.!
If you’re around, I’m presenting workshops in Burlington, VT on Oct. 16, New York City on Nov. 13 and Barcelona, SPAIN Nov. 5-7. E-mail me if you want information! info@TheVerticalWorkshop.com
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