It's a Big Sky
It’s almost launch time! Over the past year and through today, I have been immersed in an enormous undertaking: To create and release my first series of online instructional videos, soon to be available through my website. You will be able to access a mobile, equipment-free program that is designed to benefit everyone regardless of fitness level, stage in life, or access to a private instructor or fancy gym.
Those of you familiar with my work know my philosophy is that everyone has the opportunity to live a better life. I am eager to release this video series because it gives me the opportunity to reach and help guide more people toward living their own better lives. The videos will allow you to join me in my uniquely designed exercises (and some traditional ones) whether you participate in the comfort of your own home where you can move freely and create your own sacred space (something I personally love), or while away on travel.
As I worked my way through the video series project, the endeavor became massive, complex, and a bit overwhelming. I understood that the process would be a rigorous one, analogous to producing a feature film – a job with which I have had a good deal of direct experience. But none of that mattered since it was – and still is – extremely important to me. Besides, nothing in life worth having comes easy.
The tasks before me were to conceive and write the script, format my classes, select a cinematographer and director, scout locations for filming, hire personnel, crew, and supporting cast, and handle a myriad of details in preparation for the shoot. For the actual shoot, I spent two full days of vigorous and exhaustive instruction and execution of moves and exercises, then edited and overdubbed sound. Now, I am engaged with my team in designing an effective marketing, promotion, and distribution strategy.
One of the reasons I willingly took this project on is because for years I have been asked questions by professional athletes, dancers, actors, stay-at-home moms, and many others, about how to look and feel better. Questions included, "How can I have more physical and mental energy throughout the day?" "How do I strengthen my core?" “How can I alleviate my lower back pain?” or simply “How do I feel better?” I decided a video series would allow me to address these questions and more, helping people find solutions and results. This platform enables me to show that you can face and overcome the obstacles which may be keeping you from optimal wellness.
There are even bigger reasons I had to embark on this journey. Recently, a client worked out to a pre-release of my instructional video. After her workout she told me, "You were born to do this.” Getting validated, of course, is always gratifying. And I certainly felt gratitude and appreciation to be reminded that I am ‘in my element,’ doing what I’m meant to do. But each day, as I continue to work hard at what I love, I remember that I must also let my light shine, that I am allowed to let my light shine, that my work is important - and that it has worth and value. As I continue to grow and affirm my strength, my work becomes recognized and respected. This in turn gives me even more confidence and conviction.
Hard work is worth it.
Sometimes in my writings you may read about personal experiences, struggles in which I have engaged, or lessons l have learned. Always, my hope is to provide a reflection through which you can see yourself. I genuinely see teaching as being in a forward-moving journey together with each student. And while specifics may vary from person to person, we share humanity - my struggles are your struggles and yours are mine. Together, we each push through to higher versions of ourselves. The task is to embrace vulnerability, bravely face and accept who we are, and believe in who we are meant to be. As a teacher and writer, I provide specific advice and steps, but I also seek to serve as a mirror through which you might see yourself. I hope my experience resonates with you, to inspire you to truly live your life’s mission and purpose, be courageous, vulnerable, and willing to do the hard work.
In his book Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah, American writer Richard Bach said, "We teach best what we most need to learn." You likely understand that often the advice we give to others is the same advice we need ourselves. While we might not always recognize this in the exact moment, we all struggle with some of the very same things. Life is challenging, but we must work to practice self-awareness and honesty.
Health and joy.
A recent interviewer asked me what I would consider to be the greatest benefit of a healthy lifestyle. I’d like to repeat my response, which reflects how I teach wellness:
“The ability to experience more joy. With the freedom of movement, a body that feels better, you're happier. When your breathing is better, you're happier. When you're thinking more positively and mindfully, you're happier. When your relationships are better, you're happier. When you're following your joy and doing the things that make you feel good, the entire picture improves. When I talk about optimal wellness, here’s what I’m saying: with better health comes more joy – in body, mind, and spirit.”
When I read this interview question and response in print, I realized that the benefits I listed may not be quantifiable and measurable in any standard way. A basic tenet of my philosophy is that with better health comes more joy – in body, mind, and spirit. You know it – you feel it.
With the freedom of movement and a body that feels better, we're happier. When we're following our joy and doing things that make us feel good, our entire world improves. If in this process you happen to look better in a bikini, reach a certain number on a scale, or improve your waistline or biceps measurement in inches, good for you.
My work has always been about inspiring others to live better, happier lives in body, mind, and spirit. I can only do that by embodying and reflecting the principles I teach. My video project was an immense challenge. I feel strengthened and illuminated by it and inspired to forge ahead. Of course, there are still challenges, difficult times, bad days, and setbacks. The consistent piece that keeps me moving toward the goal is hard work. There is victory in taking even one small step a day, even - and maybe especially - on a ‘bad day.’ I am on a journey to let my light shine, and I invite you to let yours shine as well. Because you too are worthy. And there's room enough for all of us to shine. It's a big sky!