going down to go up

The last 10 months have been a roller coaster ride of closing my studio, taking on a “real” job with an hour commute, insomnia, and a few minor surgeries to top it off. Throughout it all I am proud to say Pilates has kept me going- my lifeblood.

I owe it all to my teacher Marcia Dixon, a completely off-the-grid Romana trained instructor/artist who is all about getting down to the nitty gritty of The Work. She teaches out of her home in Mission Hills which she built w/ her own two hands. Yeah, she’s cool. She was drawn to the work to help sustain her stamina for her real passion in life- creating art. Being in her space sets the tone for a unique lesson. She is the kind of teacher that is honest with you and keeps telling you “NO, that’s not it.” When other teacher’s might say, “Sure, let’s move on.” She has the kind of keen eye that notes where you have a lull, or rush through, or sometimes where you are missing the point of the exercise all together- she gives it to you straight and can break it down like no one else I’ve ever met. She is a fantastic teacher, I adore her.

Marcia and I have been working out together since I moved to San Diego in June of last year. In Feb, mid rollercoaster, after we’d been work out buddies for a while, I said “Look, I have zero motivation, I can’t keep up with you, and I am so stressed out and tired. Can you please teach me?” I was extremely sleep deprived, going multiple days w/o a wink of sleep had become the norm, I had just had two minor surgeries that prohibited me from using my stomach and arms, and my hour long commute wrecked havoc on my body. I was a sloppy, yet, tight mess and my mind was even worse off. Her reply, “This is going to be great! You’ll be better off without your stomach or arms, they could use a break.” Marcia proceeded to COMPLETELY change my practice. She could tell I was at a point where I needed more from the work- it needed to bring me back to life. How apropos is J.P’s book title right now: Return to Life is right!! No more doing Footwork with my thighs and ankles, no more shouldering the 100, no more flinging my legs up and over me and hoping for the best in Overhead. I knew my practice wasn’t perfect and Marcia knew it could be completely different.

The journey has been real. For about 3 months I was not able to do the full repertoire like usual due to the surgeries. So, I felt like I wasn’t working at all. But, to my surprise, my body changed. A lot. My overly-tired, stressed out, and recovering body had to let go of it’s usual ways and now I feel the work on a whole new level. I can’t wait to share more- the nitty gritty. Thank you Marcia Dixon! Marcia is so not a blog reader or social media person so she will not likely read this but it feels really good to give her a shout out anyway.

I’ve quit that horrible “real” job with the commute, I’m back to sleeping (HALLELUJAH), and all clear from the surgeries. So, just like on the apparatus, sometimes we need to go down in order to go up.