Life, Death, and Pilates

Originally posted May 11, 2010

This week my favorite uncle passed away. I haven’t had too much experience with death in my life and it hit me hard. He was relatively young, only 60, and lived in abroad in Japan. It was unexpected. He had heart problems and wasn’t very healthy, but no one expected him to be gone so suddenly. Dick was an avid traveler. He circled the globe in his younger years and ended up settling in Tokyo after meeting his partner Toshi.  He lived there with him for 30 years, which was most of my life. Because we were literally worlds away I rarely saw him, but we always kept in touch. He would send me occasional emails or messages on Facebook and crack me up with his dry, witty sense of humor. He never missed a birthday or holiday and sent me beautiful thoughtful gifts often with a witty remark about how my boobs have grown by now. Today, I happened upon his profile on Facebook. I was surprised at all of the different friends he had, all nationalities, all over the globe. Suddenly I had a brief respite from feeling numb about his passing and happily realized he lived a very full life. He wasn’t afraid to meet new people, to experience new things, to love. Love is not for cowards, and he was the bravest person I knew.

My uncle Dick

My uncle Dick

This month I had originally planned to write about how as New Yorkers, we’re forced to interact with the entire city, everyday, all the time. This is something I admittedly have a love/hate relationship with- living in a big city. There are the days when I have to share a subway car with a guy who smells like he hasn’t bathed in days or changed his clothes in months. There are also days, when I feel more alive and inspired by the people around me. The young, old, Jewish, Christian, all ethnicities, all together in an 13 mile island. Like me, Dick loved this. He understood the importance of experiencing all that life has to offer in those around you. He loved meeting, speaking, interacting with as many souls as he could. He loved learning different cultures, connecting with the unexpected, being challenged by change.

In my life, I have always felt stifled by comfortableness. I grew up in the epitome of suburbia and had the burning urge to get out at 17 and I up and moved to Hawaii. Although I don’t recommend that to other high school students, I still believe that ease and safety can initially be cozy and warm but eventually leave you sedated and stagnant instead. I often say that my Pilates practice mimics my life outside the studio. Solo workouts, although necessary for growth are not always the most challenging. Working with others, I can learn so much. I am inspired by those stronger and more advanced. I am reminded of how far I’ve come working with those who are not. My knowledge of the method is expanded by different instructors and taking new corrections. This month I encourage you to step out of your comfort zone. Try a mat class, take duets or semi-private sessions if you’re not already, experience a new studio or a new teacher. Whatever you do, remember to be in the moment and fully experience it.  Life is short, live it. Embrace change. Love with abandon.

Special thanks to Katie for your inspiration to write the truth.  Uncle Dick, wherever you are, send me a 34B push-up so I know you’re watching over me. I love you both!

Lucky for me I own an awesome Pilates studio that keeps things constantly new and exciting. Need help spicing up your practice? Come and give us a try with our New Client Special, 3 Private sessions for $250. We promise your practice will never be the same!

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