From a speech I was so proud to give at a fundraiser for the YMCA. As we go into a very heated political weekend, I just want folks to remember, how much more there is to live and give xo.
I had a teacher when I was in 5th grade that told us, “Whatever you decide to do with your life, don’t neglect to share your gifts. Be sure to use your own very special and unique God-given skills to create the best you possible and to use that strong and smart self to help others. The only real sin in life is to ignore or neglect these skills and to keep them from helping others.” When you are 11 years old and you hear these words, it is really difficult to translate this meaning into a pre-teen life mostly spent caring about how your hair looks, who is friends with whom, which of your friends are boyfriend and girlfriend and what brand of jeans you are wearing. But, her words clearly spoke to me then and always stuck with me- even now, 32 years later.
I am very very lucky. Where many folks wander a bit and try on different jobs, fields of study, other things, I am very clear. I know EXACTLY why I am here and what my job on this earth is. Of course, it also took me a couple years to begin my path along this calling post college and eighteen years to fully realize the magnitude to which I could help folks live better- by a lot, not just physically, but within every other aspect of their lives as well. I train professional athletes and I train folks that are quadriplegic. And, I also train folks with every ability in between. And, I am very blessed to know exactly how to maximize the extent that each person can move efficiently, with minimal pain and maximal movement with the most precise and perfect movement pattern possible. I am also very lucky to have had the opportunity to share this gift with many folks- I have a very successful training business in Boston, but my most important work is done on a volunteer basis and mostly on living room floors or basement floors, couches, in apartment gyms.
I am very lucky to have trained a couple of folks in this room. And, even more so, have gone beyond just a pure trainer and motivator relationship with these amazing students- we are now friends- very good friends. When Jessica and I first started texting to meet, Jaz was still very early post injury. We worked out on their living room floor- doing very important, challenging exercises that would translate into making Jaz a better mover and we did so every week. And Jess paid attention- to the point where she was very interested in what we were doing and how we were training- so that she could help her son move better in every workout he was doing- whether it was at the YMCA or at their home or on the basketball court. I sincerely believe that, once Jaz is back at 100%, Jess will love moving into a world where she can help other folks move better- I am very much looking forward to helping her and mentoring her into this important and natural role for her.
In working with Celeste, I found another sister, another family and one of my very best friends. When I heard the news that Celeste’s legs had been amputated, the very first thing I thought of was, I can help her- I can help a lot of these folks. My mom was a juvenile diabetic who lived for 10 years as a single and then a double amputee. I knew exactly the type of movement training these folks would need. I have been very lucky to have shared my gift of movement training with several of the folks injured in the bombings, I’ve even trained 2 of their family members to teach Pilates. And, in doing so, have received rewards for this service that I have a difficult time putting into words. When I see Celeste in Jaz standing so confidently in their legs, I sometimes get a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes- I helped them learn how to do this. I am helping them not only move better, but to move beyond their injuries and back into their lives.
So, I would encourage you to really listen to what you love to do. Where can you help to serve others- great penmanship- help with thank you notes, good driver, help get somebody unable to drive to a doctors appointments. I love to workout, I have made a career out of teaching people how to move better so that they can safely participate in whatever activity they love. In sharing this gift of service post injury and recovery, I have helped to make a difference in the lives of many people. I would encourage you to look within your life, to discover your own special gifts in order that you are able to do the same!