|Vest: Ivy & Leo, Bodysuit: Forever 21, Pants: Page 6, Shoes: Can't remember (7 years old), Watch: Apple Store, Purse: Criv, Necklace: Chloe + Isabel|
When I was volunteering at a woman's leadership event a few years ago around the time of the Democratic National Convention I met a woman named Leslie Black Morton. She introduced herself to me and something VERY weird happened. It was truly like love at first sight. I was so curiously drawn to this woman. She is beautiful, energetic, soothing, loving, hilarious, authentic, and warm. We exchanged contact info and went to dinner. At dinner I found out that she has had a life that resembles a movie. More joy and tragedy than most of us would experience in 10 lifetimes. She is a master healer, life coach, and all around bad ass mama-jamma. As we were talking she was asking me what I want for my life. Where I've been and where I want to go. I didn't know how to answer her. I was not clear on what I wanted. I knew where I had been, but all that did was scare me into fearing that the bottom would drop out of my life if I verbalized my hopes for the future. She was not this blunt, but essentially she said... "how can you get to where you want to be, and become who you want to become, if you have never given any thought, time or energy to figuring out what that looks, feels, tastes and smells like"? << head explodes >> "Uh... yeah. I don't know. You're right." was my lame-ass answer. She tasked me with an exercise. She asked that I write down where I want to be in 5 years. Be specific. What do I want to smell, see, taste, experience? What do I want to do when I wake up in the morning? Who do I want to be with? What kind of house do I want to live in? Car to drive? What kind of work do I want to do? How am I of service to others?
I put the task off for a while, but about a week later I laid on top of my bed with a journal and I did it. I wrote a letter, to myself, describing what my day to day life looked like 5 years in the future. I had never dared to do that before. I did not know anything about The Law of Attraction. I was spending more time thinking about what I didn't want to happen to me versus what I did. That one simple exercise was SO powerful. It is not an overstatement to say that it truly changed my life. I felt like I had a plan. A picture. That I had put something out in the Universe and that since I had, there was this hope that the Universe was going to open up to me. Maybe you think this is a crock of horse shit, but if you don't think it's a crock of shit, try it. What can it hurt? It just may be the most powerful thing you've ever done for yourself. Leslie taught me to open up, to ask for what what I want. Not to be scared of the future, not to be defined by the past. That anyone, at any point, can decide how their story is written. For that, I will forever be grateful.
The second woman who has changed my life, is, without a doubt, Gayle Stefanelli. I walked into a Pilates class about 5 years ago and this pint-sized woman with abs of steel greeted me with a big smile. I felt completely out of place. I had NEVER done Pilates before. The class was small and the students made a circle around her with our mats. There was no hiding. I had no idea what I was doing for that hour. I listened to Gayle, fought with my body, trying to coax it into doing things it had never done before, and left (not completely convinced I would ever go back). Not because of the class. The class was awesome, and so was Gayle. But, because of me. I was a solid 40lbs heavier than everyone in that room. I felt completely out of tune with my body next to these woman who moved so gracefully and with such fluidity. I was embarrassed. Scared to be a beginner. Scared that I didn't "look the part". I did go back though. Quite regularly in fact. And one day, after months of practice, Gayle said to me... "Melissa, you should really think about teaching Pilates. I think you would be great at it. You naturally help people, you seem to love the practice, and you've gotten really strong". "Ummm... huh? Me? A Pilates teacher???" I smiled, looked at the floor, shook my head like "no way" and dismissed it. I didn't dismiss it though. I went home and I thought about it. A lot. For days, non-stop. I knew Gayle by then and I knew she did not bullshit. She did not shove sunshine up people's butts unless she meant it. I started looking into it and I've been teaching Pilates for years now. If it had not been for Gayle encouraging me, believing in me, and bringing the opportunity up to me I would never, ever have become a Pilates teacher. I would have listened to all of the voices in my head telling me that I would never succeed at something like that. I would have let my own bullshit story guide my life instead of trying something new. Gayle Stefanelli, a powerhouse Pilates and Yoga teacher from Boston, was one of the greatest, most unexpected blessings to my life.
I guess what I am trying to say is that sometimes people see things in us before we see them in ourselves. Sometimes the Universe, God, Divine Energy opens up doors for you that you never (consciously) asked to be opened. Sometimes these people, ideas, and opportunities scare the shit out of you and come in packages, from people, and at times that you would never have anticipated. Listen to those nudges. Believe those people. Allow empowered women to empower you. Maybe... just maybe... they are on to something.