Monday, December 7, 2015


“There's a trick to the Graceful Exit.
It begins with the vision to recognize when a job, a life stage,
a relationship is over - and to let go.
It means leaving what's over without denying its value.”
- Ellen Goodman
 (American journalist)

“You’ve gotta know when it’s time to turn the page.”
Tori Amos
(Music artist)

Change and I have never had an easy relationship. I am a regimented person, any variance from my routine can throw me off kilter, and I do not make spontaneous decisions well.  When I see a big change coming, I’ve been known to run the other way. But change usually finds me, sometimes sweet-talking me out of hiding, sometimes dragging me out, reluctantly!  Intellectually, I know that change can be good, that change is inevitable, that progress does not exist without the transformational power of change, but letting go can be emotionally draining, no matter how spiritually uplifting or life changing it ends up being. And I also know that change can have an ugly side, blindsiding us with hard life circumstances. Maybe that’s the side of change that keeps us humble, letting us know that ultimately we are not in control of the Universe. Change can be our best friend too; when we feel comfortable with a new transition; when we intuitively make the right decision; when it’s time to turn the page. I don’t know about you, but I always feel physically lighter when that happens. Recently, saying good-bye to a place I had been teaching at for twenty-five years was not only a big change, but an emotional one too.

Body Grace was born and raised at Vienna Presbyterian Church, and for that opportunity I will always be grateful. But just like the letting go that happens between a parent and a child, it was time to make a “graceful exit,” moving the final class out of the church, and into the studio. In 1990, I appeared before the church’s Board of Trustees to get approval to start a weekly fitness class. There were some board members and congregants who disapproved. They felt that a fitness class had no business existing in a place of worship. My presentation, based on passages from 1 Corinthians, was that our bodies are temples, that we are connected physically, mentally and spiritually, and what affects one, can affect them all. I’m sure that sounded a little “New Age-y” in 1990, but how exciting it is twenty-five years later to see the scientific evidence backing this up! Permission for a trial session was granted, and that one class eventually led to the birth of Body Grace. I will forever love and appreciate all the people who supported me throughout the years, and who spoke up for me when I needed it the most.

Change can be hard to embrace, particularly when it uproots us with unexpected life experiences: When it messes with our routines; with our health; with our faith; with our emotions.  But change can also help us undergo positive transformations, like a spiritual makeover, enlightening us with a new perspective. Change can help intensify our connection physically, mentally and spiritually, and Body Grace is a manifestation of that belief; a belief that I have not strayed from in twenty-five years. To me Body Grace is a sacred place, within the larger community, where all are welcome to take care of their body, mind and spirit; a place to help deepen our relationships with others, and with our self. 

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