Wisdom to Re-Inspire

As I reflect on the closing year, I join endless hearts in a universal circle of love and gratitude for the many blessings we experienced—both joys and trials—in 2011.

Without a doubt, the memory that will stand out most in my mind will be the passing of my mentor and dear friend, Pilates master teacher Ron Fletcher.

The impact of his life will forever be deeply felt and celebrated within the Pilates community, at Studio A, and in my personal life.

The moment I learned of Ron’s passing, I felt a stillness within me. How could one of the most moving moments I experienced this year leave me utterly still? Perhaps this was the “pause” ~ the “photographic moment” ~ Ron so often referenced. A whisper grew from the stillness as I remembered Ron reciting one of his favorite poems, The Serenity Prayer, which he often shared during workshops.

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can and wisdom to know the difference.”  ~ Reinhold Niebuhr

Since that moment, I have found myself reciting this prayer several times throughout the day. The words that follow in the prayer reveal some of Ron’s greatest teachings. This is so clear to me now that I wonder if Ron was aware how seamlessly he carried out this message in his life. Certainly, his life became a quest to inspire us to live by these teachings.

“Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.

If I could describe Ron and his life in one word, I would choose wisdom. The countless conversations we shared in person and by phone consisted of his recollections of his life experiences, and his views about movement. Eloquently, he weaved pearls of wisdom into each story. Without fail, every conversation came full circle to the subject of wisdom and to all that this one word encompasses. As I remember his life now, I see that he was teaching us, urging us, to open our hearts that we may grow toward wisdom.

“So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12)

Living one day at a time; Enjoying one moment at a time…

Ron taught us that wisdom is a life-long journey to be lived one day at a time. From our beginnings, our ABC’s, to our grand ascension, wisdom—like life and like the study of movement—is a process that requires time, attention and intention. He often quoted Martha Graham, “All that matters is this one moment in movement. Do not let it slip away unnoticed and unused.”

Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace…

Ron taught us that wisdom is born out of practice, patience and humbleness. When he taught workshops, he would wake up saying to himself, “Today’s the day they are going to find out I don’t know nothin’.”

Ron taught us that the humility characteristic of wisdom provides us with the resiliency to not simply cope with life’s challenges, but to celebrate each one, to “accept life’s hardships as the pathway to peace.” The humble have the courage to take risks, to live out of their comfort zone, for they know that, “My dear, we don’t teach comfort here.”  ~ Ron Fletcher

Trusting that He will make all things right…

Ron taught us that wisdom takes faith. “Take a leap and the net will appear,” he often reminded us.

That I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him Forever in the next…

Ron taught us that we move toward wisdom through an attitude of gratitude.

“Movement should be approached like life—with enthusiasm, joy and gratitude—
for movement is life, and life is movement
and we get out of it what we put into it.” ~ Ron Fletcher

If I surrender to His Will…

Perhaps the greatest lesson Ron taught us is to be found in his “leaving” us. Those who truly embody wisdom know that to move, to truly live and breathe and dance, we must learn to let go, to surrender.

No matter how at the ready we may or may not feel when one chapter closes, when someone leaves, we are certain to experience a moment of stillness—a pause—when we question our capability to persevere. But as we reach upward, we see, we hear, we feel with every one of our senses that God, Spirit, Life, the Universe never gives us more than we are able to handle. As Ron often said, “God didn’t bring you this far to drop you on your a–!” We can count on the Most High to nudge us to a place of greater consciousness where we grow into ourselves, celebrate who we were created to be and share with others what we know to be true.

Courage to change the things I can…

Ron taught us that wisdom is more than knowledge; it is knowing what to do with that knowledge. It is having the courage to ”Go and do,” as Clara Pilates asked of Ron—to step out, share, guide, inspire, teach, and plant seeds that will transform a life.

…and Wisdom to know the difference.

Ron taught us that wisdom calls us to know and live by the truth, to discern what is from what isn’t.

I will always remember the day I called him a few years before a formal teaching program existed for his work. I had mustered up every ounce of courage and conviction (because in all honesty I was quivering with fear but determined not to show it!) and called to ask if I could teach his Towelwork… and perhaps his Leg and Footwork series, oh, and some of the Barrework… to a few of my clients and students. His response was simple and those who studied with him heard him repeat several times, “Teach what you know. Don’t teach what you don’t know.”

When we are totally immersed in what we are doing, when we fully see and listen tapping into the very center of ourselves and truly connecting on a meaningful level with ourselves, with a piece of movement, with another soul – when mind, body, breath, and spirit are connected – it is then that we are living our full potential. There is balance, beauty, and the joy of movement.

Ron shared his teachings with a sense of urgency AND he inspired us to live and study and move and share our wisdom with a sense of urgency.

If Ron were here today, this is what I believe he would say …

Each of us has a responsibility to step forward. There is someone out there who needs to remember what it feels like to move, to breathe, to dance, and to live.

There is a dancer inside all of us waiting to get out…

There is someone waiting to become who they were created to be and more than they ever dreamed they could be. You have been blessed with gifts to guide them. Rise every morning to live out your purpose. Live your life wanting more for others than you want for yourself because each person is a reflection of you.

We are all teachers and we are all students to one another. We tell our stories so that others may live, breathe, move, dance and sing. It is in having the courage to let go, to go and do, that we will find our own voice. We close one chapter and create a new chapter with hope, faith, courage, patience, joy, gratitude, and above all with love.

My New Year’s reflections are filled with gratitude and joy for the gift of knowing Ron. He more than changed the course of my life; he set my life on its course. I am honored to be one of many hearts who share this feeling, who keep the circle of life alive and ever-growing by finding our own voice.

I am drawn to the Spanish word respirar, meaning “to breathe.” It calls to mind the power we have to be re-inspired and to re-inspire others. Just as Clara hoped for Ron, so Ron will live on hoping for us… that we may be continually re-inspired.

May you find the courage, strength and compassion to live your truth throughout the new year and give yourself the freedom to move and breathe ~ respirar.

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