Laura, my favorite beautiful guinea pig, writes “your studio is aptly named. Ritual is the whole key to this stuff….”. The name actually started with the lingerie concept – it is certainly a ritual we all share in putting on our underwear one leg at a time, one arm at a time. From this came the notion that the daily ritual of that act should not be laborious nor should the underwear. What could be more beautiful, more sensual than a daily ritual in which one engages that is fulfilling and pleasing, sexy, and just one’s own.
When I took on the studio, that was my mantra: re-find the simple pleasure of doing what feels good. Not “happy activities for happy people” therapy. Simply, do what feels fundamentally good; do what feels right to the psyche, to the body, to the heart. I was at a place in life where I needed to feel ME – for me, by me, with me, of me, because of me – but it did not come immediately. I had to stop the noise of obligation and guilt and “shoulda, coulda, woulda’s” that have governed my life for two decades. Work has always dominated my life so my work experience shaped my personal life; my personal relationships; my self-esteem. By all account, everything was grand and in great shape except that I had – over time – arrived a great distance away from what I most wanted. I was great at my profession but I always thought “it’s a miracle I don’t get fired” because I had increasingly taken on challenges that required me to swim upstream within organizations. I felt like the friction was ‘real’, ‘raw’. In hindsight, and while I may have in fact influenced people and organizations, I think I expended a lot of energy that I could have better used shaping a business and working amongst people of similarly inspired energy. Inspired energy that generates great results is far more rewarding than lugging contrarian theories forward. This is part of my character though. My college advisor called me his “fifth column” referring to military strategy of surprising one’s opponent by arriving with the unexpected. I would fight the battle no one else would. I was determined to change things from “within” the organism. The path of most resistance was what was most real to me.
Anyway, I was good at doing what I should do; at doing what was required of me. I owe a big thank you to Verena who met me emotionally and intellectually head on. She did not know much about me and she accepted me at face value. Apparently I showed pretty easily what I am made of – even if I could not see it myself. She gave me lots of love, space and tons of exercize and physical aches – through which I had time to collect my thoughts and re-sort my values and my wants. Not many people will take me on head-on. Verena is a powerhouse of spirit, drive, curiosity and profound love. My Gyrotonic sessions with her became a daily ritual; my self-practice on the Pilates Reformers became a daily ritual; inviting her and her other half for dinner almost nightly became a daily ritual (the cooking became my husband’s daily ritual!); taking my daughter to school, riding her on the back of our bicycle became my daily ritual; writing to, speaking with, reaching out to people long in my life but short in my attention span became a daily ritual. Then, little by little dreams became a part of my daily ritual. My former boss, the former CEO of William Sonoma, reflected on me that I had no hope. While we were speaking of politics at the time – just prior to the first electoral campaign of Barak Obama – it actually was an over-arching truth. When I traded in my dreams for what others’ thought I lost hope. A funny thing to look back over 25 years and realize this but it was so. Howard’s words were spoken casually to me during a political debate over dinner at Ma Salle à Manger in Paris while the rest played darts and cuddled up in the blankets provided for those brave enough to eat outside on that particular evening. They did not sit casually on my mind. In fact those words stayed in the forefront of my mind so disturbingly that I believe it became an unconscious quest to tackle that dilemma. It was 3 years later that Howard died; with it he took any interest I had ever had in working in housewares; with it I created the context for Change-Through-Disruption. My daily ritual for many years had been to ‘show up’ for what others’ needed of me; what others’ expected; what were others’ dreams. All to realize it was I who gave it up….Done.
For me now life is about finding that delicate balance of what is required but first what is desired; what is necessary but what first feels essential for me – and making it all a lovely daily ritual…my daily rituel…
I smile when I find what feels right. I can’t help it.