My client list is starting to become younger and younger. After over a decade working to eliminate chronic pain patterns and observing my own children, I’ve come to realize that our mental thought patterns have a huge affect on our body. It starts young, from what I’ve seen, around seven or eight years old. How we feel about ourselves shows up in our posture. It also alters or redirects our life journey based on how much we push ourselves. We can bottle up our potential or we can break through that fear to reach and accomplish our dreams.
One day, an eight-year-old boy, we’ll call him Peter, walked into my studio and changed the way I saw and worked with people. Peter’s a big kid with a soft heart—emotions on his sleeve. I love the way he would come in and say, “Hi Ms. Gina!” We had an immediate spark and this was felt during each session. However, even though we worked well together he would eventually become immersed with his inner thoughts, dimming and nearly extinguishing our “simpatico” by the end of the session. We’d try to focus on a task but he always seemed to become fixated on something else.
Each time it led to this result. A deliberate request asking him to complete a task was then met with his refusal because it was “too hard” or he “couldn’t do it.” Time would tick away as he suddenly would become thirsty, hungry, or have to go to the bathroom.
Every single time.
I couldn’t let this continue, especially with his mother paying me, but I also wasn’t going to give up on him. I just had to think deeper as to what was going on here. And it finally dawned on me—it was just a fear pattern, particularly the fear of vulnerability.
One afternoon Peter walked in, and, as usual, we fell right into that power struggle. His shield was up projecting complaints, frustrations, and anger. I let him do his thing, like normal, because I knew I could eventually guide him elsewhere, but this particular day no amount of persuasion worked.
Peter typically resisted anything new and would quickly become bored after he completed an exercise. There were countless times when I wanted to throw my hands in the air because of my frustration in having to persuade his every move. It was draining, so I couldn’t even imagine what it was like for him.
He flopped on the floor and looked up at me.
My heart clenched as I said, “Buddy, you can do anything you want, be at the top of your class, the best athlete, anything, but YOU are getting in your own way. Stop it. Stop resisting and allow yourself to be great.”
“Can I draw a picture?” he asked.
“Sure,” I responded.
I gave him pencil and paper before I walked back to my office for a quick break. As I was taking a breather, I decided to turn on some music; what better way to change the energy of a room than a few soothing beats? When I came back into the main studio I was interested to see what he’d come up with this time. In the past it was buildings and monsters bigger than life blowing fire at his stick figure self. I always found this surprising since he was one of the tallest in his class.
Again, this time our session was different, and I felt like we had finally rounded a corner. He drew an empowered self -he was of equal size. He saw himself as having as much power and strength as everyone and everything else around him. I could feel it. And then he turned his head and looked at me with his sweet innocent blue eyes.
“Miss Gina, I’m sorry for the way I acted and I promise I will never do that again,” he said.
Goodness my heart melted as I explained to him how much his words meant to me. It was our first hug; he ran into my arms and we held tight.
I flipped on his favorite Taylor Swift song and stood on top of the Pilates Cadillac equipment and danced to “Shake It Off.” He became the music, embracing movements he’d never attempted before, and I could feel that this was the beginning of Peter trying new things and leaving his comfort zone behind.
I can only hope that this time and change I’ve experienced with him will cross over into many areas of his life. He deserves it.
I love my job.