Special #1999

Relax and Let Go

5 min - Special


What happens when the Pilates instructor needs to become the patient? In this inspiring JOE Talk, Debora Kolwey shares the emotional roller coaster she experienced when she was diagnosed with cancer, and when she went through her treatment and recovery. She tells how the fear would start to take over, but then her experience with Eve Gentry reminded her to relax and let go of everything. This allowed her to feel what was happening so she could trust herself again.

This was filmed at the 2014 Pilates Method Alliance Conference in San Diego, California.
What You'll Need: No props needed

About This Video

(Pace N/A)
Jan 05, 2015
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Three years ago, actually this very week on a Wednesday afternoon, I was at work and I got a phone call from my doctor and he said, where are you? And I said, I'm at work of course. And he said, no, I mean, where in the studio are you? And I said, I'm at the front desk. He said, I think you need to go to another phone and take this call in private. So I did. And he started talking and I couldn't hear anything except this rock, a rower in my head. And then a few words filtered through something, something, something carcinoma. And I thought, Holy Shit, I have aids.

And then I thought, no, no, this guy is telling me I have cancer. Why are you calling me at work? And he went on about, well, I need to let you know right away and you need to get on it and I want you to write down these phone numbers of surgeons to call by now I can't hear anything. My skin is contracting and I am not breathing. I said, can't you just call my house and talk to my husband? He said, no, you need to go home and tell him yourself, but I have to teach, which I did for two more hours, jump ahead. About a month, I'm now home from the hospital having had a double mastectomy and stage one of breast reconstructive surgery and they send you home with some sheets of paper from the PT with exercises on them. And I'm really, really tired and I don't want to do anything except sit and I can't really move my arms, but I'm kind of obsessive. So I look at the sheets of paper every day, you know, with the protocol because I'm afraid if I get behind schedule, I'll never get my range of motion back.

Some of the exercises asked you to use a little wooden pole, some lying there on the floor with my sheets of exercises and my little wooden pole and I'm just weeping because I can't do these exercises. I can't move my arms. I'm scared. Suddenly there's Eve, each entry, she's straddling me, hovering over me, holding the pole for me. And I remember what she taught me to breathe and how to relax and let go as she held the pole and guided the movements for me smaller and smaller and softer and softer until sometimes it wasn't even really movement so much as just feeling and imagining how I wanted it to be. So I worked like that every day. I'd watched my fear rise up. I push it away and it would rise up and grabbed me again and I heard her voice allow allow and I thought, okay, just def and feel it, feel it all, feel everything, feel it's really happening.

Laying there on the floor, holding that pole. I just willed myself to let it all go. The need to be good. The need to be right, the need to understand or to be ashamed when I don't understand the need to be the teacher, the one with all the energy, the one who's always there for you to be better, to get better. All these time, all these years I'd been teaching a lot of teaching what Eve taught me and in my mind it was more something like, this is so cool, this is so great. I know all these concepts and I know all these exercises that I can teach anybody no matter who comes in the door and no matter what their condition, even those people who can barely move so obvious, right? I was people, I had just been holding the wrong end of the pole and I came to realize that my strength and my value came not from working so damn hard to cover up my failings and hide my inadequacies, but in going deep and learning to trust myself enough to let go of the myth of my persona. And this really for me is the only way to continue teaching.

We really do have the choice every moment, which end of the poll we're going to pick up life and reality as we know it is always falling apart and it doesn't really make that much sense to be with each other and look for what's missing and then go after it and try and fix it and change it, which is reach out to one another. It really is all about love. Thank you. [inaudible].

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2 people like this.
great i love you
Praveena C
2 people like this.
Such a beautiful message. Thank you!!
2 people like this.
Deb, your message has hit me so profoundly. You beautiful soul, you. Thank you for continuing to be my teacher. Much love to you.
Andy M
1 person likes this.
Just fabulous. Thank you for sharing, Debora.
WOW powerful message Debora, LOVE is such a wonderful space to come from. I'm looking forward to walking the talk as I surrender and let go.....x
I just love you Debora!!
Myriam Kane
Beautiful...thank you for sharing.
Beautiful, true words. Thank you so much Debora.
1 person likes this.
2 people like this.
This is just what I needed to hear.
Thank you with all my heart.
Thank you. Incredibly timely.
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