It All Comes Around

May 09

Particularly since my stroke, I can think of countless instances where different areas in my life have beautifully intersected and circumstances have come full circle in a way that can only be called providential.  I call it “God winking” at me.  Here is one of those recent instances.


Prior to the Casa Colina “Tribute to Courage” event (Part 1 and 2 here), an advertisement for the event was placed in the LA Times.  Way across town from me, Risa Sheppard was reading her Sunday paper at home and saw this ad, and for some reason (like Dr. Gonzalez deciding to operate on me), she couldn’t get my story out of her head.


She is also a brain injury survivor, hers in the form of an acoustic neuroma brain tumor, which was removed several years ago.  As a long-time player in the health and wellness industry and a prolific instructor and developer in the field of pilates, she had seen first hand how practicing pilates had produced so much recovery in her own life after her debilitating brain injury.


She googled me and ended up watching the news story that CNN did on me in December of 2010.  I mention in that video that I had learned to use my core to walk again.  The light bulbs went off for her and the rest was history!


Almost simultaneously, I was feeling kind of sad about my future recovery prospects because of the insurance limitations put on therapy for the year. I have a love/hate relationship with my therapy for this reason.  Clearly, as the Casa Colina event evidenced, dedication to therapy has really paid off for me in my recovery; however, being involved in therapy for years now has honestly gotten kind of old.  When Risa contacted me, I was so thrilled to be able to experience a totally new kind of therapy in pilates.  Even more amazing, she has offered this life-changing experience to me as her gift!


I have done pilates some in the past, but working with Risa has been a totally different experience.  She has been teaching pilates for over 30 years and she even has her own pilates method–the Sheppard Method.  Needless to say, she knows what she’s doing.


Interesting side note, pilates was originally called “body contrology” as its purpose is to give greater control of the body through lengthening and strengthening the core.  Just what I need!  Even better, her studio is just past James’ preschool, in between our house and UCLA–so perfect.


Risa and I have become fast friends.  She is a total character (which I love) and is so full of energy and so loving and generous to me.  We spend tons of time chatting and laughing, then after I’m finished I’m so sore I can hardly walk!  What a phenomenal work-out.  Risa is dedicated to me for the long-haul and even recently has offered to train me twice a week so I can see more recovery even quicker.  Can you believe it?!  It still gives me chills to think about how this special relationship came about–ongoing, new therapy birthed from the old.  God has such a way that He works things out.


If you are in the Los Angeles area, come and check her out!  {website here}

If you’re not, check out her DVD here.  Who knows, maybe we’ll make a pilates/brain rehab DVD ourselves one day.

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