My brother and I, before I worried about getting to the top.

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Become
- Verb (used without object) To come, change or grow to be. To come into being
- Verb (Used with object) To be attractive on. To befit in appearance. To look well on.
Random House Dictionary

My friend Tom called the other day to talk about the Patti Smith interview he heard on NPR. Smith was talking about her new book “Just Kids.” A particular line gripped him.

"It took a while to become who we evolved into," she said.

Indeed.

Today I am a bodysherpa. My email says so. My website too. But actually, I’ve known it for a while. And Smith is right. It took a while to become that…all of my life up until now, in fact.

In the Himalays, sherpas are renown local guides for mountain climbers. They help travelers make their way to the summit — aiding them in carrying their loads, in acclimating to the environment, in making wise decisions….all based on experience. They become sherpas simply by living in and knowing the terrain.

And so it is for me as a bodysherpa.

To learn the terrain I had to:

Diet. Binge. And diet again.
Own four different sizes of clothing.

Fail high-school gym class.
Fall down skiing — every single time.
Climb Tunnel Road on my bicycle with tear-stained cheeks — fearing I’d never reach the top and would remain forever stuck, overlooking the freeway.

Feel pain. In my knees. In my back. In my neck. In my shoulders. In my feet. In my heart.

Give my first massage with shaking hands.
Create workshops no one attended.

Only then could I:

Learn to maintain a healthy weight.

Fall in love with my body. How it moves. What it can do.
Make it to the top of Tunnel Road. Ride a bike century. Complete a sprint tri-athalon. Decide I never have to run again. And that I may be better suited to snow-shoeing than skiing.

Ask for, and receive, help to heal my physical and emotional pain.

Learn to listen to bodies with my fingers, my palms, my elbows, my forearms.

Lead workshops that change lives.

All of this makes me uniquely qualified to work with people seeking health, ease, grace and acceptance in and for their bodies. And yet, I still find myself terrified. Somehow fearing I am ill-equipped or trained for such a duty. And yet, what else, could have prepared me for this? How else would I become a bodysherpa?

I do my “sherpa-ing” – carrying, supporting, guiding – in many ways. Massage and bodywork. Talking. Grocery shopping, cooking, and exercising. By making art and by teaching. In groups and one-on-one.

Some of it I’ve been doing for a long time. Some of it is brand new. But here’s the thing I’ve found about becoming…when I let myself become who I am waiting to be, it IS rather becoming. Don’t you think? As my client Jonathan would say, “Me….only more so.”

I invite you to visit my new website. To see what I’ve become. And to discover how I might help you to become who you are to evolve into.

Lesley

P.S. Please note the change of my email address - lesley@bodysherpa.net

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