Finding the Shiny Bits in Your Pilates Business

May 17, 2020

As the world contemplates coming out of its slumber, I’m thinking about the shiny bits in my business.

When I was small, I loved to hunt for rocks. I’d scan the ground on my way to school looking for something that caught my eye – maybe a spot of color, or an interesting shape, a rock that had been smoothed by time and weather. But the ones I loved the most were the ugly ones with the shiny bits. 

The sedimentary rocks – thinking about it now, they were probably concrete, but I loved thinking about their potential. What would happen when they were polished? Would there be a gem? A shiny, smooth piece of quartz or fluorite hidden in the ordinary sandy surfaces?

I would walk home, pocket full of rocks to be tumbled and polished, waiting for the little gems – the shiny bits, to emerge.

The Spark

The rocks would go into the mixer with a bit of sand, and then I’d wait. The process took over a month – forever for a kid, and when I could finally open the tumbler to see my hard-earned results, I was never disappointed.  

Occasionally I would find the unexpected gem, a large shiny piece of quartz or a beautiful piece of granite, but more often than not, I would have to sift, again through the sand and the sediment for my little shiny bits. The chips of mineral left behind when the sediment fell away.

As we’re approaching the seventh week of sheltering-in-place and social distancing, I’ve been thinking about the shiny bits more and more. 

This time is not without its difficulties. My business has dropped off; I’m trying to figure out how to pay the bills, balance my work with my kid’s schooling at home, and praying that the internet doesn’t go down. Three of us are sharing a webcam because they’re not available for purchase, and everything takes six times as long as it did before.

And then there’s the toilet paper…

Our struggles are the same as many, not as difficult as others, and I’m grateful that we’re all healthy, that I am still working with a supportive community around me.

What I find myself focusing on are the shiny bits. 

This pause in the busyness of my life, filled with travel, and driving the kids to school, my push to do more, to be more, have fallen away like the sediment from my tiny gems – those treasured chips.

The extra time to prepare meals and sit down to family dinners.

Time to explore projects and pursuits – the nine-year sweater, the neglected sketchbook, and Seymour the sourdough starter – that were put aside in order to keep up the rapid pace of life.

A full 7+ hours of sleep which I haven’t had in over 20 years. 

Time to develop work projects that have been on the back burner for years.

Time to hang out with my kids, pay attention to my cats, and just be.

As the world contemplates coming out of its slumber, I’m thinking about my shiny bits. After they’re tumbled, and their beauty is revealed, however large or small, they can never go back, be hidden in the sediment. 

So today, I’m thinking about how do I go back, or more likely, how do I move forward and honor those gems I’ve uncovered. 

What about you? Have you discovered a few shiny bits in this pause? What do you imagine in your new normal?

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