Waxing physically and philosically...

After literally years of deliberation, and as a result of some delicate and some less delicate prodding, this blog is my effort to organize - to bring together - my thoughts about my work as a conductor and as a personal trainer, to rant and rave as necessary, to celebrate the little things and the larger moments of brilliance, and to share some conductive magic and life lessons gained through 'waxing physically and philosophically'.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Dodging raindrops and finding my feet...

I know I've gone quiet lately.  The past several months have been tumultuous -- I've effectively shut down a business and a chapter of my life, moved country and started a new challenging job, and I guess it is hard to find your voice when you are busy trying to find your feet.  And no, this is not the first time I've jumped from one life chapter to the next, but for many reasons it has been the hardest.  I realise now that part of why this transition has been so challenging is that I underestimated how tenacious the personal and conductive roots that connect me to Sydney have become.

It was heart wrenching closing down Transformations.  It is always hard to say goodbye, and even though I know that friends and clients who over the last decade have become mentors and friends will stay in touch as many from other chapter have done, the nature and consistency of relationships must change.  We always talk about how two way conductive relationships are, and it was very hard to step away from people who have supported me and everything I've done personally and professionally over the last decade.

To add insult to injury, I spent the better part of the last three months in Sydney desperately looking for appropriate people in the rehabilitation and fitness industry to hand my regular clients over to.  I brought carefully considered hand selected trusted colleagues and professionals I respected to meet my clients, hoping they would carry on my work, and many of them balked.  I found myself having those conversations, the ones where people tell you that they could never do what I do, with trusted friends and colleagues and I felt like they were rejecting a part of me when they said they didn't think they could take on one of my clients for an hour a week.  I was reminded of a challenging discussion that Andrew Sutton, back in my student days in Birmingham, lead us as first year students through about understanding that in a profession like the one we had chosen, we were choosing to have disability in our lives, but that we had to have compassion and awareness that it was not something our clients and their families actively chose.  I guess I forgot that the world that is so normal to me, filled with people I value and hold so dear, is such a strange and scary world to so many other people, and I took it really personally that even as a favour to me, let alone the gift of regular client into someone's business, respected professionals would not choose to be involved in my world.

In Conductive Education we have always heard about families who have travelled halfway around the world and disrupted their lives and families so that they would access Conductive Education for their child.  We also need to talk about the wildness of being a part of a profession where the only opportunities for employment in your field often necessitates disrupting your life and family and moving to another corner of the world.  I love, and am grateful for the opportunities and adventures that  a career in Conductive Education has afforded me - but this time I didn't just follow my whim and do what suited me in the moment.  I uprooted a wonderful husband, a person whose happiness and well-being I feel inherently responsible for, a person willing to leave a life that he loved to support me on a journey that I wanted to take, and have watched him struggle to settle in and find his feet and his happiness.  I romanticised the adventure we were going to have together, and actually assumed it would be easier to jump chapters with him instead of on my own and didn't prepare either of us for the roller-coaster ride and bumps along the way.

I also romanticised the job I was coming into, an established adult CE centre, working with two conductors I liked and respected, in a place that I have always wanted the opportunity to explore.  I didn't allow myself to think about things like the subtle but very relevant distinctions between Kiwi and Aussie culture, let alone the culture shock of jumping into established groups that have been running very well without me for years thank you very much, or about having clients who have had years of conductive experience that hasn't included me.  Some of the adults here have been around CE longer than I have - in my professional experience, every group I've run, every client I've had since my student days and other than during my hiatus in Norway, has been a person I've introduced to CE and a group that I have set up and run (with mentorship and guidance) my way.  I have had to learn, adjust, adapt - as have my new clients and colleagues and it has not been an easy ride.

I've also come into an organisation going through change - in fact I am part of that change and the associated discomfort, and worse yet I'm causing some of that discomfort.  I now understand that part of my roll is actually going to be conducting this organisation through change and I am going to have to work hard to learn how to do that.  In other jobs and in other organisations where there has been change, I've had to learn to roll with the punches and have had to learn to fight back where necessary.  I've learned that if change is a wave crashing over you it is hard, so you have to either learn to ride the wave or to choose to get out of the water, but now I'm part of the wave instead of the surfer and to be honest it is really hard to learn how to be a more gentle wave -- it has never been my style and it will have to be my style if I'm going to be any good at my job here.  And that, in itself, is overwhelming, and I hope I am mature and ready enough to change myself.

So three months in to this new chapter I'm still settling in.  But I notice myself composing blog posts in my head, on the train as I head home from work, on my notepad and emailed to myself as reminders of things I want to think about and write about.  I'm trying to keep my head up, to be excited instead of overwhelmed, to count gratitudes instead of raindrops, and to find my feet -- and hopefully my voice too.


  1. Brilliant Lisa, and so well timed as I prepare for Munich!
    Thank you so much.

  2. Welcome back, Lisa. Thanks for your news. Coincidentally I was thinking back only yesterday to a major uprooting in my life when, as a young teacher, I moved with a small child and my wife (who was 3 months pregnant) to the far north-east of Kenya, to help build an international school. The best of times and the worst of times, as the writer said. Best wishes to you both.