Hey!  She took my ball!

By Jenna Zaffino

September 6, 2017

It’s a moment of innocence.  You’re scrolling through posts, liking pictures of your friends, checking out the latest Pilates happenings, and catching up on the news of the world through your online community.  Then everything screeches to a violent halt.  Someone has taken possession of the thing you most desire.  Maybe it’s the body type that you dream of, an article in the publication you’ve been working so hard to be recognized by, the variation of an exercise that you believe was an original from your personal brain space, or a similar product to the one you’ve been working on tirelessly behind closed doors.  It stings like a poison dart, hitting you in the center of your chest.  Then, like a wave of hot, prickly electricity, it covers your body.  You begin to question “How did HE/SHE get that?” or “What am I doing wrong?”, or worse, “I’ll never be able to do what he/she does.”

I am fortunate enough to work with many Pilates professionals, helping them step into their purpose and create the confidence to put their great work forward. Often, they have a good idea of where they want to go, but many share a belief that if someone else is doing it, then that “creative real estate” is officially off the market. It’s my job to facilitate a new way of seeing the situation that they believe is holding them back.  When they begin their work with me, they are much like a child learning a new skill. They feel uncertain and self-conscious and it’s typically right around this time that one of those “poison dart” scenarios happens.

As adults, we can handle these scenarios in more “mature” ways that often manifest in internal turmoil and self-doubt.  As a mom to a three-year-old, I can’t help but notice the similarity between the adult’s internal conflict and the conflicts that my son encounters during playdates.  It begins innocently enough.  There is excitement surrounding the connection between him and his playdate.  The dynamic is easy and they thrive on the interaction with each other.  Then, in an unexpected shift, the playmate picks up something that holds value to my son – something that he has identified with and sees as an extension of himself.  For him, the item is usually a truck or a ball.  For an adult, it can be their belief system, their professional work or their body image.  In both scenarios, when these things are threatened, and the “ball” is snatched out of their hands, chaotic thoughts and behaviors ensue.

The issue is that when we succumb to the belief that our identity is being threatened, we contract into scarcity as if that “ball” was the only one that will ever be available.  Much like a child, we believe that we have been attacked and slip into a defensive mentality.

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jenna_059Jenna is an expert Pilates teacher with over 15 years of experience in movement education.  Drawing from her background of professional dance, comprehensive Pilates trainings, movement studies and professional speaking, Jenna offers an experience that celebrates each individual while challenging them to expand the perceptions of what’s possible in the studio and beyond.  Jenna has served as Senior Faculty for Fletcher Pilates® International, presents Arcus Education for McEntire Pilates® and also hosts a series of her own online teacher development courses.  Her latest project is Pilates Unfiltered!, the industry’s newest, community-building podcast.  Find out more about Jenna’s adventures in Pilates at