A New Opportunity
Stephen’s son, Nathan, is a personal trainer devoted to helping his clients lead the most healthful and serene life possible. I keep telling him he should actually call himself a “Living Coach,” since he works with a person’s body, mind and spirit all at once. It’s been lovely through the years to watch Nathan evolve into the wise and thoughtful man he has become. And I look forward to our conversations. Unfortunately, he and his family live in Pasadena, so opportunities for extended conversation are infrequent.
Whenever we visit, we talk about his giving Stephen and me some training sessions, but between playing with three-year-old Miles, cooking meals together, catching up on each other’s life and going on excursions, we have trouble finding the time for any sustained coaching. I might ask him to check out the squats I’ve been doing for my Chi Gong practice, and Stephen might request that Nathan help him work out the soreness in his back. But those are isolated moments and in no way allow Nathan to demonstrate his gifts.
With the Pandemic, Nathan began working with his clients on line, as did many other trainers. For somebody fiercely protective of his family, virtual training works well. He could keep his wife, Corinne, and Miles safe and pay grounded attention to clients. In fact, if you think about it, with Zoom there are fewer distractions than when a client comes to a gym, where you have to work harder to keep a balance between work and play. In person and one-on-one to boot, most of us have a tendency to socialize, to strike up conversations about all sorts of things aside of the topic at hand. That comes with the territory of being human.
On Zoom, however, the impulse toward distraction is greatly reduced. Our physical space and visual field are limited by the necessity of viewing the screen, and the concentration necessary to sustain a Zoom relationship hones our focus.
Given the opportunity to work with Nathan even though we are hundreds of miles apart, Stephen and I decided to try a work out with Nathan on Zoom last weekend. He began by discussing how to breathe fully and completely incorporating all sides of our body, then moved on to integrate this full breathing into a series of exercises that seemed very well suited to Stephen and me, a bit challenging but not impossible, so that by the time the session was over, we felt we had really accomplished something.
As for me, I felt doubly good. I had not only gotten a solid half hour of good exercise, I had spent sustained time with Nathan as he offered his father and me some of what he cares most about and what he performs best. I enjoyed listening to his voice, calm and soothing. And watching as he demonstrated the movements with competence and authority. Thinking about it later, I realized it was the most interrupted time I had ever spent with Nathan, whom I’ve known for around 20 years.
Because we felt so positive about the session, we are now on board to work with Nathan twice a week, and can look forward to seeing him more than ever, as well as benefiting from his expertise. This would never have happened without the arrival of Covid 19. Ironically, while isolating us in many ways, the pandemic has given me the opportunity to know Nathan in a new and more intimate way.