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  • Writer's pictureErin DiMaggio


Twenty-one years ago I was working as a Personal Fitness Trainer at The Manhattan Beach Spectrum Club, now known as the Bay Club. I had a full schedule with a diverse group of clients. At the time, I was only 20. I was insanely fit. I loved working out. I loved my body, not from the exterior, as in I would look in the mirror and admire myself, but I really loved movement. I had been a competitive gymnast and soccer player. I studied martial arts. I did adventure races and I ran marathons. I liked having a body. And, I loved the way it felt when I was in motion. I always had but then, when I started working with clients, I noticed their relationship with their body was vastly different than mine. For starters, I was working with people who were at least twice and sometimes, three and four times my age. I began to wonder, "How can I help people to enjoy being in their bodies?" "How can I help people to know themselves at a soul-level rather than a body-level?"

And, then, my whole life changed and I got the answer to my questions when I met this one man, Steve Fieldman. I was recommended to him as a good fit for what he was looking for in a personal trainer and one of those qualities was he just wanted to have fun and workout. I knew I could provide that but as we sat down to do the initial Health Fitness Assessment, he told me he had had three heart, attacks. He went on to explain the condition of his heart and on paper, it was not good! I was initially reluctant to train him because I realized that someone in his condition might need a trainer with more experience working with clients with that type of disease. But as he got to know me and I got to know him, he insisted that I had to work with him. He said, "NOPE! It's too late! YOU are my trainer." He was like that. He had the ability to convince anyone of anything and it was clear that he was not going to take no for an answer. So, I did everything I needed to do. I got the release from his cardiologist and I had him sign all of the necessary waivers and I studied up on all of the guidelines for working with someone with his type of heart. What began as a personal training/client relationship, quickly turned into a deep friendship and what I call my first "Spiritual Awakening."

You see, at the time when I was training him, he started a two years Masters Degree Program in Spiritual Psychology at the University of Santa Monica (USM). USM has a very unique program and as part of the program, each student has to design a Master's Thesis Program to fulfill their greatest Heart's Desire. And, to track their progress along the way in a research format. So, as the student brings a dream to fruition, the student also has to keep track of essential elements of health in the realms of emotional well-being, physical well-being, social well-being, and spiritual wholeness.

For Steve, his project was to climb a MOUNTAIN. That was his dream. Because a few years back, he didn't even know if he would ever be able to walk down the street again. So, in typical Steve fashion, he wanted to go BIG or DIE trying. He asked me for my help and I was privileged enough to train him every step of the way and to get him to the top Of EAGLE ROCK IN Topanga Canyon.

What I loved most about being with Steve is the way his eyes would light up like a little kid. He was at least thirty years older than me and me being only 20, I was really impressed with this "old guy" acting like a kid over the simplest of things. He loved to tell jokes and share stories about all of the extravagant business deals he had made, about the wife he lost and the new and amazing wife he met, his current wife, Marjorie. He would talk non-stop sometime about how smart Margie was. He loved her for her brain and also, for her long legs...many other things, too, but I remember him always saying, "Margie is the smartest woman I ever met." I know Margie, now, too and he was right about that. She is also an incredibly strong woman and a kind and loving soul, too.

For me, as I worked with Steve, he did something that no one in my whole life had ever done for me. As I thought my job was all about helping him, I realized he also had an agenda to help me. You see, everyone always thought I was the happiest person on the planet and up until then, no one has ever really thought to inquire more deeply. No one ever saw that I was also holding onto a broken heart. It wasn't in the way his heart was broken but I was holding onto childhood trauma and just always in motion trying to run from it. And, one day he called me on it. As he was building his Spiritual Psychology Practice, I had sent every person I knew and cared for to go work with him so he could be their therapist. As I was busy trying to fix everyone else, he noticed my heart was also in need of a little repair. So, one day, he asked, "When are you going to come to sit in my chair?" At that moment, the flood gates opened and I cried uncontrollably because it was really the first time I felt completely vulnerable or seen as anything other than this lucky, happy, girl. It was on that day that I began to learn the skills of Spiritual Psychology from my friend, my client, my stand-in Dad, and my Counselor, Steve. For a while, he was everything I needed until I learned from him how to give myself my own Soul-Healing.

During that time, I knew I wanted to find a way to blend the principles of Spiritual Psychology with Movement, just like we were doing while we were climbing that mountain. Years later, I ended up attending the University Of Santa Monica, too. So, I could share the work Steve shared with me. And, today, twenty-one years later, I am doing what Steve showed me. I am blending movement with spiritual awakening. Life is amazing like that; we are all giving each other little drops of love and guidance for some greater masterpiece that is painting itself in unseen and magical ways. He gave me more than a drop. He gave me a whole new canvas and all of the paint to design the life of my wildest dreams. He showed me how to be financially successful. He taught me to own who I was and to honor my tender heart.

I lost touch with Steve as life has a funny way of moving us all around and for me, with Motherhood and all of my responsibilities, I didn't have a chance to stay in contact in the way I once was.

Today, my heart feels a little broken and raw right now, because, after years of fighting to stay alive, and after all of those steps he continued to take for twenty-one more years, his heart finally gave out. Steve passed on to another world, a world that he could feel when he was living, a world he always talked about seeing and knowing, and now his whole being is there, drifting and soaring, I am sure with his ever open-arms and childlike smile. I will miss Steve but I have no doubt that he is still climbing mountains and telling jokes and making the angels smile.

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