An Homage to Helen Melon

1970 Celebration with Helen

written by Carol Crincoli, Pure Pilates Director

The month of May is upon us.  I think about my mother a lot and with Mother’s day approaching, I thought it was the perfect time to share Helen with you and the lessons I’ve learned from her.

My mother, Helen, or “Helen Melon” as my sister Jo Ann and I would call her, passed away many years ago. As adults, we were good friends and she was very fond of my husband, Rico. I have beautiful memories that are vivid and so specific, it’s like she is still here with me. In recent years I came to realize that the relationship my mother and I cultivated has helped me to grow and prosper as a strong woman, business owner and wife.

Before closing my physical studio at the end of 2020, I would occasionally “bring” my mother to work. I still choose to bring her lots of places by wearing her wedding band on my right finger.  I find great value in having tangible reminders to support me. These items can simply bring comfort. Maybe it’s a certain ceramic mug you drink your morning coffee from or the ratty sweater worn throughout Covid quarantine. But the wedding ring is more than that. It is an “anchoring” item. It helps me find my sense of center and keeps me grounded. I’ve been using this technique for so long, that the ring doesn’t need to be physically attached to me anymore. I just touch my thumb to my ring finger, a habit that I have absorbed into my being and it does the job. Anchoring items don’t need to be physical or tangible.  Finding a scent, song or word can be just as powerful and effective.

My mother loved music and enjoyed dancing with my father. My father would play something from his CD collection, maybe Eddy Arnold or Patti Page and a spark would appear.  They might sing to each other, as they sat in what I called the “his and “her” recliners or I would find them dancing in the living room. So in love and so joyful. Being present in the moment.

Singing allows me to be present. The act of taking in breath, exhaling out with sound is meditative for me. I like to stand when I sing because feeling my feet on the floor not only assists my body when creating sound, but physically grounds me. Anchors me.

Pilates can also be meditative and can ground us physically and mentally. I immediately think about Footwork on the Reformer. The feeling of my feet, pressing into the bar and the flow of my breath as the carriage cradles my body. It feels as if I am rocking a baby, as I glide back and forth. Maybe that’s how Helen felt when she was dancing with my dad.

My mom has taught me many things, but I guess the most significant lesson that I’ve learn is:

When I am grounded, I am capable of living in the moment and being present.

So what helps you to stay grounded? Is it a ring, a song, words? Identify it and cultivate it. Find your joy and take it with you wherever you go.  And as a Mother’s Day gift to Helen Melon, I will let her have the last words!

“Enjoy this year and the years to come.  Life is wonderful. See the good around you – Keep that glow in your eyes and the smile on your face.”  – Mommy

(a passage from a note written to me probably in the mid 1990’s.)

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