How to Bend without Breaking

If we’re lucky enough to pursue something we really love, we’ll usually be presented with physical, mental, and sometimes even emotional challenges. But thankfully they’ll be challenges we’re willing to face. I’m not saying they’ll be easy, but love gives us the courage to look at ourselves a little more closely.

Many of you know that dance is my first love. I’ll pretty much bend over backwards for it. I will dance when I’m sick, or injured; I’ll even dance with a broken toe…It’s what I love most and spend hours trying to improve. That’s why I face the difficult challenges it brings, and I know I’m not alone…

I said to my dance instructor recently, “I think my dancing is a perfect reflection of my life right now.”

“What do you mean?” he asked.

“Well, I’m trying to find that balance between flexibility and strength,” I explained. “I’m trying to get comfortable letting go while still maintaining my integrity. You know,” I said,” being soft and strong at the same time.”

He looked confused. I’m sure he didn’t want to know more about how this was showing up in my life, but he did have some advice for my dancing…

“It’s not important for you to be flexible,” he said. “We can appear flexible if we have stability. Once we build a stable base, it becomes a reference point from which we can reach and stretch. Without stability, we just get pushed and pulled all over the place. We lose our balance and we tense up to protect us from being hurt. Establishing a solid point of reference allows us to know how far we can go, which makes us appear flexible when we’re actually quite normal and comfortable.”

Wow! Even though he was talking about dance, the concepts applied perfectly to my experience in life and how most of us operate in the world. When we’re not clear on WHO we are, what we WANT, and WHERE we’re going, we aren’t very stable and we get knocked around, …a lot. We continually say YES to the wrongs things and NO to things that might help us. Just to be clear, stability isn’t something we achieve with money, a job, a relationship, etc. It has to do with really knowing yourself.

Below is a list of things we can all practice to create more stability in our lives.

  • Trust yourself – honor your feelings. They have a purpose and should be given respect. They tell us a lot about the choices we should be making to find happiness in our lives. Bad feelings tell us to move or change. Good feelings tell us we’re on the right track.
  • Tell the truth about how you feel (be kind, but be honest). Don’t be afraid to make others uncomfortable with your feelings. If they are, they’re probably just not in touch with their feelings either…not your problem.
  • Know your limits and personal boundaries (at least for today) and express them to others when necessary. Limits can change, but that’s entirely up to you, not someone else. Don’t keep people in your life who continually overstep your limits.
  • Take care of yourself first; others later. Your physical, and emotional health should be your highest priority every day. A weak and tired body cannot support a stellar life.
  • Believe in yourself and your dreams. Only listen to advice from people who are also following their dreams. The others don’t know what you’re dealing with.
  • Always ask for clarity from others when you feel confused, then listen before acting or making decisions. Take your time…there’s no rush. Decisions can be life changers.
  • We don’t need to foresee the entire future, but making a one year plan will help you. A five and ten year plan are great too (but one will do nicely). Knowing where you want to end up helps you make better decisions toward getting there.

I also like yoga and meditation…What practices help you feel more stable?

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