Have you noticed as you’ve gotten older that you might not be as flexible as you used to be? I think of my young grand-kids and how they can twist themselves into pretzels and simply know that I cannot match the movements.
I can’t do it anymore, and most of the time I don’t want to either.
When I think of flexibility, which is another chapter in itself, I think of stretching. Where in your life do you need to stretch? Where in your body do you need to stretch? Why is stretching such a fantastic idea and also a spiritual principle and practice?
Let’s unpack it a little bit. Stretching by definition means to go beyond what is normal and comfortable. Whether that means with your muscles, endurance, thinking or being, stretching brings us to the edge of comfortable and asks us to go just a bit beyond.
Where are you being called to stretch today? Perhaps it is in forgiving another, or being more compassionate with yourself? Maybe it is physically, to get out of your easy chair and move something. Or are you being called to stretch in your thinking?
If we know and believe that God is good, all the time and that the Universe is for us, not against us, it is easier to stretch, because we know we are safe and sound. Yet, being safe is the exact thing we need to stretch into and beyond.
We are spiritual beings living in a human experience. Perhaps the stretch we are being called to is to stretch into a greater awareness of this truth.
Let’s try it:
Take a few deep breaths and instead of sitting down, stand up, if you are comfortable doing so. Notice your body. How does it feel? Are there places of tightness or soreness? Just notice them. Begin by simply stretching your finger. Stretch them out, fingers apart and as far as you can. Relax and notice what feels different.
Stand tall and lift the crown of your head, stretching your neck up. Feel the stretch all the way through your spine, just by raising your crown. Stretch your neck down, putting your chin towards your chest. Do it gently. Come to the point of stop and breath into it, stretch a bit more, still gently.
Put your arms out to your side. Stretch them, pointing your fingers to the outer walls. Feel the stretch through your shoulders, elbows, wrists and hands. Give yourself a big hug, crossing your arms across your chest.
Reach up to the sky, standing on your toes if possible. Relax and fold over like a limp rag doll stretching your head and arms own towards your toes. Stand up tall once more.
Imagine that place in your awareness and consciousness. Feel into the places that are wanting to stretch. Come to the edge and gently stretch over the edge. Breathing into the expansion both in your body and mind. Notice the differences.
Make stretching a spiritual practice. Notice when you get to the edge of your comfort and ever so gently stretch again. See how quickly a simple stretch can change your perspective.