A user’s guide to reaching
Recently, I was in a dance workshop where we were encouraged to stretch and reach to our maximum.
We were asked to stretch starting from our center and extending out through are shoulders, elbows, wrists, hands and fingers; eventually, also making our way down to the feet.
The reaching created a spiral inside me.
And the more I released with my chest and center, the more I could reach.
Eventually, we were encouraged to bring the reaching into movement across the studio.
But unfortunately, I found it nearly impossible to keep my balance.
My legs felt like they were made of stone.
After a few clumsy lines crossing the room, I went over to the professor, frustrated, and asked
“I know my legs are very capable of moving, listening, carrying the weight of my body, falling into the floor and leaving it again! But they just are not working anymore!” I complained.
And it was in that second, or shortly after, that I had the “duh” moment.
You know those moments where you are reminded of an obvious fact.
A fact, which you already know and have declared loud and clear a thousand times to those around you.
Which you have felt exemplary for knowing and previously proclaimed to others - partly for the sharing of knowledge and partly just to show what you know.
Yet, in this moment, you forget this important piece of information and you are reminded that the obvious is not always so obvious, and sometimes you should be a bit humbler.
Well it was one of those moments.
And here is what I relearned.
In order to continue stretching and reaching to the maximum with one part of your body, you have to release and let go with another part of your body.
You can’t keep reaching 100% in all directions, all the time and think you will still be able to move forward.
It just doesn’t work!
Your body can only expand so far!
If you never release, you will just stay stuck like a sea star that has fossilized in the middle of the dessert.
The crazy thing is…
by releasing one part of your body, it allows another part to expand.
Consequently, bringing your body forward, upward, sideways or in whatever other direction it might choose.
At this point your body naturally shifts its weight, and the body part which was once released is then called back into action.
But the key, is that first you have to JUST LET GO! Take time to listen to your body and let it lead you where you didn’t expect.
Don’t try and control it all day, every day.
It’s a constant shift of energy within the body.
A sharing of responsibility.
Allowing one part to rest for a moment while the
other part actively takes over.
“Well, this is applicable to my life.” I thought.
“How often do I try to persistently reach, very actively in five thousand different directions only to realize at a certain moment I have not gotten anywhere?”
It’s a well-known pattern.
The pattern, or habit which is broken only after I have a moment of frustration which leaves me like a child stomping and kicking my feet on the floor and whining, “why doesn’t this work?!”
Often, it is only then that I take the time to pause, reflect (by myself or by asking another person), and remember the obvious, well-known fact.
You just have to let something go to keep moving forward.