On stretching…action and inaction…and change…
Human beings are creatures of habit. We all get used to doing things a certain way and it becomes our default. It doesn’t mean it’s the best way, just the way that we’ve used in the past. Unless we pay attention our mind will usually take the path of least resistance.
To move towards something new. A new direction. A new possibility. A new neural pathway. A larger action is needed.
Larger actions require more effort than smaller actions. And. A bit like an elastic band they have a tendency to snap back after a period. The period depends on the length of the elastic band. Some peoples bands are longer than others but most attempt a snap back at some point.
Stretching ourselves over time
Over time, over continual stretching, the band may begin to stretch and grow longer. It takes effort to stretch a band. The natural tendency of the band is to snap back into the shape that it knows best. The shape that feels the most secure. The shape that feels the most stable. The shape that feel the most sustainable. The band may even believe the this is the shape that it was made to be. But the band doesn’t know what we all know and that is that elastic bands are made to be stretched. That’s why they can.
The effort to stretch the band can feel tiring and because it doesn’t happen overnight we can get distracted. By something that happened at work or our kids or our partners or feeling like we’re all alone in the world and what is the point of any of this anyway, the band can snap back without us realising and sometimes when an elastic band snaps it stings a little doesn’t it?
When we snap back to old habits
So then, if our band has snapped back we are in a position to make a decision. And this can be difficult because when the band is already stretched there is no decision to be made. We can feel what we need to do. We can see the progress we have made in the stretch so far. So when we are faced with that decision, to stretch again or not. To make that effort again or not. And the more often the band has snapped back in the past the easier it becomes for us to wonder whether this is the shape that we are supposed to be. Because we forget. That we are made to be stretched.
Sometimes we make a decision to stretch out again, to stretch towards a new shape, a new way of being. The first steps can be hard. Because the first part of stretching a band is where the most resistance is felt and we may wonder if we are strong enough to keep up this effort everyday for the rest of our lives.
It gets easier
But we forget. That we have stretched before and that the beginning of the stretch was hard. It did take a lot of effort and that band did snap back, again and again. But we didn’t give up. We kept on trying. We kept on stretching and things got easier. Gradually and gently the resistance began to give way and as we stretched ourselves more and more into new shapes. Slowly but surely we went from floating to lying to crawling to walking to running and then…
And then… We were a different shape to what we were before. We were in a different place. With different rules and different bands to decide whether to stretch or not. We had changed and the resistance to being this being that we are is not there.
And it was hard. And we did fall over. And we cried and we cried and we cried. But we made it. And now from this new place it is hard to remember what our old shape was like at all. We have an impression. But it is as ephemeral as all of the other possibilities that could be but that are not because we are who we are.
And who we are is made to be stretched.