April 14, 2014

Stretch An You Will Reach

Laotse once said „A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” 
My journey out of this Radio silence started with the twitch of my right big toe...

Getting out of bed had become increasingly more difficult last autumn. I didn’t want to get up, because I didn’t want to do what I had committed myself to. However, I couldn’t give up my commitments, because it was me after all who had chosen to do them. I simply had, in an attempt to move forward, settled one too many times for a Job I can do and ignored the Jobs I want to do. I was furious at myself for wasting my own time. Unable to see beyond the things I had to do now my impatient heart clenched itself into a stiff lump, increasing my resistance to do anything at all.

Yet, it had all started so good. The sun was tickling my nose on the first day of the past year. Though weak from a long winter it filled the air with an uplifting glow. Freshly immigrated to England to live with my love, I was beaming as bright as these early days. With the move I had left a career behind and 365 days ahead to build a new one. I felt empowered to finally make it the one I really wanted.

The choice was clearly mine: I could become a Teacher, Learning Mentor or Blogger, I could study Psychology, Law or even start a degree in Graphic Design. I could do anything!

Only, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. One day I was sure I would like to be a Teacher, the next day I thought Psychologist would also be interesting and really I would love to be a writer. Soon enough I found myself in the middle of the worst jam dilemma, like I was a customer in Sheena Iyengar famous jam study. In which the psychologist and author of the “Art of Choosing” proved: Too much choice overburdens people. Let them pick out of 7 jam flavours and they will be happy with what they get, but let them pick out of 70 and it will never be good enough. Only I wasn’t choosing jam!

After a few month the money was urging me to come up with a solution. So I picked a job. I loved it, but the hours were few and the money not enough. I had to pick again and soon after again. I struggled to commit myself to one direction. A career change, no matter in which direction, comes with a lot of work, failures and time commitment and for some reason I failed to trust my judgement. I simply worried I would end up with a wrong choice. So I kept choosing easy, risk-free part-time jobs. Before I knew it, I was tied up in a string of commitments, which were all pulling me in different directions. After a few months I became exhausted and scared - scared that I had wasted my opportunity to build this new, happier career. Not only had I made some poor choices, I also had cramped my diary with work, leaving me hardly any time to breathe and reconsider. That’s when I started to drag my mornings and not only them. Every task was dragged and mulled over, half-heartily done and the result then regretted for its poor appearance - over and over again, until some things I just stopped doing completely for I thought I would never get somewhere with them anyway. Unfortunately this happened mainly to the things I actually really hoped to achieve.

Then one dreading morning my big toe twitched. Feeling the cramp coming, I turned over in bed and stretched my toe – and then my foot and my leg and my back. Ease was sweeping through my body. With every muscle that loosened up so did my resistance to waking up. A subtle reminder whispering: If you stretch, you will reach. Soon enough I found myself sitting upright in bed reaching high into the air with my hands, feeling ready for the day.

I was almost stunned at how easy it suddenly was to get out of bed. Then an old quote from my very first Yoga teacher popped into my head “If you reduce the tension in your muscle, your mind will reduce its resistance to go into the pose.” In my case an upright position in bed to get going.

As it felt so good to get out of bed without any hesitance I decided to give stretching a go as my new morning routine. No fancy Yoga, just a good stretch and maybe the sun greeting routine for a few minutes. Only a few days in I realized, starting the day with a good stretch didn’t make the job situation better, but it changed how I tackled my daily to do lists. Firstly, I felt more energetic and ready to do what I had to do, after the stretching. Secondly, while stretching I suddenly had a few moments spare in which my mind could wander and reflect on my feelings and worries. Thirdly, the physical action triggered my mind to do exactly the same: to stretch and let go of worries. 

The word “Stretch” became my constant reminder...
... to reduce my inner resistance and to not let it weigh me down.
... to eliminate negative self talk, which keeps me from trying.
... to be flexible and adapt in order to move on.
... to commit myself to what I do, while I am doing it.
... to be grateful for where I am and appreciate the small things.
... that if I actually stretch my body and mind, I will increase my reach.

It was a slow process, but changing my attitude towards the commitments I had put myself into, eventually allowed me to stretch myself out of them and to reach even further – to make room for something that I really wanted. Once I was there it was only the length of my toe that I had to reach out of this radio silence. And I am so glad, I did! It feels so good to put myself out here again.

And if you just stretched yourself all the way down to reach the end of this epic post,
thank you for reading and thank you for letting me share my story with you!

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