What does it actually mean to be flexible? Athletes have one definition, while philosophers have another. There are many ways to look at this word, and many angles from which to fully explore it. The simplest definition comes from the physical body. When our bodies are flexible, our muscles and joints move smoothly and freely, and are able to turn and twist in incredible ways.
But being flexible is so much more than a physical ability. Practicing flexibility involves the willingness to hear and accept others and their point of view without judgement; to understand and let go of the many things that are out of your control; and to see situations from multiple perspectives.
We are born with the wisdom and capability to be flexible. We often use this skill in dealing with events relating to Nature, but many times we don’t recognize how to apply it in our daily relationships. Let’s say you’ve planned a vacation to a tropical destination. Then, a storm in your area causes flights to be canceled and you have to postpone your trip. Yes, you are frustrated, but you aren’t angry at the weather. Although it is disappointing, you recognize that things like this happen. After all, Nature is unpredictable. If we can let these kinds of situations go, why can’t we let go of the many human interactions that bother us?
Whatever happens at any given moment in this reality is connected to so much more that is happening at an invisible level. It’s the tip of the iceberg of an unseen reality. Although we cannot see all the visible and invisible aspects of an event, we can feel them. Deep within us, we have the capability to let things go, but we need to practice this skill more and apply it to our encounters—with family, friends, colleagues, others—as well as life’s many situations.
How can you begin to let go?
- Turn inward: What does it mean to truly listen? Notice your encounters with friends, family, and colleagues. How do they see you? What are you doing when they are talking? How do you respond? Active listening shows that you are interested in what others have to say. Instead of jumping in with your feedback or responses, listen to what others are trying to convey. As you listen more attentively, your judgement fades, and you begin to explore new perspectives.
- Start small: Work, home, dinner, sleep, work: sound familiar? It’s easy to get stuck in a day-in-day-out pattern. Exercise your flexibility by changing things little by little. For example, take a new route to work, go for a walk during your lunch break, or buy yourself flowers.
- Seeing is believing: We believe what we can visibly see. But what about the unseen material that goes unnoticed? Believe it or not, the invisible is more powerful than the visible. Start recognizing patterns in yourself. How is your body communicating with you? Does it share the same aches and pains during every seasonal transition? Do your knees hurt every evening around 6pm? These symptoms are the body’s way of sharing what is going on deep inside, on an invisible level. As you translate these messages and reconnect with your own body, you will begin to see the intricate workings of your energetic being. Outer reflects inner.
- Listen to your inner voice: All too often, we do things because we think we “must” or because we feel a certain expectation. Have you stopped to ask yourself what you truly want? Take time to reconnect with yourself. What makes you happy? That is your true practice.
Smile, laugh, love! How can you cultivate your beauty from within?
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