Before runners begin a marathon, they stretch. After a long plane ride, passengers stretch. When graduates graduate, their commencement speakers urge them to stretch. And when new challenges confront a couple, they may need to stretch to be able to meet them. The advice, “get out of your comfort zone”, can be wise. Exploring new lands, new limits, in body, mind and spirit, is how we grow, both as individuals and in our relationships.
I don’t need much convincing on this one. Even with more than thirty years of committed yoga practice, I am still in wonder each time I unfold my mat, breathe deeply, and allow my body to do what it needs to do to re-balance, redistribute oxygen, allow tight muscles to loosen and knots to unravel. In a relationship, we need to keep the same “beginner’s mind” — each day is different and we are different in each day so encountering one another as though it is a first time maintains the wonder of discovery and the dedication to being in the present moments. This “mindfulness” permits consciousness to inform our understanding and direct our behaviors. In the words of the song from “Auntie Mame”: sometimes “we need a little Christmas, right this very minute” and it is important to be able to recognize when that minute has arrived.
In what ways do we stretch?
Our bodies. Our bodies change from moment to moment. As my orthopedist reminded me after a knee replacement, cells are constantly moving and rearranging themselves. The innate wisdom of our bodies guides them to move toward health, but we need to push them a little to develop and maintain strength. Not too much, not too little, just enough so that muscles add endurance and tone. Remember that the heart is a muscle and the brain behaves like one.
How do we stretch in our loving?
We honor the old. Before jumping into that inviting lake headfirst, take a minute to survey the old and appreciate what is working well in your relationship. What brought you together in the first place? How did you resolve your initial crises? Can you make a note to retain the essence, perhaps updating the expression?
Why does stretching show love?
In what ways do you like to stretch? To what extent do you and your loved one enjoy stretching in the same ways? In different ways? How has stretching made your relationship stronger? Has it ever led you to disconnect from your loved one? How did you repair the potential rupture?
Copyright 2017 Roni Beth Tower