Here we are again. In the dance studio.
Picture about thirty sweaty people lying on the floor belly side down. Now, imagine all thirty of these sweaty people reaching their left toe to the opposite corner in the attempt to stretch so much that the only thing one can do is flop over onto your back. A chorus of thuds echo about the room.
The driving force of that movement were those five toes stretching, stretching, stretching, reaching, reaching, reaching.
It occurred to me then, that reaching is one of the most important things one can do.
Actually, let me rephrase that. STRETCHING THROUGH is one of the most important things one can do.
REACHING can have a negative connotation these days, at least to me. Reaching suggests that one is never completely happy, never fulfilled. So you’ve gotten to the top of one ladder, now let’s just move onto the next. The next step, next rung, next grade.
The word REACHING also comes to mind when one is grasping at straws, desperately trying to glue together some haphazard concept or explain a theory on thin ice.
However, in her Dear Sugar advice column, Cheryl Strayed made an exceptional point about REACHING. Sometimes, it’s only by REACHING that you manage to crawl/stumble/scratch yourself out of a deep, muddy, dark cavern. And the STRETCHING THROUGH comes only when you’ve caught your breath, wiped your eyes and moored your resilience.
Interpret the two movements how you will…both REACHING and STRETCHING have varying STRENGTHS.
My observation and point regarding STRETCHING is this:
IF YOU’RE GOING TO DO SOMETHING. REALLY DO IT.
Martin Luther King Jr. says it all…
“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”
WHY BOTHER IF YOU’RE NOT GOING TO
STRETCH ALL THE WAY THROUGH?
If you’re going to go through the motions,
GO THROUGH THE FUCKING MOTIONS!
And CELEBRATE that movement.
STRETCH THROUGH. THROUGH YOUR CORE, INTO YOUR LIMBS AND OUT YOUR FINGER TIPS AND TOES.
FEEL EVERY FIBER OF YOUR BEING EXPAND AS IF YOU WERE MADE OF ELASTIC.
STRETCHING TOWARDS AND WORKING FOR THAT THING YOU LOVE, DEDICATE YOURSELF TO OR JUST HAPPEN TO BE DOING AT THIS MOMENT.
If you’re going to do something. Don’t just sort of do it, or kind of do it.
Don’t feebly attempt this thing we called life like a sad, wilted piece of kale.
DO IT. REALLY DO IT.
It DOESN’T HAVE TO BE GLAMOROUS.
It often isn’t. I mean, what’s glamorous about sweaty people flopping about on the floor. Nothing.
Most often when we’re working towards the things we work for it isn’t glamorous.
It’s DIRTY and STRENUOUS, EXHAUSTING and BARE.
Yet, STRETCH WITH ALL YOUR MIGHT.
Stretching DOESN’T require brute force or intense strength, in fact force impedes it.
Stretching with all your might doesn’t mean you get tense, raise your shoulders, tighten your chest and clench your buttocks.
You can’t will yourself into stretching, just like you can’t simply will yourself into growing another foot.
Instead, FEEL those TINY TOES and FINGERS intentionally stretching, digging into the ground and reaching into the sky.
STRETCHING THROUGH, with equal amounts EFFORT and EASE, BREATH and SPACE.
By STRETCHING THROUGH our growth is measured far beyond inches.