The other day a friend asked me how my word of the year – stretch – is going. I hadn’t really given it much thought but we’re mid-year already so time for a mid-year stretch check-in.
In January, I described stretch as expanding my body and my spirit together in partnership to explore the potential of my life. To physically stretch my muscles to allow for free movement.To stop berating my body for the things I can’t get it to do and celebrate the things we can do together.
I think that halfway through the year, I might be halfway towards this goal. While I certainly hope to stretch more physically, I feel like I have stopped letting the “not good enough” voice in my head dictate my decisions. Whether that meant saying “yes” when I want to say “no” or saying “no” when my heart whispers “yes!”.
February included taking the beginner glass blowing class again. I took it in 2014 but never really found any partners to practice with. This time, I reached out more, asking people to share practice time with me, and saying yes to strangers who were looking for practice partners.
It’s a bit like being the new kid at school. Finding new friends to sit with in the cafeteria or play with at recess. Except that you’re the kid that is still learning to hit a baseball instead of the kid who hits home runs. In glass blowing, when your goblet or bowl or plate or whatever goes wrong, you turn it into a paperweight. Let’s just say I have a lot of paperweights, if anyone wants one!!
In March, I said “no” to an opportunity to step up into a leadership role in my spiritual community. An opportunity that was fifteen years in the making. Thing is, I knew it wasn’t my path and I knew that meant it was time to head out, maybe on my own, to follow my heart and be true to my values. And while one long-term friendship didn’t survive the change, the rest not only survived but are thriving as I am more excited and energized about the future. And here is where I could go into a long sappy paragraph about gratitude and blessings. Instead, I’ll just say that every day I feel so lucky to have the wonderful friends that I do have. Hashtag blessed.
In April, I stretched my concept of myself as an artist when I said “yes” when asked to submit a piece of glass art into the Studio’s silent auction fundraiser. I know it sounds silly but I never would have thought to volunteer given all the amazing artists at the Studio. I designed and created a necklace called Skye Dreaming, inspired by the colours and experience of hiking in Scotland last summer. I loved the design and creation process and am proud of my piece and my page in the catalog.
In May, I left the slow stretch of change behind and leapt into an opportunity to buy a new home in a neighbourhood where I have long dreamed of being able to live. January’s experience of being present at the death of a dear friend who was only forty-eight made me realize that it is foolish to put off the things that are important to some imaginary future date. That date may not happen and so you’re just wasting time.
So, in a short 48 hours, I bought a new condo. And then, within a week I had sold my home of the last ten years. Now I’m in limbo til August when I move. I keep joking that it’s a bit like living with someone who you’ve broken up with. I sort of emotionally detached from my home through the process of selling it. Massive de-cluttering and de-personalizing including painting over my vibrant colours with plain white. And I lie in bed dreaming of the new place; decorating it in my head and imagining myself in the space.
But I’m still awkwardly living with the old place, trying not to get attached to it again even though all the things that bugged me about it (that awful tile in the bathroom, the damn toilet that won’t stop dripping) don’t bother me so much any more since I know it’s all temporary.
One of the best things about the new place is that I am within 5 km of my work. Which means that in the second part of this year, I can focus more on the physical stretching of my body as well as the emotional stretching. Being within biking or walking distance of work will mean less commuting by car – hopefully none! My aim is to walk home from work several days a week and then maybe start biking again.
I hadn’t given much thought to how much I’ve stretched so far this year until I was asked. I knew that ending the war with my body had brought a new found peace and self-acceptance. By not blaming my body for my problems (after all, thin means happy, right?!) I am now focusing on the things that actually make me happy.
It’s a stretch but I think it’s working!