During my Transformational Coaching training I learned about the concept of stretching. This is not muscular stretching, this is soul stretching, but the idea is similar. When you properly stretch a muscle, you are informing the proprioceptors; think internal dashboard that regulates all aspects, within the muscle of its new length. As a massage therapist we are often encouraging our clients to stretch to avoid a shortening within the muscle fibers, resulting in loss of range of motion, function, and strength. Soul stretching, surprisingly, creates the same response, but within one’s life. When we stretch our soul, we are increasing our range of awareness, and action, as well as, strengthening our connection to our self and our deeper constitution.
So, how does one stretch the soul? In coaching, we think about stretching as maneuvering outside of our comfort zone, or facing a fear. You can also think about it as taking the next step on the path towards your desired life; stretching outside of what is known to produce a new result. It often requires us to break a non-serving habit, and ultimately, allowing a new identity of what is possible for ourselves. An example: I recently created a new transformational coaching seminar that I am super excited about. Now, I co-taught a seminar earlier this year, but this would prove my first solo venture. After writing it, I began to reach out to local businesses that I felt it might best serve their clientele. The acceptance that I was going to be hosting a seminar, my seminar – that was a stretch. Actually reaching out to facilities and conversing with fellow business owners about its value – a stretch. Now, I know my knowledge base, and how it has served others, but a solo presentation – definitely a stretch. Trusting in myself that I can do it, and that my concepts are valuable, and being willing to sink or swim as I share it within these new venues – this is the true stretch.
When you stretch, you are allowing for growth. You are not caving to the projected fear of outcome, or the fear of rejection, or the fear of success – you are choosing your desires, and the life you want. You are consciously choosing your path, accepting all foreseen and unforeseen challenges, facing your fears with genuine action, and doing it anyway – this is you stretching into your desired life.
One crucial component of stretching is support. We all need a support system in our lives. Often we rely on our support system for guidance, or comfort, or company, but it takes a special relationship to assist another to stretch. We need to understand how that person grows, what kind of language best serves their path and their growth, the nuances of the result they were trying to achieve. We have to be willing to hold them accountable. Consider this – you decide you are going to give your family dinner a make-over, and you go off the recipe script. Your family, will hopefully, unconditionally, find the positive qualities within your dish, to encourage your creativity and express their gratitude for your efforts. Your stretch partner will encourage your creativity while also offering constructive criticism, as well as, resources to strengthen your skill set. Ultimately, we need both unconditional, and soul-stretching, support in our lives to truly thrive.
So, when was the last time you stretched yourself? You consciously chose to make a change in your life that put you one step closer to your desired life? If you were to close your eyes, and imagine your dream life – what is one small step you could take today that would get you closer towards living it? Who could mentor you with that action; stretch you to reach the full potential of that step, so that you can experience it with full growth? What would it take for you to reach out to them?
Talking about our plans for a better life just fills a void within us; they are empty without action. If you’re telling yourself, “No, I can’t reach out to someone for support or mentorship,” then I would have to ask you why you don’t deserve that in your life? You see, when you take this action, it’s not about the outcome of that action that moves you toward your desired life, but more so, it’s about the belief that you are holding that tells you that you are worthy of it.
As a professional stretcher of others, I assure you, you are worth believing in. You are resilient, and stretching will not break you. There is no limit to what you can experience in this life – you just have to say yes, and be willing to stretch.