How to Bring Flexibility into the New Year

We know our hearts can bend, because they already have.

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Posted in , Dec 28, 2020

Flexible new year

Several years ago, I saw a physical therapist for help with a back injury. I was planning for a long car trip at one of our last appointments, and he gave me instructions about posture and lumbar support for comfort on the trip. Then he told me that every 90 minutes or so, my husband and I should stop and get some air.

“You need to do some bending,” he said.

He was speaking quite literally, advising me to move my body from side to side to open up the tight areas of my back. But I’ve never forgotten the advice, and the symbolism of his words are on my mind now as the new year begins.

On a long journey, we all need to plan to pause periodically and do some bending, to practice being flexible and to remind ourselves of all the directions we know we can move. In the case of our backs, that means front to back, side to side and twisting right and left.

But bending happens in more than our spines. And if there was ever a time to celebrate the virtues of flexibility it is now, as we turn the page from a year of pivots, changes and profound adjustments.

“Blessed are the hearts that can bend,” said Albert Camus, “they shall never be broken.”

Our hearts are broken by the pain and loss of the coronavirus pandemic.

And, as we move forward, incrementally and with great patience and self-compassion, we learn more about how deeply our hearts and spirits can bend.

We know they can, because they already have. We’ve arrived at this moment because we have done more bending than we thought possible, opening up the tight places whenever we could and learning new ways to inhabit our days.

So as the new year’s first week starts, how will you bend into it? How will you do the sacred work of experiencing your own power of flexibility?

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