There is no question that we are living in intense and uncertain times where who we've been and how we've operated will not support us on the path ahead.
About every person I know who is awake, open-hearted, and desiring to live their greatest life, in alignment with their soul, is being called to their "edge" - personally, spiritually, emotionally, and physically.
It's like our souls are beckoning...
"Let go of things that no longer fit and leap into the unknown."
Like our hearts are pulling us out of our comfort zones and the status quo - in our relationships, jobs, homes, careers, wealth, health, lifestyles, and habits - to create the realities we desire for ourselves and this world, now.
It seems like anything that stems from false security, diminishes our most true presence or distracts us from our soul path is fair game. We either surrender it or we suffer through it.
And while most of us desire to live our greatest lives, be our greatest selves and create the world we know in our hearts is possible - if we are honest, stepping out and stretching past previous limits feels scary, uncomfortable and there are times we'd rather pull the covers over our heads, or quit and just resign ourselves to do something easier.
This is what I call a SOUL STRETCH.
You are being called to step forward into expressions, situations, realities that stretch you out of your comfort zone, the status quo or how you have previously done things (even if you have no idea of how it's all going to work out.) And/or you are being called to let go and surrender things that previously worked, brought you success or even made you happy but now like an old outdated outfit, no longer fit.
You have three choices during a soul stretch. You can:
- Stay stuck, suffer and self sabotage (not recommended)
- Contract, hide and wait for the universe to yank you into your stretch (definitely not recommended)
- Lean into the stretch and grow, breakthrough limits and old ways that no longer serve and eventually soar and reach deeper levels of strength and faith and expression. (recommended)
So, assuming you choose option #3 (good choice!), the next question becomes, how do you navigate this soul stretch? How do you stretch without stressing yourself to the point you break?
Well, whenever I find myself in a Soul Stretch here are a few of the actions I take that support me to stretch, bend, extend, surrender, breathe and move through the process with as much grace and ease (and self compassion) as I can muster.
First... Name and claim the Soul Stretch.
Admit to yourself and share with any close confidants or mentors "I am in a Soul Stretch. This is what is LOOKS like... this is what it FEELS like."
When you say out loud what is happening on the inside and give it voice, you release internal pressure that builds up because you are trying to 'manage' the situation vs. surrender to it. By actively stating and sharing your soul stretch you open the door for compassion - from yourself and others - and create space to lean and bend into the stretch vs. trying to rush your way through it. You can't rush a soul stretch. Trying to rush it actually prolongs it!
Two... Call the Soul Stretch Neither Good Nor Bad.
It's not bad or good, it just IS.
We have a bad habit as humans of wanting to label things as bad or good, which in most cases is NOT helpful. There is no need to judge a soul stretch. When I am in a soul stretch and people ask me "How are you Christine?" instead of responding "Good or fine" or "Wow, it's challenging right now" I just say "I am in the yoga of life... some days I am in downward dog and it feels great, other days my legs are shaking to the point I think I might not make it!" And yes, sometimes, the soul stretch feels uncomfortable, like crap and you'd rather be anywhere else but in it. And other times, it's uncomfortable but exhilarating. Regardless of what the soul stretch is bringing up for you emotionally, physically, and materially, let go of the label, and lean in to the knowing that it is leading forward on your soul path.
Three... Feel into the Stretch.
Your body is your ally during a soul stretch. Are you stretching forward or surrendering backwards?
The more you involve your body the more you will move through your stretch with grace. Ask yourself, "Is my soul stretch calling me forward to extend? Or is my soul stretch calling me backwards to surrender?" Then put your body in a stretch, forward or in surrender, and feel the soul stretch that is occurring. This goes a long way in disengaging the madness moving through your mind due to the fear that gets stirred up whenever we soul stretch.
Four... Get Support.
Support gives you super power to conjure up courage + flex your faith muscles.
During a Soul Stretch you need support. You can't get through the stretch alone. Just like doing a backbend, it's so much better if you have a spotter in case you fall. With a spotter you feel more confident. When I was in gymnastics if I had a spotter when attempting a backflip, no problem, I could flip all day! Take that arm behind me away, and I froze... fear. Surround yourself with mentors, sisterhood (for women) and brotherhood (for men), circles of other people soul stretching and people who just love you unconditionally.
And lastly ... know you are not alone.
All people who choose to live awake and aware stretch often for their entire lives because we are always unfolding into more brilliant expressions of who we are. Together, we can stretch and surrender into anything. Alone, we fall into fear. Make sure you are receiving the support you need through your soul stretches... that is self-love!
For some super power soul stretch support, tune into Christine's recent Feminine Power Time Podcast: THE SOUL STRETCH: ARE YOU BEING STRETCHED PAST YOUR LIMITS?