Recently, my teenage daughter and I were chatting about her inability to deviate from the timetable that she’d created for her exam preparations. She was frustrated.
“You need to be more bendy”, I told her. “If you’re in the flow of Maths then don’t stop just because your timetable says Biology. You made it up … you can deviate from it. ”
We spoke generally about how limiting it is to be rigid and inflexible and how freeing it is to be able to deviate and to make adjustments. She really seemed to get it and the next day delighted in announcing that she had “been bendy” with her timetable. I sensed her relief. Interestingly, I began to notice that she was becoming more bendy in other areas of her life too and I now see that she is able to adjust to unforseen circumstances and changes with far greater ease. She is also more bendy in her perspective too. And so a new catchphrase was born: BE BENDY. It has certainly caught on at home – and our clients seem to resonate with it too.
What is it about these two little words that seem to resonate so deeply with people? What is it that they offer? It seems to me that they are permissive: they encourage us to consider that there might be an alternative way of looking at things, an alternative way of thinking, an opportunity to have a different perspective. To see with new eyes! They cut the proverbial puppet strings – and I sense that it finally dawns that we are both puppeteer and puppet! That is when I see the smile! It liberates us from being who we always are, seeing what we always see, thinking what we always think, feeling what we always feel and behaving how we always behave.
Quite coincidentally, a friend sent me a recent article from the New York Times called ” What Yoga taught me about the Balanced Life”. In the article, the author suggests that balance is not about stability or rigidity, but rather the ability to yield and move. It is not about striking or holding the pose, but flowing with the movements that affect your pose. “The more quickly you can respond and make those adjustments – that’s balance”. He concludes that “the coveted state of balance is about flexibity and change, not stasis and symmetry”.
It seems that we can all relate to becoming fixed and rigid in our thinking and behaviour (and in our expectations) over some matter or another. When things don’t go according to schedule, partners or children don’t respond in the way we envisaged, “G-d laughs” at our plans, the rigid amongst us snap and the more flexible amongst us bend, make adjustments and find our equilibrium with greater ease.
What is really wonderful, and possibly surprising to hear, is that the ability to “Be Bendy “, to be flexible in our thinking and make adjustments, is available to all. It is actually a part of our default settings, it is our resilience. When we understand the way the three principles of Mind, Thought and Consciousness work together to create our experience of life, thoughts that we took as “real” all of a sudden seem see through, we are no longer tied to them and we are finally free to have an infinite amount of new and wonderful thoughts