Suppose you are at an edge, standing at a point where moving forward feels like stepping off into the unknown yet staying where you are is increasingly uncomfortable, and, of course, moving backward isn’t even a choice. What happens now?
Sounds like a big deal – yet we do this over and over again every day. Mostly, however, moving forward happens within the context of what we know and what is familiar. Driving the car, making a call, walking down the street – all these actions happen without us knowing exactly what will happen next. We do, for the most part, have expectations based on past experiences that allow us to take up these activities with confidence or ease. But if enough about the activity is outside our familiar set of past experiences, then the sense of the unknown surfaces. How we meet this can range from anxious resistance to enthusiastic excitement.
Think of children for whom almost all experiences are unknown. Would any of us have learned to walk or run if we chose staying with what is familiar? Or if we had a lengthy internal conversation about what was about to happen next? Unlikely! So we all have the capacity to choose moving forward, taking the next step, even in the face of not knowing.
Consider how we meet these edges in our life situations – right now, today. Could it be that what seems edgy to us does so because some aspect of it strikes us at our core? How do we choose moving forward or staying when our perception of what is at stake is the sense of who we are or what our truth is? It isn’t simply about “not knowing.” What stirs us is the dissonance of the potential before us compared with what we think of ourselves, our idea of who we are, our self image. Perhaps this is actually the edge of awareness. And our choice is to explore and take the next step or hunker down and stay put.
So, what might make the difference in how we choose? If you go back to the childhood reference, moving forward was possible then because we felt safe, accepted and had a sense that someone had our back if things didn’t go well. Or else the motivation was that consequences of failing weren’t clear and/or the risk seemed worth it. Or simply being curious.
How to bring some more of that curiosity into how we make choices to explore edges and step out into the unknown as who we are right now? Can we use the tools we have and the gifts we’ve been offered? Meditation, mindfulness techniques and yoga can support the sense of who we are and strengthen the ability to take the next step. They can provide a safe home and make it easier to move forward. Yoga therapy, in particular Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy, offers a unique structure for supporting this kind of exploration of the edge – one in which you can explore with safety and acceptance, with the sense of someone having your back. What matters most in the way you meet your edges is that you get to choose – how far, how fast, even whether to go at all…