My world is pretty small at the moment. I’m inside my house 95% of the time. I can walk to a supermarket so I don’t even drive for shopping. Travel and movement is one thing that used to bring stretch, challenges and new perspectives into my life. Work will continue to do that but in its own limited domain. The smaller my physical & work worlds the more I must bring the stretch.
Travel stretches us because it takes us into the beginner’s mind. It takes us to places where we don’t know the way, the rules or the language. We become alert and stretch ourselves to try new things, to experiment and to adapt. We grow because we stretch. We gain new experiences, new capabilities and new confidence because we stretch.
We don’t inherently know the limits of our capabilities. Many of us underestimate what we can achieve. A few overestimate. Either way, it is through a process of reaching out for the edge that we discover what is possible and what next we need to learn. When our stretching fingers hang out into open air we have a new boundary and a new place to hang on.
Physical stretches help our muscles to recover and to lengthen improving our movement and our agility. Mental stretch can play the same role. If you have recently tackled a difficult new idea or new practice, you will remember how exhausting it can be as your brain or your body grapples with skills that are unfamiliar and starts to build new strengths.
If we constrain ourselves, we know what we get. If we stretch, we can surprise ourselves and others with what is possible.