There are plenty of ancient sayings about this, about bending so you won’t break and so on.  It’s true.  But people focus on the bendy part and not so much on the strength.  As if we’re all amazingly strong and persevere through anything and the problem is to look up from all this strength we’re exhibiting too much of and we need to loosen up.  Well, for some of us yeah, but for most it’s the other way around.

For most of us our lives form a routine because we bend.  Because we bend to schedules, to agendas, to the needs of others, to expectations and norms, to what we should and even what we could.  We get formed by how we are bent until it takes strength just to do something other than hold this shape.

Being strong enough to bend means first that we choose to be strong.  What I mean by that is that just being flexible isn’t enough.  If a willow doesn’t have a core self it becomes a rope, not a branch.  It has no structure and cannot grow, cannot support itself.  It lays down and dies being consumed by the grass around it.  Being strong means finding our boundaries, what is me, what is good for me, who I am and who do I want to be.  That is our strength.  With that to support us we can then be flexible.  We can be in the now, experience the everyday miracles of lifelike the sunrise through a stained glass window or the kiss of a love one that is for no other reason than because they want to.  We can be available to bend and move with the needs of the day, but not sacrifice ourselves in the process.  The bending keeps us supple and allows us to grow straight and tall instead of bending us into twisted forms.

Being strong doesn’t make us breakable, it supports the bending.