I attended the ballet last weekend for the first time in my life and the imagery has stayed with me.
I speak with a lot of people who are tired, drained and seriously over-extended. I now have a ballet imagery for what I know is true.
Picture a ballerina with one leg up on the barre, leaning over to stretch.
She reaches for her toe, she bends and projects a grace and beauty. She is supple and capable.
I believe that when we extend ourselves to others, when we make commitments and take on responsibilities, we can do so with similar grace.
Now imagine the ballerina overextending and going too far for her reach. See the grimace of pain tighten her face.? See her body tense as she forces it to do more than it can do? All beauty is lost.
Overextending is painful. It is saying "yes" when you know you should say "no". It is creating a daily task list that can't reasonably be done in three days. It is not allowing for bumps, delays and interruptions. It is placing the wrong people in positions of importance in our lives.
Extension, on the other hand, is a beautiful motion. It involves a gentle stretch so we stay healthy and challenged. It occurs when we are being genuine and true in our relationships and tasks. It is authentic. It is energizing, not draining. It is living a life full of grace and beauty.