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God guard me from the thoughts men think.

In the mind alone.

He that sings a lasting song.

Thinks in a marrow bone.

William Butler Yeats; The King of the Great Clock Tower.

After years of running and pounding my body senseless, plus typing, texting and, hell, even sleeping, I’ve come to the realization that—for large chunks of my life—I’ve been contracting and contorting myself physically and emotionally. My wonderful rolfer, Kayte Ringer, religiously hums the mantra, “Find the space in between your ribs,” and has taught me to expand into the stillness of lying down on her table.

It was imperceptible at first, but, slowly, like treacle dripping, the thought of expansion started to resonate and imbue itself in my physicality. In yoga practice—which urges us to go past the limitations of our bodies (where we often feel trapped)—shapes and poses that once seemed impossible have become my new reality.

And, most interestingly, my openness has translated into a new kind of life freedom. I find it easier to let go and forgive. I always have a metaphorical space that is my own, no matter where I may find myself. My mind isn’t so jittery. I breathe. Mostly, I just take it one step at a time because it’s really all about the quality, not the quantity, of the space where I reside, every single day, within.

Think of anywhere in your life, physically and/or metaphorically, where you are holding on or feeling stagnant, frustrated or stuck. And get excited! Those gnarly places are ripe for opening up wide in pursuit of all kinds of growth and a newfound gentleness with yourself and the whole world.

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