Have you heard the term – ‘lean into your edge’? Whether already familiar with this phrase, or if it's new for you, let’s talk a bit about why the ‘edge’ is an important part of self-discovery and fostering greater overall wellness. First, it’s important to understand what the ‘edge’ is and isn’t. The edge is that place of gentle discomfort, the place where you feel drawn to explore the unknown about yourself because it’s intriguing and pushes you to challenge your beliefs and limits (about yourself and about life). The edge is not a place to live on adrenaline and push through challenges which results in harming your body, mind or spirit (or others’). When leaning into your ‘edge,’ there’s a comfortable (safe) discomfort for growth and self-inquisition.
Commonly, we live our lives in the same proverbial ‘four walls,’ without much curiosity for what lies beyond. In so doing, we constrict our being. Living for too long in this familiar place, we fall into a rut, with little room for growth, creativity, exploration, imagination or inspiration. The result is that we give ourselves limiting boundaries of what is possible, quickly talking ourselves out of something which feels bold or whimsical. For most of us, years of external influences condition our beliefs of what we are capable to achieve. We end up questioning new ideas or adventures and can become fearful of disrupting the known, the status quo.
Leaning into your edge pushes against those boundaries. It gives you freedom to examine what might be possible outside the ‘four walls.’ Think of the edge like the diving board out of your ‘box of familiarity.’ It’s a place that can feel prickly, give you caution to proceed slowly, yet also drives your mind to question ‘what if I jump in? What more is there for me?’ We can begin to lean into the edge with gentle inquiry about how/why we are feeling certain emotions, how/why we are following long-standing habits, how/why we came to believe that life must exist within the comfort of the ‘four walls.’ It takes courageous action to explore new ways of feeling, of being, of thinking, and challenges your established version of ‘convention.’ By exploring the edge, you are giving your emotional and mental brains a place to come alive.
Finding your edge takes some fine tuning. It’s a different place for everyone. Here are some ways to find your edge and dig a little deeper for greater self-understanding:
· Be curious when you feel good. What is driving that positive emotion? Is it because you smelled pretty flowers? Someone complimented you? You had a great conversation with a stranger (or your partner)? You did something you didn’t think possible? You feel loved?
· Be inquisitive when something is bothering you. Go one layer deeper than simply being angry - maybe you didn’t eat this morning and you’re actually hungry. Or when you’re irate because someone cuts you in line - is that somehow related to feeling unheard in your relationship? When a need is unmet (physical, emotional, mental, spiritual need), we tend to have a negative response pattern.
· Try something new. Part of discovering what makes us walk on 'the edge’ is finding things that are uncomfortable, but which give us growth in return. Joining a book club, speaking in public, trying yoga, cooking a new recipe – these are all examples of testing your boundaries to find where you can push against your own edge and challenge yourself to embrace new ideas, physical and emotional feelings, discover a sense of spirituality and meet new people.
· Examine old beliefs. Often, when we take a hard look at why we feel strongly about how something should be/look/feel/smell or relate in our world, we are using a biased lens, accumulated through the years of our lives. When you find your beliefs being challenged, PAUSE and really think about why you feel so strongly about your point of view. You may find it doesn’t even belong to you, that it’s inherited from someone else in your life. Or maybe it is core to who you are. Both recognitions help you understand when you are living within your authentic mind, and offer clarity.
· Listen to your inner monologue. How does it sound? Is it a critical voice? Does it support you to feel confident? What are the words you are literally feeding your mind and heart? When our inner voice comes from a place of constant criticism and self-deprecation, we are fostering pathways to stay in a negative and closed mindset. Alternatively, if something doesn’t go as planned, taking a moment to just say ‘oh, that’s not what I expected,’ shifts your inner voice to a more grace-giving and positive tone. How you talk to yourself and feel about yourself influences how you experience life.
Leaning into your edge gets easier over time. Taking the brave step to even notice your edge, that place where you can choose to expand or remain within your current mindset, speaks to your readiness to explore new ideas and beliefs outside your ‘four walls.’ When we can have a better understanding of how and why we react and respond, engage or disengage, we are becoming more self-aware, and this allows us to have a more active choice in how we show up for ourselves and for others – everyday.
I’d love to hear how you’re enjoying these articles. Please share any comments below. I write from topics which resonate in my own life and would be happy to elaborate on topics which interest YOU!
By Jen Rizza, Founder of Newtown Wellness Collective, Reiki Master, Yoga Teacher, Healthy Living & Wellness Recovery Guide
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