the freedom of flexibility

Welcome to Tuesdays with Chel.



photo by Predrag Vuckovic

“Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness.”
– Thich Nhat Hanh

A few years ago I realized that I was a terrible people-pleaser. And I set out to correct that. Over the last few years, I have been working very hard on “sticking to my guns.” The hardest work of all has been learning to say “no”. But it’s been so liberating and has increased my well-being tremendously.

So when I realized this week’s Bliss Habit was “flexibility”, I was a little bit conflicted. I’ve become a firm believer (no pun intended) in examining my internal barometer and appropriately acting on it.

So I sat with the word “flexible” for a while. The first things that came up were words like “doormat”, “flakey”, and “pushover”. Yikes! I don’t know when and where I got “flexible” confused with being a total sycophant, but it was a startling discovery.

So I tried a different tactic- I tried to conjure up a PHYSICAL image in my mind of what I thought “flexible” might be. And what immediately came to mind was someone doing yoga. And there’s NOTHING negative about that.

The image I saw in my mind was of a human body flexing itself into beautiful, complicated poses. The “yoga body”, at least to me, is one of impeccable strength and balance. The “yoga body” has better posture than anyone else you will meet. The “yoga body” decides *when* it’s time to be ramrod straight and when it’s time to flex. The “yoga body” is one of thoughtfulness and care, never rushing into a pose, but gracefully flowing into position, in gentle, but strong, waves.

Just for reference: I don’t practice yoga. I’ve long been fascinated by it, but I have enough on my plate with my intense swimming schedule. However, I read a lot about it and eagerly celebrate it. I just don’t actually participate in it.

Anyway, here’s my point in all of this: if I look at “flexibility” through the “yoga body” lens of my mind, I realize that being flexible in life isn’t about weakness or “floppiness” or being *too* pliant.

Instead, being “flexible” becomes about choice.

Meaning, if I am “flexible” in life, it means I have the ability to DECIDE what “position” to take. If I am “flexible” in life, it means I can take stock the situation, think about the possibilities, and decide which one is right for the situation I’m in.

Being flexible doesn’t mean I will bend at someone’s will. It doesn’t mean I’m a pushover. It simply means I have the freedom to decide which position to take from a wide variety. And if that ultimately means I choose to be INFLEXIBLE about a certain situation, so be it.




…. Oh, and don’t forget!

Bliss Habits will be starting up an interactive book club on the first week of October. The first book is “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron, which is hailed by many as *the* go-to book for both creative people and those wishing to bring more creativity into their life. It’s also been known to be a bit of a challenge, since there’s lot of exercises, ideas, and discussion material in the book.

So each week, on Tuesday, we’ll be discussing one chapter of the book and then carrying the discussion into the comments and on the Bliss Habits facebook page. We’ll be sharing reactions, responses, inspiration, questions, and just generally working through the book, one chapter at a week, as a community. I truly hope you’ll join us. It’s a great opportunity to “do” the book in a focused and organized way, and really have the benefit of a supportive community that’s along for the ride with you. Even if you’ve read it before, please consider giving us the benefit of your expertise!

It all starts October 2nd, 2012.

Chel Micheline is a mixed-media artist, curator, writer, and avid gardener/reader/swimmer who lives in Southwest Florida with her husband and daughter. When Chel’s not making art or pondering the Bliss Habits, she’s blogging at (come say hi!) or posting new things in the gingerblue etsy shop.

2 thoughts on “the freedom of flexibility

  1. As a recovering-people-pleaser…This really spoke to me. I have been trying to be more flexible with the all kinds of different people I encounter and deciding on how best to proceed in any given situation, and listen to myself more in the situations. Great observations and insights shared, Chel!

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