There are more than one meaning that can come to one’s mind when we refer to “the edge”. Here, what I will be referring to is that zone in our lives that requires for us to stretch. When we get to stretch and challenge ourselves we then have an opportunity to grow. If you are curious about what it is, the edge is made crystal clear in Baron Baptiste’s book “Journey into Power” and how it applies to the practice of Yoga. Let us explore what it looks like in a broader context.
You probably heard the expression “comfort zone” already several times in your life. You are also probably aware of what that comfort zone is for you, or maybe not. As much as this concept sounds appealing if you think about it for a minute you can see that it has also its limitations. The comfort zone is a restful and peaceful place where undoubtedly it is good to spend some time to recharge our batteries. We cannot be all about slaying dragons and conquering the world 24/7.
However, we have a tendency to get restless. Not everyone dreams of experiencing the daily humdrum. Life feels meaningless to many of us when there are no challenges, no projects or opportunities. We all come to dream laying in the sun on a white sand beach or take a short nap on the couch. Especially when we are caught in a frenetic life of numerous activities. Yet, only a few people would find it truly satisfactory to build a whole life based on fare niente.
Also, the more time we spend in the so-called comfort zone and the more it tends to shrink. The less we challenge ourselves to expand outside of what we know well and the more our lives become constricted and uncomfortably small. It only creates a false sense of security and lulls us in a form of sleepiness where we fade and disappear. Our self-esteem dissipates and our fears grow. This is because we confuse peace with “uneventful”. We believe that if we retreat in quiet lives we will enjoy inner peace when inner peace is a state that needs to be cultivated and where we can remain in the face of most of the events that occur in our lives. The way to cultivate that inner peace is by finding our own edge and spending some time in it.
What is this edge you may ask. Well, it is like in yoga or any physical activity for that matter. There is a place where you are comfortable and the move or pose feels effortless. If you stay there you will never progress. However, you do not want to push yourself TOO hard either. If you never run it may not be wise to go out and run a marathon. Such an extreme choice would have no benefit. You would injure yourself and most probably discourage any future attempts to go for a run. So, what would be the point? On the other hand, by challenging yourself to get out of the house for a walk, then run and progressively increase the intensity of your efforts following a program that takes in consideration your strengths and weaknesses you will be on your way to build a practice that conveys to you a sense of accomplishment and that participates in keeping you in shape.
Personally I do not run. I love yoga. It teaches me to listen to my body and where are its limits at a given moment. In every posture I look for that edge where I push myself just enough to progress, gain flexibility or/and endurance and at the same time I have to accept that I may not do as well as the day before or that I cannot do the full version of the pose yet and avoid hurting myself.
Finding the edge definitely applies to life in general. We are meant to express ourselves, grow and evolve. It is by getting to know ourselves and challenge what we think our limits are that we grow stronger. We become more confident that we can not only manage our lives but also create the existence that is most meaningful to us. It comes back to the living a life by design rather than a life by default.
As you have understood by now, the edge is where you challenge yourself without harming yourself. You take some form of calculated risk, you dare to be creative and express something personal. Whether you seek new clients for your business or suggest a new activity to the members of your family it will move some energy. It can be also the opportunity to seek answers from deep within and confront unresolved matters. There are many ways of stepping out of the comfort the zone and finding the edge. The only requirements are a willingness to grow and acknowledge the limits. If you find a way of enjoying the process you will be living an extraordinary life.