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Philosophy From Rubber Bands

Let’s talk about rubber bands.

These little round strips of rubber are kind of funny things.

They have always been in my life, but it was only recently that I considered their profound message.

Rubber bands were created to serve a function. Typically, the purpose of a rubber band is to bind or hold items together. The rubber bands can only do this when they are stretched. A rubber band that is not stretched will not be successful at holding anything together. If you want to group together 10 pencils with a with a stretched and taunt rubber band, the pencils will stay together. If you try to hold 10 pencils together by placing a loose and flaccid rubber band that has no tension or stretch around the pencils, the group of pencils will fall apart.

Rubber bands stretch. That is what they are designed to do. I would guess that the exact reason rubber bands were created was in fact, to stretch. When you purchase rubber bands, they typically come in containers with hundreds of them all thrown in the container together. Most of these rubber bands sit there, flaccid, waiting to fulfill their purpose. Sure… they are there… existing… but because they are not stretching, they are not fulfilling any purpose at all… they are just… there… existing…and probably waiting… and hoping… that someday, they will finally get the opportunity to stretch themselves and see what they are really capable of.

I would guess that there are some rubber bands in the container that are quite content just lying there… unused … and safe. Afterall, stretching can be quite scary. Stretching always implies you are going beyond where you have been. It is so much easier to stay where you are and where you have been. It is very easy to stay with what is familiar and comfortable. I bet anything some rubber bands stretching is a scary concept because it means leaving what they are comfortable with. I bet there are other rubber bands that are scared to stretch, because they may be afraid of discovering how much they are really capable of and how much they can actually do.

Regardless, I see how the concept of stretching could be scary to a rubber band. Some rubber bands would rather hide with the other unused rubber bands and avoid any type of stretching at all. This way, there is no risk. I imagine that some rubber bands would say. “No stretching, no breaking!” Which I suppose is true. Sometimes it’s good to play it safe… I guess. But I would also say these rubber bands that play it safe and avoid stretching are also not experiencing the joy that comes with a life filled with purpose and actualized potential.

A wise rubber band once said, “Only by stretching yourself beyond where you have been, can you begin to understand why you are here and what your purpose is.”

Who knew rubber bands could be so philosophical and insightful! I want those kinds of rubber bands holding my Sharpies together.

Article by Quinn Akira Takei, Doctor of Oriental Medicine(NM), Licensed Acupuncturist, Chinese Herbalist, and Holistic Health & Wellness Coach. The Center: Natural Health Specialists, 8404 Six Forks Road, Suite 201, Raleigh, NC 27615. (919) 848-0200.

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