Contraction vs Expansion
Contraction is a state of resistance, tension, a need to control or protect.
Expansion is a belief or faith that regardless the circumstance, all is well, and it is safe to be open.
Contraction is rigid and impermeable.
Expansion is soft and fluid.
Contraction feels like the weight of a bull elephant on your mind, heart, creativity, health, and self-expression.
Expansion feels like the lightness of a Monarch floating from flower to flower, exploring with openness and wonder.
There’s judgment and certainty in contraction.
There’s acceptance and curiosity in expansion.
Which state is most familiar to you?
There is so much in the world today creating states of contraction. Everywhere you turn we are being feed evidence of someone’s righteousness and another’s folly. We are being asked to believe or not believe. We are being challenged to show up and be heard, or to sit back and be silent. There is tension all around us, and it is nearly impossible to not let it in and feel the effects of it on our lives as a whole.
My partner likes to watch the news. He has found a local channel with a friendly, funny, and exuberant group of newscasters, and as far as news goes, they are fairly benign. Even so, for me, news creates a state of contraction.
But in truth, it is not the news that creates anything in me, it is my relationship to it that creates the contraction. I have a pre-existing judgment that creates an energy, and then each time I am exposed to the thing I have a judgment about, I find lots of evidence to reinforce that judgment, creating a sense of justification and righteousness about the news. And by default, about my partner’s enjoyment of the news.
I have no desire to change my judgment about the news, therefore, I likely never will. But I do desire to honor my partner’s enjoyment of it, and to coexist peacefully in a world that values the news. I also desire to be able to be exposed to the news and not go into a state of contraction. Let’s leave the bull elephant out of it, shall we?
So then, how can we stay open, and curious, and accepting in the face of our judgments?
It requires both CHOICE and ACTION.
First, we must choose. There is always a choice. Are we choosing the weightlessness of the butterfly or the crushing of the bull elephant?
I have made a conscious decision to honor my partner’s enjoyment of the news. And I choose to be able to hear the chatter and not allow it into my energetic realm. But choosing this without action is not enough.
Next, I must act in a way that honors my choices and allows them to succeed. So what does that look like?
Sometimes it is simply tuning into how much I love my partner. I pause in my judgment, take a deep breath and remember his essence – his wisdom, his spirit, his honesty, his humor. And from that place, no amount of chatter from the television can disrupt me. And in fact I find enjoyment and peace in his enjoyment of the news.
And then there are those days where we are both off-center. Maybe I wake up grumpy and he wakes up wanting some space, and then I hear the news come on. UGH!!!
All I want in those moments is silence, which I equate to peace. So then it is up to me to create it. Maybe all I need is to shut a door. Or go for a walk. Or roll out my yoga mat. Or step into a warm shower and bathe away my constriction.
Whatever the practice, if I want to honor my choice and commitment, it is up to me to take the action that allows me to coexist with the news and not judge those who enjoy the news. The news only has the ability to influence me if I allow it.
The […] only has the ability to influence me if I allow it to.
Insert your judgments, pet-peeves, and righteousness here: […]
I once was at a Carlos Santana concert, and in the middle of a song he brought everything to a halt and said the most remarkable thing:
Happiness is a choice.
In that moment, when I was feeling blissed out by the music and caught up in the euphoria of the crowd, his statement rang true and seemed almost obvious – Happiness is a choice.
But life is not always filled with blissful and euphoric moments. Life is all encompassing. For every love there is a loss. For every winner there is a loser. And for every moment of bliss there is a moment of devastation. That’s life.
We will be challenged. Our edges will be rubbed. And the difference between living in a contracted, protected state, or an expansive state of flow and wonder all comes down to what we choose, and how we act to honor our choices.
Check in with yourself right now. Take a deep breath and check in.
Can you feel constriction in your body, your breath, your mind? Or has it become so familiar you cannot differentiate it? Can you feel expansion, lightness, and ease? Which do you want more of? And what will you commit to in order to create it?
Not sure? Need support?
It would be a joy and a pleasure to support you. I have dedicated my life’s work to creating practices and experiences of expansion. Whether through the body, the breath, the thoughts or emotions, once a felt sense of expansion is developed, it becomes easier and easier to tap back into it when confronted with life’s challenges. If you are ready, I am here.