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Expansion & Contraction

Let’s stay open to receive the gifts life is offering us everyday!

How we perceive our daily interactions has a lot to do with our ability to open and receive the good that awaits us. What gets you feeling contracted? SOO many things can and do, right?!  The darkening skies, worry, self-doubt, illness, judgement, injury, staying crazy-busy, powerlessness; contraction happens!

That thing where momentarily or long term, we shut off from connection, hunkered down like a wounded animal or lashing our in fear and anger. Contraction is human and usually triggered by outside influences beyond our control. Yoga philosophy calls this Avidya (roots of suffering).  These roots have branches in the form of fear, avoidance/refusal, ego & attachment that keep us small and can prevent us from seeing things as they truly are.

So, what if we simply noticed when we were hooked and sat with it before reacting? Sure, we’d sit in the discomfort for awhile, and ugh! But…..contraction & resistance always has something to show us if we stop to listen. If we can give ourselves a moment and let that discomfort sink in or move through us, we may be able to make the choice to expand again and stay open to receive something more useful.  When we contract, we separate ourselves from the ability to connect and receive what we may not even know we need.

Recently, I’ve been spending my time fluctuating between contraction and expansion  My son suffered a tragic car accident in Ecuador at the end of Sept and we gratefully got him home just in time for surgery and before the whole country went into lock-down with city-wide protests and airport closures. The emotional rollercoaster ride of stress, fear, doubt and frustration led to my world completely contracting once we finally got him home for surgery and round the clock care. He’s going to be fine now and we’re certain he’ll make a full recovery, thank goodness. For all of life’s mysteries and miracles, that fact that I can see a thousand silver linings in this otherwise harrowing story, gives me immense gratitude for my own spiritual journey.  I am able to both witness and experience the suffering, be in the contraction, but stay open enough to receive the support, information and care we’ve all needed in order to be 100% present for my son. The old me would have shut out the world and hunkered down to do all the things myself and it would have left me empty and lonely.

What we focus on expands. So, if we stay in contraction, we stay in the darkness, disconnected, and our focus remains negative and self- destructive. When we choose to shift into expansion, we stay in light, connected and we’ll tend to view situations with more emotional flexibility and open-ness.

Try this 1 week challenge:  3 Steps to Openness

  1. Fully tune in for one week and practice noticing every time you contract and notice what triggers it: anger, fear or judgement, perceived slights against you, embarrassment,  the weather, shame, sadness, etc…and write it down, every time you notice. (if you’re driving, speak it into your phone)
  2. Once you bring your awareness to it, ask yourself if it’s useful. How is it serving you? IS it serving you at all? (btw, when something isn’t serving you, it feels like crap, that’s how ya know it’s not serving)
  3. Choose to flip the script. Breathe deep, expand the space around you heart, let out your breath and release contraction. Stay open.

At the end of the week, write down what you noticed, see if there’s a pattern.  Did you/do you feel different about the world around you, about the people in it, and about yourself?  This might be compassion…….

love, love and more love,

jenny

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2 Comments

  1. Laura C on October 20, 2019 at 8:37 pm

    Thanks for the challenge Jenny. I’ll give it a try. It makes sense to me. I think many can benefit from this approach.

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