In our lives, minds, and bodies, we are constantly somewhere along a spectrum of two opposites: sensations like hot and cold, experiences like hungry and satiated, moods like calm and anxious, etc. Of the opposites we experience, expansion and contraction are happening at different rates and degrees throughout our lived experience at all times. When we are stuck in beliefs that no longer serve us, that is a contraction, and when we have an aha! moment and create new neural pathways, that is an expansion. When we are cold, our physiology contracts and when we are hot, our physiology expands. With every single breath we take, we are moving through the spectrum of expanding on the in-breath and contracting on the out-breath.
Often, contraction is seen as the more negative of the two, but we need both and just like everything else that is energy in the universe, these two opposites are neutral and both essential for balance and thrive. In fact, the contraction allows for expansion. We must completely exhale in order to be able to completely inhale, for example.
When we stay at either end of the spectrum for too long, it is detrimental to our ability to be in rhythm in our minds, bodies, and lives. Too much time spent in action brings burnout and too much time spent in stillness brings stagnation. When we can recognize where we are on the spectrum, we can begin to bring ourselves back into rhythm.
In our lives and in healthy pulsation, expansion is represented by growth, action, and evolution beyond who we have been. Contraction is represented by stillness, reflection, and recalibration. We can assess, plan, and create intention in contraction to be able to move mindfully and in alignment with who we are aiming to be in the action of expansion.
This can happen on both micro and macro levels simultaneously within us. At this moment, we are all in multiple versions of expansion and contraction all at once. We are flowing from one pole to the other in our breath, in our thoughts, in our emotions, in our physical experiences, in our relationships, in our energy levels, in our action toward goals, etc.
When we take the time in contraction to observe and to plan, we can aim toward the target we are wanting to hit. From there, we can create small, aligned actions that take us toward our goal in expansion. Our actions can push the limits of who we have been or they can keep us stuck. But, if we are expecting growth in a specific direction without the mindful observation and planning on where we want to go, our chances of reaching the target are low.
The bad news is that we can get mired down in the comfort zone of how we have “always done things”, close ourselves off to new perspectives and growth, and get stuck in contraction. The good news is that we have the power to create a plan of aligned action if we take advantage of the contraction phase as a recalibration and preparation period before expansion.
We must also acknowledge that our culture funtions in extremes and coming into the mindful pulsation of honoring what we need and moving through the entire spectrum of contraction to expansion and back again may feel and be counter to what others around us are doing. So, we must also make the choice to take action toward what is best for us rather than aligning with what others are doing or what others expect us to do.
So, where are you right now on the spectrum between expansion and contraction in your thoughts? In your body? In your relationships? In your beliefs? I invite you to observe your own pulsation in all ways this week and use the stillness of contraction to better aim toward who you want to be in your actions.
I will be practicing right along with you.
Chat again soon,