Friday, August 7, 2009
Expanding vs. Contracting
It seems that most people live their lives in one of two ways.....expanding or contracting. I realize both of these words represent action, although when considering these concepts within the context of living life, it appears contracting actually occurs as a result of doing nothing.
In taking a closer look at contracting, what appears to me is that when one chooses to no longer learn new things or be open to new people, places and experiences, or practices being present in each moment, their life contracts, or gradually diminishes in purpose and joy.
On the other hand when one expands, they embrace new things in their life on every level. Learning and growing beyond what they previously believed was their limit and stretching into new experiences and relationships creates an ever present joyful and purpose-filled life.
I believe many live a contracting life due to fear. They may fear the risk of losing the elements of their life that they're proud of or those that bring comfort. They may fear the possibility of failure or the potential disapproval of others. They may blame their age, health, physical limitations or obligations for their contracting. They may believe that it is easier to stay the same than to grow.
If the mere thought of expanding in your life makes you sweat, relax. Expanding does not mean you must give up all that you have already worked for or have become attached to. You can feel your life expanding simply by breathing, turning off the chatter channel in your mind and by practicing gratitude. Expanding joy in your life does not have to require leaving your job or your town, or your closest relationships. It can occur when you see yourself as being more than a body that works hard all their life, acquires a bunch of stuff, makes a lot of money, gets old, gets sick and eventually dies.
There is room for continued expansion for all of us, regardless of how long it has been since we have felt the thrill of being truly alive. It is my intention to expand in some way every day.....how about you?