Are You Expanding or Contracting?


Are you pushing yourself outside your comfort zones? Are you expanding your heart and your spirit further into bettering yourself and others? Are you living in fear of failure, or pushing through the fear to see what’s on the other side? Are you willing to make mistakes, or do you stop yourself before you even try? 

This is almost a love letter to myself right now, because I need to hear this advice, so I’m going to give it you, in hopes perhaps my own psyche will absorb it by osmosis along the way!

It seems my natural instinct is to contract, although this instinct has only become more inherent in me since all these gobs of loss began in my life three years ago. I’ve been a bit like a turtle recoiling in my shell, believing that  things would be better in my safe zone within.

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Time spent turning within has certainly been necessary, vital, and thoroughly beneficial for the health of my soul, and I do believe that in order to change the world, we have to start with ourselves. But, there is also something to be said for turning without, for following the course of our instincts as they lead us to expand our lives, our futures, our dreams, our hopes, our simplest ideas of day to day “extraordinary ordinary.”

Expanding can be scary, because we may be called to expand in new directions that are unknown, thus uncomfortable, unfamiliar, and scary. But, what is life if we are simply a stagnant pond? What is life if we sit still, if we never move forward, into new unknowns?

I’ve been willing to move to new homes, start new lives again and again, rebirth myself through endless loss experiences. But, I’ve been terrified – blisteringly TERRIFIED – to expand fully into myself: to stand up and say, “This is why I’m here, I have something to share, I hope you can take something from me.”

I DID SOMETHING BRAVE AND SCARY

See, a few months back, right before I found out that I was pregnant, I did something big, brave, and scary. I thought about telling you about it…but, of course, I was afraid of failing in front of you (haha, there’s that old ego popping in again, petrified of being diminished in any way, large or small. Pesky bugger!).

I started to plan a workshop/seminar teaching a simple, intuitive process to finding peace in pain, that I’ve uncovered through all these experiences of loss and grief. I’ve honed this process as I’ve gone through all these losses, adding to it with each one. By the fifth devastating loss I had, I had fallen into a rhythm with this process which profoundly empowered me through all my subsequent struggles.I took a HUGE LEAP, and submitted a proposal for a Grief Conference, which pushed me so far outside my comfort zones I scared myself every day I was working on it. It was great! Exhilarating! Terrifying – in a good way!

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I pushed past all my fears that normally would’ve stopped me so many times along the way, and I did something amazing.

Then, I went back in my shell to hide.

WHY STOP THERE?!

I thought, “Who am I? Who am I to say I have something to teach anyone else? What will they think of me if I get up there and share my truths? I don’t have any letters after my name! I don’t know anything about the psychology of grief! I’m just a regular ole’ Joe who thinks she figured a thing or two out along the way!”

So, that’s where I’ve been sitting for the last few months. As I’ve simultaneously hibernated through the first tormenting trimester of pregnancy, I’ve also been sitting in contraction.

I’m not afraid of more pain, more hurt, more loss, more moves, more deaths, etc. I’m afraid that I might not do right with the gifts I’ve been given. I’m afraid I don’t have the worldly qualifications to stand up and say, “Here, here is my gift to you…take it, use it.”

But, isn’t that kind of dumb?! 

Last night, after a wonderful day in nature floating down the creek, soaking up sun and serenity, I was driving home thinking about all this…about how I had started to step out on a leap of faith and how death-defying that had felt, and how I had just stopped, and frozen, right on that cusp of something amazing.

Driving along, it hit me like a brick through the windshield. What was it all for – 13 deaths, four difficult moves, a miscarriage, financial struggles, and years of meditating, writing, reading, and soul-searching, digging for gems in piles of sewer spoilage – what was it all for, if I don’t do something GOOD with it?

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TIME TO CHOOSE TO EXPAND

This little method I’ve come up with is something that could bring great healing to many people – it is simple, profound, and a path to peace that empowers us to feed and heal our own souls without needing others to do it for us. It could help heal your pain from a loss of any sort, it could help you just figure out why you fought with your spouse yesterday, or why you woke up on the wrong side of the bed today. It could help you make peace with a relative you haven’t spoken to in decades, it could help you find meaning and gifts in grief like I have.

But, only if I have the courage to share it…in person, in a room full of your bright, shining souls…willing to watch me fail, or succeed.

That conference wasn’t right for me, and I knew that from the beginning. But, I submitted the proposal because I knew I needed to develop the workshops and start offering them here, in my own backyard, on a smaller scale, where I can simply share my story with you, and hope you can take something from it.

So, I’m writing this, because it forces me to start expanding again. It holds me accountable to you, the beautiful souls who’ve come here to witness my journey and find something for yourself here. I’m not entirely sure how I’m supposed to keep expanding, but I’m going to try.

I’m so honored by you, by your presence here, and I’m terrified that I somehow won’t give you enough. I’m terrified of standing up in a room and telling you I have something to teach you.

But, I think I have to do it anyway.

__________________

Are you expanding or contracting? What are you most afraid of taking a risk on when it comes to your dreams? Is there ONE small step you could take to start pushing through your fears to find out what’s on the other side? Let me know what you find when you get there…

 

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