As many of you know, each new year, I pick a word that I focus on. Usually, I start to see the word. It seems to magically appear. This year was different. I have been spending some time focusing on something that Esther Hicks calls contrast. Contrast drives us to want to change or experience something different in our lives. Contrast lies in both sides of the same coin…heads and tails. It is in the dark that we begin to desire and understand the power of the light.
People often come to me wanting more of something in their lives. More peace, joy, time, money…wanting more…expansion.
It seems that we focus on expansion as growth. We focus on the fun stuff. Always more. What seems to be ignored is the need for the space for change to happen in. We forget that growth also includes contraction.
Let’s look at our breath. The expansion (inhale) and contraction (exhale) of our lungs. Our breath also includes two pauses…each between the inhale and exhale. Those are the four parts of our breath cycle.
When we inhale, our lungs are filled with fresh, new air…it creates excitement. Our body then takes what it needs, exchanges what no longer serves and then releases it in an exhale…creating relaxation. We can play with our breath…changing the inhale, exhale and holds. They always must happen. Though the length of each part can change in length/time, the parts still MUST happen. You cannot continually inhale or exhale or pause.
What happens when you only practice one part? Like holding your breath or taking a pause. Things begin to get really uncomfortable! And whether you like it or not…the breath cycle always returns.
Let’s apply this concept as a metaphor to your life. Change happens on the expansion AND the contraction AND the pause (observation). Growth happens the same way! We cannot continue to only expand! We must also contract! We must also observe (pause). Contraction and observation happen whether we want it or not! And if we stay in an observation pattern for too long…you become uncomfortable and the cycle returns whether you want it or not!
Now have you guessed my word of the year?
For the first time, I have three words! The team for growth…expansion AND contraction AND observation!! This year I want to be more conscious of this cycle…expand, observe, contract, observe. I want to use this cycle to create a more mindful flow to my life. It means taking a good look around, what do I want to allow more of in my life, taking another good look around, what do I willingly let go of in my life…and allow this natural cycle to continue.
I invite you to look around your life…your physical, mental, spiritual, emotional space—and then just like we do in pranayama (breath work), begin to lead the direction of your life with EXPANSION, OBSERVATION, CONTRACTION.