Of late I have noticed an interesting phenomenon happening in my body. Expanding and contracting seem to best describe what it feels like. It’s a shift that originates in my core – in the center of me. My whole being expands, feels lighter, taller, fuller or I contract, fold in, release. It’s not a change in moments but in larger units of time and space. I don’t know if it’s perceptible to anyone though it’s bigness may be eye-catching. More than movement – this change inhabits my whole body and my attitude as well. Maybe it’s a different me. Is this what shape shifting really means?
What I know is that I can’t always identify a trigger for the change. And it doesn’t happen in an instant but more gradually over the course of hours or so it seems perhaps because I don’t recognize it right away. I try not to attach judgments either way – being contracted is not good or bad, expansion not better or worse. Each serves a different purpose – each is another way of being that serves me.
Being contracted is, of course, a more inward stance. My energy withdraws into my core and pools there. These are the times when I may be mulling or maybe not. Could be that the ideas or feelings need more space to rub up against each other. Sometimes it seems like a time of planting seeds and paying attention to what’s germinating. Never dull or numb but a place of richness and potential.
Then again there are definitely times when I choose the contracted way of being in order to conserve my energy. I told a friend recently that my body is keeping me honest – meaning that I pay attention to the messages my body gives when leaning into depletion. Checking in so I don’t push too hard. I’m past the youthful mindset of believing my actions won’t have permanent consequences. But I do realize that there can be a tendency to make up a story to rationalize my actions or contribute to the anticipation of potential outcomes that may not happen. And I’m old enough to be aware that fear can take up residence and give unhelpful advice.
What of the other way, that of expansion? It undoubtedly has intention in it as well as a sense of going forth. Stepping out and being fully present to the action undertaken. The quality of knowing, or at least knowing that you don’t know, and not letting that get in the way of acting. There is an ease and clarity of purpose, though stories can be made up here as well.
Both are equally significant and must be accompanied by awareness. I cannot live only in one way or the other. Expansion and contraction – It’s my life that hangs in the balance between these two.