Isn’t it the moment of most profound doubt that gives birth to new certainties? Perhaps hopelessness is the very soil that nourishes human hope; perhaps one could never find sense in life without first experiencing its absurdity. –Vaclav Havel
Contraction and expansion, one helps the other occur. They sort of go hand in hand. In much the same way they do during the process of childbirth. You feel the pains of contraction, which push the baby forward while causing the cervix to expand or dilate in order to allow the baby to move through the birth canal and out into the world. This, by the way, is an excruciating process for most women. You are, I’m sure, sitting at your computer reading this and wondering why I am talking about childbirth. Well, I bring it up to you as a way to clarify the sometimes very painful life experiences we call forth. I believe that often we call forth experiences on a soul level to heal and grow and expand.
Those experiences are oftentimes extremely painful and appear to contract our lives or tighten them with tough times and emotional suffering. What we may not understand is that this contracting experience is aiding us in birthing a whole new version of ourselves, a more expanded one. It is calling us to turn our focus inward and do the work our soul asked to do in this life. If we stay in tune with our heart and soul’s deeper knowing, we are able to be guided, knowing exactly how to expand and grow and birth a new way of being.
I’m not sure that any one of us has gotten through this thing called life without an experience or two that causes us to contract in pain. It could be divorce, the death of a loved one, financial loss, illness, etc., to mention just a few. Not to mention all the many little ways we inflict pain on one other through betrayal, dishonesty, emotional violence, etc. How will you use these experiences? Will you numb yourself and lose your connection to the process of your emerging new self? Or will you stay awake to it, attune to it, and allow it to guide you perfectly until you feel the urge to push this expanded self into the physical world?
All the major work of childbirth is happening internally. Once you push the baby out, it is a huge relief but up until then the process of getting there is all internal. So, it is with us. All the work is internal as we prepare to emerge as a truer version of ourselves. Hopefully, all that contracting pain has tuned us in to what needs healing and what needs uncovering. It points the way to where our personality/ego level has ruled our lives and what we can let go of on that level in order to allow the more expanded experience of love and higher consciousness to flood through. Maybe we need to give up or surrender our limiting thoughts, core beliefs and stories in order to uplift and change them. We can give birth to a whole new way of thinking about ourselves and our place in the Universe.
There is no doubt that these experiences change us, but depending on our perspective and level of awareness, it may change us for the worse. What I’m talking about here is not change, it is transformation, and there is a difference. If we choose to do the work and stay present to the pain in our life, we can use it wisely and it will transform us. Not only will it transform us, it will open us up and then what we thought was the end is only the beginning. Now we have in our midst new life to nurture and love and play in joy with. We give birth to the higher consciousness in us, allowing it to come forward and lead the way. This is quite different from allowing these experiences to change us by closing us down, hardening our hearts, living in our wounds, and ultimately projecting that pain onto the world as we interact with it.
I am in the midst of one of these contracting moments and I admit I’m struggling with it. The ego, or fear based consciousness in me wants to look outward and keep the focus on the others I feel are the problem. The higher part of me, however, wants to sink in and surrender knowing that the next evolution of my inner and outer life is trying to come forth. So, I’m staying conscious and giving myself a bit of a forceful nudge to go inward and shine the light on those places within me that are being triggered and coming up in not such a pretty way in order to be released. This particular contraction, I’m sure, will create something great within and without, and the experience of my life will be richer for having gone through it with open eyes and heightened awareness. I’ll ride the wave of this contraction, knowing that resisting it will only create more pain, and while Life has its way with me I’ll surrender to the greater version of me that I know is trying to make its appearance.