Recently, I have been feeling a contraction within me, an elision that feels distinctly different to my full, expansive self. This is not a new experience; what is different, however, is how I feel about it. An internal shift like this used to bring with it confusion and discouragement and seemed antithetical to the progress I thought I was making. But I now know that sometimes this is the way things work.
Like a caterpillar that confines itself to a tiny cocoon before it grows wings and flies, we too experience the darkness before the dawn.This is the ebb & flow of life.
Sometimes our lives contract before they expand. We may be working hard to understand and accept ourselves, doing meaningful work, feeling grateful for what we have, yet still have the experience of tightening--of drawing back.
In the past when this happened, I would spend incredible amounts of energy and time trying to understand where things went "wrong" or what I did to cause this shift. Then one time, exhausted by the mere idea of all that efforting, I surrendered. I welcomed in the sensations and chose to be patient and observant. I resolved not to "do" anything and instead to just be.
It only then, through the act of making space for that experience rather than rejecting or denying it, that the tightness softened and my body-mind, in a sense, exhaled.
A teacher once said that this experience is just like a baby making its way down the birth canal. The baby may feel squeezed and pushed and very uncomfortable, but their on their way to birth, to a whole new reality.
All beings surrender to this process of being born. And when we remember that caterpillar that preceded the butterfly or the dark skies that preceded morning light, hopefully we can be inspired and invite in a sense of peace and ease--a trust in the flow of things. Then, we may just find that in that surrender lives a willingness to trust in the unknown as we make our way through the opening.