You know that feeling of excitement, growth, love, and opening? That's the expansion. And that feeling when things go wrong and you just can't access that feeling of ease? That's the contraction. How about that feeling where nothing's happening, and your'e not sure it ever will? That's the stasis or preparation.
I wanted to give you the framework of The Expansion Cycle to play with. You can see it at work in pretty much every area of life. It's been very helpful for me and my clients since my friend and teacher CC shared it with me.
The truth is that you can't expand forever. It's fun to grow and learn and expand in all directions, but the expansion is just one phase of the cycle.
Expansion will always be followed by some kind of contraction. That contraction could be sadness, misfortune, anxiety, tiredness, or anything else on the negative-feeling side of the spectrum. If you know the contraction is coming, then when it arrives, you can recognize and accept it for what it is instead of feeling like your life is over simply because your expansion is over. The contractions get easier when you know they're coming. And they don't have to be super hard or super bad. They're just "worse" than the expansion.
Preparation follows contraction and precedes expansion. I usually know I'm in the preparation phase because I feel bored. I'm wondering when things will liven up for me. In the past it was probably when I would do some trouble-making because I was feeling restless. But I've learned to really value this time and make the most out of it by resting and checking in with myself. Do I have any unanswered questions that I can reflect on? What patterns can I notice shifting? What have my last few weeks been like?
All of these phases can happen at different intensities. Don't catastrophize every contraction, elongate every preparation phase, or expect an expansion be over too quickly. Remain present for the ride. Observe the phases in your world.
The beauty of this framework is that it allows you to drop into acceptance about where you are in the cycle instead of spending unnecessary energy worrying about not being in another more desirable phase. The cycle will continue. You will not be in one phase forever. Before you know it, the next one always rolls along.
E: Retreat or conference where you learn and play and connect with like-minded people C: Integration when you get back home and everything feels ...less; or you get sick P: Boredom of "normal" life while you want for something to happen
E: Amazing conversation with a new friend where you feel SO much connection and excitement C: Social anxiety has you second guessing how you were perceived P: Worry passes and you return to a normal state (not expanded or contracted)
P: Plan wedding E: Get married! Honeymoon! C: First fight as married couple; did we do the right thing? P: Navigating the mundane together
Can you recognize this cycle in your life?
Once you start looking, you'll see it everywhere.
I encourage you to embrace the phases of your cycle. It's the way of the feminine to flow with them instead of pushing against or trying to control them.