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Relaxing into Expansion

Relaxing into expansion is a concept that’s been coming up for me lately. At a time when so much is asking us to let go of the old and expand into the new it's something to strive for. But at first it seems like these actions are almost opposed to each other and could be quite difficult to achieve in tandem. Expansion requires moving into the unknown and with the unknown comes fears. How can we relax into the unknown even as fears come up?

A woman in a red dress soaring underwater with arms back and breath bubbles floating up from her mouth
Photo by Engin Akyurt

Recently I have been doing a body scan meditation where I speak the sensations I feel out loud as I scan down my body. As I came to my chest area the words, 'expansion and relaxation' came out as I attempted to describe the feeling of my breath. Expansion as I breathed in, and relaxation as I breathed out, it caught me off guard -- these were the words that have been coming up for me! The words I have been aspiring to achieve and here they were being effortlessly embodied in my breath. It was a profound moment of realization that my body has wisdom my mind struggles to understand.

"-- these were the words that have been coming up for me! The words I have been aspiring to achieve and here they were being effortlessly embodied in my breath."

I had convinced myself that relaxation and expansion were at odds with each other but they are actually inextricably linked. To my rational mind expansion feels active, masculine in nature, something we really have to do. Relaxation feels more passive, feminine in nature, and is embodied by not doing. Because of these different associations it seems hard to experience them at the same time, but in reality we cannot have one without the other. If we're tight expansion is not possible, if we're contracted we are not relaxed. Relaxation is the out flow to the in flow of expansion.

"Because of these different associations it seems hard to experience them (relaxation and expansion) at the same time, but in reality we cannot have one without the other."

There is no fear as we expand with the in breath because we are expanding within ourselves. When we expand into the world it feels as though we are expanding into the unknown, but is this true? How is expanding beyond ourselves also an expansion within? Is there a difference? As we expand outward are we not just experiencing more of ourselves? I don't have a definitive answer for these questions but they may be helpful as we are asked to expand beyond the known versions of ourselves and get to know new parts that feel like a stretch.

When we expand into the world it feels as though we are expanding into the unknown, but is this true? How is expanding beyond ourselves also an expansion within?

As we feel into and allow this combination of relaxing into expansion in our outer and inner worlds it opens up possibilities and has the potential of leading us to great joy in the newness to come.

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