The creative journey isn't always easy.
While the soul longs for growth, exploration, and expansion beyond our current boundaries, sometimes this can stir up a lot of uncomfortable feelings.
Exhilaration and fear come from the same place.
It can seem like we're being pulled into two different directions--toward growth (excitement, stimulation, new experiences)--and also towards staying planted firmly where we are (safety, comfort, familiarity, routine).
Before going into seeker mode, pushing past what is familiar, embarking upon adventures of the spirit, it's helpful to first ground ourselves, and find our center.
That means, taking a mindful approach, by bringing the awareness within, knowing what feelings and sensations and thoughts are emerging in the present moment. Bringing the focus to the current reality, the reality of being supported and held by the Earth, pulled to it like a magnet. And tuning into the breath, which is constantly there for us.
Begin always, by remembering your connection to the source of all Life.
This is how to maintain a sense of safety, support, resource and connection, no matter where you are or what's happening.
Growth and change are necessary, beautiful, and often scary experiences.
I just made a big life change:
I moved to Portland, Oregon from Phoenix, Arizona.
I came by myself, without knowing anyone here.
In terms of culture, lifestyle and environment, it's a huge change.
I gave up my car. I walk and take the bus to get around this unfamiliar city.
I get lost a lot. I make mistakes. I don't do things perfectly. I get confused and disoriented and turned around. I feel pain and discomfort. My feet and legs hurt from walking more than I am used to. Sometimes I feel frustrated. Sometimes I am afraid. I've gone far beyond my comfort zone.
And it's all OK.
In my transition, I'm staying mindful and very aware, taking care of myself so that I don't get so overwhelmed that I shut down and hide, and so I maintain a sense of safety and comfort within myself . . . no matter how lost I may feel, in the external world.
I've stepped-up some familiar practices, my tools to help me.
Mindfulness--awareness of my thoughts and feelings, without becoming attached to them . . .
and Yoga--physical and breathing exercises that enhance my well-being on many levels.
In both practices, the breath is the focus, because it is always there, and so that is a good anchor.
It's helpful to think about the concept of expansion and contraction, both with the breath, and with our lives.
There is no such thing as inhalation without exhalation.
And there is no such thing as exhalation without inhalation.
Sometimes we think we just want to grow and grow and grow, and never shrink and contract.
But this is not possible. This is not balanced.
The natural way is: we grow a little, we put our attention outward, reaching, stretching, opening, being active. And then we bring everything back to our center, we contract, we close.
Just the same way as our lungs expand and contract when we breathe . . .
And then we expand again, and we contract again, and we can play with those boundaries and stretch a little farther each time, and get more comfortable being with the discomfort of growth . . . breathing into it and opening to it.
Life requires both expansion and contraction.
In my new city, I can spend time reaching out, seeking, meeting new people, putting my attention and energies "out there."
And then, I can spend time going within, returning to my center, to my internal "home" where I feel safe and secure, and integrate all of those experiences.
This is a healthy way to grow.
It's a delicate balance, and I don't always get it right. But with awareness, I am taking good care of myself, loving myself through the challenging moments and feelings that come up.
Practice this sense of returning to your center, and finding your peaceful stillness there, whenever you are going through growth and change.
Can you hold yourself in a loving space within, and pause, and breathe, until you feel ready to expand once again?
Please watch this video of a flower opening and closing, for a visual of what I'm talking about: