As I have been playing with Expansion this month, I’ve realized that periods of rest and restoration are an essential aspect of Expansion.
This is, in a way, counterintuitive to me.
However, if you look at nature, there are cycles of renewal and expansion. Tulips owe their blooms of brilliant color to the restoration process that the bulbs go through during the off season.
I believe that Expansion for us is similar. There are periods of regeneration that support our Expansion. And, those cycles of renewal are a necessary aspect of our Expansion.
So, Expansion does not equal productivity.
This may be obvious, but it wasn’t to me. For some reason, I had been thinking that if I am growing and expanding, it means that I am producing at a steady and energetic pace. And, that the reverse was also true: if I am producing at a steady and energetic pace, I am expanding.
I now believe that we are still expanding during quieter cycles of renewal and reflection, but that it just looks different. These are times of inner expansion, and in these times of quiet and inner connection, we are deepening the foundation that is also part of expansion. We are expanding in an inner sense. This Expansion may not be visible on the outside.
I learned this through my experience in the Direct Watercolor Challenge that I mentioned in this blog post. I’ve been expanding in many ways through producing a painting and sharing it every day. The Challenge has pushed my skills and tested my commitment.
But during the month, I have needed to have several cycles of contemplation and “step-back”, to renew my faith in myself and my courage to keep going, and to understand the nature of my commitment to the process. I needed to keep asking myself what was inspiring my continued engagement and commitment. I needed to refocus my intentions for the project several times during the month. I needed to keep digging deep for the courage to post the “failures” as well as the “successes”. (Turns out they were all successes from the standpoint of the process, as opposed to the outcome, of course.)
In the process of this exploration of Expansion, a question arose in me, which I will share with you, because it is still an open question for me, and I’m very curious about it. If restoration time is an essential part of Expansion, how do you know the difference between a restoration cycle, and inner resistance to Expansion?