Conscious Contraction

Have you been in tIMG_4665hat place where your outward life commands one thing from you, but your inner world is demanding another?  It isn’t an easy place to be.  The discord usually causes some sort of dis-ease, which could show up as confusion, exhaustion, getting sick, relentless stress and anxiety, or other things that feel awful. 


To some extent you live this way all the time, there are things “outside” of yourself to do and take care of, and you also constantly need to care for your own physical, mental, and emotional needs.  Sometimes your life waxes more toward the outward stuff, you are more in the going, doing, expressing, and sometimes your life wanes to the inward, you desire more quiet, solitude and rest.  Ideally there is a gentle and natural ebb and flow. 


When your life circumstances are such that both the inner and outer needs amplify simultaneously this can cause a particularly interesting situation.  When this is not cared for consciously it can also amplify the complications.


Several traditions call the outward, doing, expressive energy yang and the inward, quiet, more still energy yin.  Can you feel this in your life?  Can you feel the times when you are more “out there” more in the going and doing, and times when you are more “inward” more reflection, more self-care?  This can also be seen as expansion and contraction.  


So a little personal story…over the past few weeks I have been more in “yang”  in “outward” energy, in “expansion”.  I have been shouting from the rooftops my passion for my body of work, and letting people know about the free course that I just taught.  Smack-dab-middle of teaching the course, I was hit with some serious grief.  Life gave me one of those things that stripped me of any way to filter the emotions, practical life changes, and full potency deep sadness.  Have you been there?


The massive potency of a life change and the intensity of emotions work their way through your system, potentially showing you deep fears, and even more scary…EGO.   Fears and ego like to stay hidden because they like to feed on your confidence, your hopes and dreams, even your capacity to care for yourself.  So when fear and ego are blasted into exposure like that, it takes a strong and flexible constitution to be in that without collapsing.  


The alternative is to seek an alternate reality, because this is INTENSE.  Thats when there is a tendency to numb out, check out, or act out.  You might drown your self in alcohol, or ice cream, or shopping, or make a spontaneous and radical life change.  I know you know the feeling.


So what is the other option?

Consciously contraction.  


In conscious contraction you KNOW you need to go within, you allow that with full permission so you can stay steady in this intense place.  When you have the stability in your system to handle the cataclysmic energy of yin meeting yang, you have potential to catapult yourself into your next best self.  THAT, my friends, is what I want to talk about.  Handling your stuff, and consciously being outward and inward.


Nothing prepares you for the kind of life space where you just feel like you wish you were in “Eternal Sunshine Of the Spotless Mind” and can just erase the pain, erase any experience that causes you pain.


Conscious contraction means you decide to place extra attention on the inward energy, to get quiet and still, to do your self-care (even if you don’t really feel like it) in order to satisfy the inward need.  This way it is YOUR decision how those inner needs are met, and life doesn’t have to knock you down and force you into stillness for the time being. 


In my extended moment of acute grief, I didn’t get knocked down, I decided to get quiet.  See, if you don’t handle these things consciously, these things “handle” it for you.  I know in the past times like this when I haven’t handled it so consciously, I have gotten sick, like can’t get up off the couch, my eyeballs hurt, delusional fever kind of sick.  That is “unconscious contraction”.  When you don’t handle your inward and outward energy consciously, life puts you on the couch.  And doesn’t let you up for days and days.  I’ve been there.



One of the things that makes you sick is over extending.  Giving more than you have to give.  I have a serious inner-giver.  I thrive on giving.  It’s my thing.  And I know deeply that I cannot give without fueling myself.  I have made this my thing…not to give without having a full tank.  



My conscious contraction looked like  salt and essential oil baths,  calling best friends,  staying home with my kids,  eating simple foods, and not drinking alcohol.  I chose my communication very carefully, not engaging in anything that felt “extraneous”.  I bought myself flowers  This is not easy folks.  Even for this home-body, I have an “outgoing” personality.  I am that kind of Aeries.  Conscious contracting is not for the feint of heart.  


Like I said, fear and ego love this stuff, and have a field day knocking you down, and deciding to override that consciously is big.


Sadness, distress, and stress all suppress the immune system.  They lower your threshold to physically tolerate the bugs.  When you consciously contract, you boost your resiliency.  


Tune in to your inward and outward selves.  Get super savvy around your needs.  Navigate them consciously.  I hope that my experience, my story sheds some light on how you can handle your life circumstances with awareness.  I’ve been working it for years.  I’ve been through the wringer.  I know you’ve been there too.


Consciously contracting…how does that land for you?  Do you “do” that?  (It’s more of a being thing.)  How can you practice that in your own life?  It takes creating the space (which doesn’t have to mean a lot of time.)  How can you honor both your outward and inward energy?  Can you go consciously more one direction, then another?  Can you consciously blend them when your true desires call for that?


I would love to hear your experience and your inquiries in the comment section below.  



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  1. Rosie says:

    Thanks so much for this blog. This really answers the question that I sent to you last week. I’m a big nurturer and it’s really hard for me to NOT give but I find myself doing so and draining myself in the process. This is a great reminder that I need to fuel myself and that I’m in charge of that.

  2. Jessie says:

    YES! Fuel yourself and you are in charge of that. And it is so sweetly satisfying to fulfill that responsibility. Thanks for marking that here!

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