What does it mean to feel expansive? There is a lot of talk about a “bigger life” around here. I’m a life coach, so I’m in the business of taking areas where you feel small and making them bigger.
But I think it’s important to remember, especially as we shift into the winter season, that a bigger life doesn’t have to mean more.
Sometimes bigger is less.
What I mean by this is that you have the choice to go bigger by doing less, expecting less, searching less, aspiring to less, needing less, and buying less.
Often times when I’m working with a client, I’m asking them to reach further than they are comfortable and to believe in a greatness that they’ve not yet experienced because they are scared to go bigger with their job or their relationship (to self or others).
But perhaps I need to retire the word, “bigger”, because what I’m actually intending to help clients do is feel expansive.
Bigger has the feel of needing to get out and over whatever keeps you feeling small. Expansive also wants to get you out of whatever keeps you feeling small, but it feels more inclusive of all layers of your beautifully complex world.
Bigger has the weighty connotation of expectation of more. Expansive allows for clarification and release and breathing room in all the ways that serve you best.
Only you know what those are.
Expansive takes into account that you’ve probably given more than you’ve received this year, and in order to make some space internally, you’ve gotta create some breathing room.
So, maybe your “expansive” this season, is spending your free hours journaling and reading and catching up on naps you’ve missed over the years.
Perhaps your “expansive” is just making room to have free time at all.
Maybe your expansive is refining your list of people that you give your energy to. Rather than growing your community, you want to get really clear on who your few are and love them up with the extra energy you’ve spared in leaking love elsewhere.
Your expansive could be choosing to not do that one thing that you absolutely despise doing during the holidays. Giving yourself permission to skip that one thing will link other areas in your life where you have desperately needed permission to say “no.”
Your life will shift in deeply meaningful ways.
Expansive could mean giving your introverted self the patience and care it deserves. If your immediate reaction to an invite is “ugh”, that’s a no.
In fact, if it’s not a “hell yes!”, it’s a no. Period.
Allow your introvert to lead the way in your social commitments in the coming months. You’ll be surprised at how much more you get out of the things you do commit to when you let the other invites go with a “no, but thank you!”
If you’re having a tough time giving yourself permission to feel expansive through saying “no”, let me give you a few ideas:
~ Skip the baking
~ Ask to not trade gifts, and do a potluck and card game night instead
~ Ignore social media for the entire month of December
~ Go through your belongings with an eye for what brings you joy, and donate anything that doesn’t. Breathing room in your environment creates a internal spaciousness
~ Tap into your thought patterns and inner voice. Where there is conclusion, judgment and certainty – replace it with question
~ New Year Resolutions? Nah, I’ll pass
~ Call in sick. Even if you’re not
~ Keep the curtains closed. In the middle of the day
~ Don’t clean before they come. They’re there to see you, not to judge your dust bunnies.
~ Write “I am enough” on a post-its throughout your house. Or write it in lipstick on your mirror. Put one in your car, too
~ Let your kids watch another movie while you get a few more chapters in
~ Don’t wake before the sun. Unless you have a baby or a toddler, then I’ve got nothing for you on that one. (sorry!)
~ Cut your holiday budget in half. Go for meaning over quantity
~ Half what you would normally gift your children. They’ll be grateful anyway. And if you’ve got left over, start a savings fund for them. If you don’t have left over, you’re in good company with many other parents. Give yourself permission to be okay with that
Expansive. That’s what we’re going for this season. Go for the feeling of big open skies, even with the curtains drawn closed. Aim for the feeling of standing on a mountaintop, while under a blanket with a hot cup of tea. Go bigger by going inward. Go expansive by going smaller and doing less.
Tis the season for expansive.