If The Options Are Contraction And Spaciousness, Which Would You Choose?
“Everything we do is infused with the energy in which we do it. If we’re frantic, life will be frantic. If we are peaceful, life will be peaceful.”
— Marianne Williamson
Back in April (2018), I wrote a blog post about how I went (back) to a life of trust. I now realize I have been living like this before, but have lost the track of that path a few times. Which makes me all the more grateful to have found it once more.
You may wonder, though, what does a life of trust look like on a daily basis? It’s a nice concept, a happy and dreamy thought, but what about those day-to-day moments where trust seems to have slipped out of the door and fear stands in front of us instead?
Well, as trust is intangible so is acting upon it. Yup, it’s that “vague”, and you already know that.
That’s the thing with trust. It doesn’t come in a box. We either trust or we don’t. Half measures of trust only lead to confusing situations because we’re not sending out a clear signal.
So here’s how it works for me on a day-to-day basis.
When I come across a choice that makes me hesitate and become more aware of the options, I experience one of two feelings:
1. There’s the feeling of contraction, and of a certain amount of panic and resistance entering my thoughts (“What if…goes wrong?). Sometimes this is accompanied by a physical reaction such as breaking out in a sweat, a pain in my stomach, or a tensing up of my jaw and forehead;
2. There’s the feeling of spaciousness, and of a certain amount of joyfulness entering my thoughts (“Yay!”). Sometimes this is accompanied by a physical reaction such as butterflies in my stomach or butterflies around my heart (which is harder to put to words, but feels amazing!).
If the options are contraction and spaciousness, which would you choose? After reading these two feelings, which we could label under “intuition”, you’d think that it’s easy to make a choice: feeling #1 means “no”, feeling #2 means “yes”. That’s what those feelings communicate, indeed. As we all know, though, intuitive feelings come with a great deal of argument too. From the rational side of our mind, that is. Ego will not have it. It cannot be that easy!
So “no” turns into “What if you’re wrong?”, and “yes” becomes “Are you sure?”.
It has taken me several years to learn to listen and TRUST those two feelings – ignoring the utterances of my oh so smart, but often misleading rational mind. Why ignore ratio? Because ratio has gotten me into trouble, and intuition has gotten me into miracles.
I’m sorry if my several years of learning this discourages you, but you can take it as a lesson in trust: trust that you will manage this too, perhaps even quicker than I did. It is like exercising a muscle, and it takes daily practice to maintain the accomplished level of strength. Let me give you an example:
To attract investors and start the Centre for Conscious Connection – which is a big project in TRUST by itself! – I am writing a business plan. I started writing this plan about six months ago, and I can tell you now: time and trust often don’t get along well in the human mind. The number of six months may cause you to think that’s a very long time, and it’s still not done yet. I am about to start on one of the most challenging parts (for me) of the plan, which is the Executive Summary. About to, because I’m postponing. Procrastination? Another way of judging my (non-)action. You may call it what you like, here’s how it works for me.
For several days in a row I have been able to write almost non-stop. Ideas would flow in, words would flow out, and the Internet seemed designed to give me the perfect answers for every search query. And then, out of the blue, it stopped. I couldn’t sit still anymore, I couldn’t write “cleverly” anymore, I felt trapped in my own plan.
I soon realized, this is where the trust comes in: I know I can write one heck of an Executive Summary, but I also know I cannot force myself to do so. When I force myself, I lose the inspiration and I no longer work in-spirit.
So, I do nothing. I wait.
“But time…!”, “But you have to do SOMEthing!”, “But…” the old brain goes. I know, I know. This is not “normal”, this is not what society subscribes me to do – and yet, it feels so good to do (nothing). It is a clear example of a #2 feeling. I trust that the inspiration, the ideas, the writing will return to me. I trust that time is not under my control, yet the inspiration will arrive in time nonetheless. When that is, I don’t know. It’s not my job to know. It’s my job to start writing when that clear feeling hits me again.
This way of handling choices, whether big or small, may sound odd to you. Like I said, it’s not what society dictates. Society prescribes continuous action, the more struggle the better the result, and super glueing ourselves to the chair to finish writing that plan. Read the previous sentence I perceive a lot of fear, and no love. Mind you, love = trust.
I am not alone in this conviction. Marianne Williamson wrote an amazing book, called A Return To Love, which basically teaches us how to trust and love. I recently discovered an interview with singer Jewel (Kilcher), where she explains her version of trust. Jewel also describes similar signs of intuition, but labels them “lies” and “her truth”, to know where to go. And there’s my dear friend Marja Godvliet, founder of the WE Club, who has translated trust into “inspired action” and “slow is sexy”. If anything, our friendship is based on trust. I can confess my troubled mind to Marja, and not be judged for it. Instead, she will hold up a mirror-in-words, making me aware of my less loving beliefs and supporting my courage to trust even more. Moreover, she has recently created an Instagram video that summarizes this blog post. I invite you to watch it, and to feel the #2 of what I mean: