Tuesday, April 1, 2014

An Expansive Life

Challenge yourself to 
do one courageous thing every day. 

Katherine Martin wrote, “Courage has many faces: challenging injustice, breaking barriers, reaching out, being vulnerable, being different, persevering against all odds . . . just for a start.”

I would add to that list, *being seen*.  Allowing myself to be seen, really seen, is an extremely vulnerable and courageous act. As such, it is not an easy thing to do. It requires stepping out of one’s comfort zone.

When I speak of being seen, I mean the beautiful *and* the not-beautiful. The neat and tidy about ourselves and the not so neat and tidy. The messy. The unfinished. The I-haven’t-got-this-all-figured-out parts of ourselves.

Author Anaïs Nin said, “Life shrinks or expands according to one’s courage.”
What is an expansive life? What is a shrinking life? I don’t know what  Anaïs had in mind when she said this, but I do know that for me an expansive life sure sounds a whole lot more interesting and rewarding than a shrinking one.

I was raised with scarcity thinking. I was programmed with an all permeating not-enoughness kind of lens through which to view and experience my world. I’ll tell you right now, it’s crap. I mean crap as in a diminishing and unfulfilling way to live, and crap as in a false, bullshit message to live by.

The question is, am I willing to risk being seen, really seen, in order to expand my life? You bet your ass I am. Right here. Right now. Tell-the-truth-faster kind of being seen. Yes, those truths that might repel. Truths that might offend. Truths that might “hurt other’s feelings” (whatever that means, but that’s a post for another time). Telling the truth faster about what I really want, what I really think, what I really feel requires that I trust the other person to take responsibility for their own feelings.

As a girl I was taught that a good and kind and loving woman *manages* other people’s feelings. She takes responsibility for how another feels. She does this by changing and monitoring who she is in a multitude of small ways in order that others might be more comfortable.

No more. Not my job. Not even possible. Even more so, it creates martyrs and manipulators of women. That’s not a happy place. It’s a bitter place. It is a place of scarcity, and now we have circled right back around to where I began. An expansive life, or a shrinking one?

I want a life of abundance, and that means I have to be willing to dare greatly, call up my courage, bring ALL of who I am. In doing that I am saying to myself, “I AM ENOUGH.” Now, *that’s* what I call living from a place of abundance!