Are contracting, or expanding?

Let’s just say you’re in a spot where it feels like everything that used to work for you isn’t working any more. You can feel so acutely how uncomfortable you are in your current reality-whether it’s your job, your weight, your relationship. And you’re so ready for a new, happier reality. You can see it. Heck, you can taste it. “Let’s do this,” you say to yourself.

So what’s the first thing you do?

Raise your hand if you decide to rein in all ‘unnecessary’ spending, so you have a cushion for when things get lean during the transition to come.

Or, you make a list of all the actions and behaviors you’re not going to do any more, such as “No more white bread and pasta,” or, “No more falling asleep on the couch.”

Or, you stay up late Googling all the classes, programs, or products you assume are the things you need to acquire in order to grow.

I used to do this constantly. When I’d start to feel like I was losing my way on the career front, or if I wanted something big – like a new apartment – I’d say to myself, “It’s time to pull in my horns.” That’s a phrase I learned from my grandmother, who learned it from her grandmother, and basically what it means is, stop spending money so you’re prepared when the shit hits the fan. And just like that, all hopeful momentum I had going screeched to a halt. I went from seeing a new reality taking shape to preparing for the worst to happen.

Deciding not to spend any money basically means deciding not to take any action. And action is the only way to get results. Holding your breath and minimizing your impact on the world is a sure way to stay where you are. And yet, that’s exactly what so many of us are taught to do when the going gets tough.

When you focus on what you aren’t going to do, or what you don’t have, you’re contracting. And contraction is the opposite of growth. (With the exception of giving birth, in which cases contractions are just what you need to create some wonderful and new!)

To create positive change, you’ve got to be moving toward something. What you focus on grows.

So, what are you focused on? Lack, or growth? Contraction, or expansion?

Money and Growth
Remember after 9/11, and George W Bush told us all to go out and shop to help save our country? At the time, I thought it was awfully short-sighted and misdirected advice. I thought, in the wake of this catastrophe we’re supposed to focus on things instead of people? But I’d like to go on record as saying I now agree with our 43rd president. When we decide to spend our money on things that are important to us, it triggers a host of great things:

  • We get precisely the help we need, when we need it, to the level of expertise that we truly require.
  • We make it possible for someone else to earn a living making the products or providing the service that uses their unique gifts.
  • We promote the free-flowing exchange of energy and, yes, money, that then enables the people we give money to turn around and do the same thing.
  • We get to influence the market and the economy by voting with our dollars for the products and services that we value.

Of course, it’s always nice to do and receive favors for people. That’s an important exchange of energy, too. But when you rely on it to the point that you never pay for goods and services – or pay as little for them as you possibly can – you stay in a contracted state. Intentional expenses equal expansion. Put another way, it takes money to make money. No one made a fortune by deciding to clip coupons.

The Milky Way gets a little bigger every day. Expansion is the way of the world – it’s what we were put on Earth to do. Choosing to be a part of the expansion has an impact on every part of your life.

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One thought on “Are contracting, or expanding?

  1. I love this post as it reminds me that the greatest gift I have given myself in my new life here in İstanbul is my own apartment. After over a year of sharing space with roommates – it was time and absolutely necessary for my growth and productivity to live.on.my.own! It’s been an interesting time financially (as I breathe through my fears and look for creative income-making strategies), but all in all I am so happy to be alone, quiet, and open to all the things I enjoy about life – including expanding into my new space. Thanks, Kate!

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