When we break through our walls of limitation, we open our lives to expansiveness in body, mind and spirit — allowing our best selves to emerge.
What vision does expansiveness conjure for you?
There’s been a lot of talk of building walls this past year — walls to keep things in and walls to keep things out, a dance between perceived good and bad. Walls are isolating — whether they pertain to our emotions or our communities. We build them literally and figuratively. However, building walls doesn’t make something go away, be it a political issue or one of the heart. Building a wall to avoid the conflict, doesn’t make the conflict disappear. So what’s a wall to do?
Some try to create a fortress around their hearts in an effort to avoid the pain of feeling heartbreak or accessing their true emotions. Some play small in their careers to avoid facing their fear of failure or the criticism of others. Erecting walls can become almost second nature to us. And yet, it doesn’t prevent the heart from beating and the soul from yearning on a more profound level.
Walls or no walls, the soul marches to the beat of its own drummer.
At the beginning of this year, standing on the threshold of intention-setting, I declared to myself that this was going to be my year of ‘expansiveness’ — a time to break free. I had been emerging from a long period of restorative healing, a period of pulling the pieces of myself back together in an effort to reassemble them. This Humpty Dumpty had fallen off her wall. Though half of my life had been spent traveling the world, this past decade, for myriad reasons, had kept me relatively grounded, rooted in one location, leaving me feeling constricted. We often don’t realize we are amidst such a period until the stirrings of change whisper in our ear and nudge: pack your bags it’s time to bust-a-move. For me, expansiveness brought forth visions of travel. But that is simply my flavor. For you, perhaps it’s a different flavor.
My soul had been wrestling to get back out there again. But I was good at making peace with things, making peace with what ‘was’ and muscling through. And there were lots of excuses: limited thinking, financial constraints and logistics — all of which felt very ‘real’ to me. They kept me small, made me believe this perception was, in fact, reality. Pish Posh, responds the soul.
Travel illuminates the senses, not walls.
On a recent unexpected jaunt to Tulum, Mexico, my senses reawakened in the most delicious of ways and reminded me that yes, I had been missing this greatly. It wasn’t all about the break from the cold temperatures or the welcome of the turquoise waters, diamond white sands beneath my feet or the warm breezes that embraced me — it was deeper and touched me in a more spiritual way. My break from routine was invigorated with an immediate explosion of colors, scents, landscapes, flavors, interactions, and the melodic sounds of unfamiliar of language and music. Travel cracks us open in ways that feed the soul and reconnect us to ourselves and our humanity.
Travel is the antidote to restriction.
I like the ‘me’ that emerges when I travel. I am reminded of her curiosity, her creativity, her playfulness, her humor, her passion. She daydreams. She wanders. She is awakened to desire. Oh hello. Nice to see you again. Where have you been hiding?
You know what I’m talking about…that carefree version of yourself. So, how do we call forth those parts of ourselves and infuse our days and lives with them? I get that we can’t all hop on a plane at any given time, but we can travel. We can take a day for ourselves to do something out of the ordinary, break free from the day-to-day shackles of our self-imposed routines. There are a million ways in which we could do that — call it a much needed ‘wall-less, me day’. I have an inkling that once you set those balls in motion, expansiveness will appear within your life in all sorts of unexpected ways. You will create the foundation for things to build upon.
Alas, even though I am speaking more from the heart, I don’t know how to not make this a tad bit political in saying — walls make me sad. I was in Berlin 6 months after the Berlin Wall dividing East and West Germany finally came down. To this day I have a graffiti-adorned remnant of it stored away, a reminder of history — steeped in both its tragedy and sadness, juxtaposed by its jubilation and celebration.
Whether physical or emotional, literal or figurative walls don’t solve problems. We do. They are a great metaphor for our defensiveness and our insistence upon repeating un-serving behaviors and needing to be ‘right’. They also provide us the opportunity for taking a good look at our lives and discerning what is constraining us. Walls are scapegoats, a mode of avoidance.
Ask yourself, what are you trying to keep out and what are you attempting to keep in? Is there a part of you that is barricaded away? When we remove the walls within our lives — from our relationships, emotions, communication — then the impact expands exponentially into the world.
What are we so afraid of in our own lives and the greater picture? The big bad ‘other’? It takes a lot of work to maintain a wall and it comes at a cost. Let’s consider doing things differently. Are you ready for a trip — a fresh perspective and new way of looking at things? What do you have to lose?
Fasten your seatbelts. Make sure your seats and tray tables are in the upright position, carry-on and personal items stowed in the overhead compartment — or perhaps leave your personal baggage behind all together. Are you ready to board? Are you ready to allow a bit of expansiveness into your life? Your best self awaits.
So how do you reconnect to that version of you — your expansive, carefree, flowing self? Let me know in the comments below. As always, I LOVE hearing from you.