When We Expand

When we do big things that require a lot of effort, it’s normal to feel a little let down after the fact.

When we expand, it’s normal to contract a little—to try to go back to the way things used to be. But once we expand, we can’t go back to the way we were. We have to learn to inhabit our new, bigger, life. We need to get used to who we are now.

It takes a little while for that to happen.

I have noticed this expansion—contraction—too spacious—just right—process for many years.

It happens every time I go on a retreat or attend a conference where I focus on just one aspect of myself or my life.

It happens every time my husband and I reach a new level of understanding with each other.

It happens every time I go from seeing myself as a student to seeing myself as a teacher.

It happens every time I complete NaNo. (Go NaNoWrMos!)

It happens every time I try to do something I’m not quite sure I can do—whatever the outcome: Because the catalyst to me being bigger is my effort, not the result.

I have been having this feeling of having a little too much space this week—I’m a little scattered, a little unfocused. Luckily, I’ve been here before so I know what to do.

In this case, I’ve been studying for the Family Medicine boards for months. Last week I traveled to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, to attend a Family Medicine Review Course, where I earned 56 hours of CME credit.

On Monday, I sat for the Family Medicine Recertification Exam. It’s an 8-hour test on general Family Medicine knowledge.

No matter the outcome, I am different for having made the effort to take (and pass!) the exam. I’m bigger.

So this week I’m rattling around inside my life, trying to figure out what to do next.

The only thing I really have to do is give myself permission to process this most recent effort, before moving on to the next.

I’m taking a few deep breaths, taking care of a few mundane chores that were neglected recently, and enjoying having done something difficult.

For everyone who is in the midst of NaNo and for everyone who is tackling some other new project or way of thinking: Can you give yourself permission to take a little time to become this new person? Just allow it to unfold.

When you do, you will honor your process and allow whatever’s next to reveal itself to you in it’s own time, rather than trying to muscle it into reality.

This is the process that works for me. Will it work for you?

Diane MacKinnon, MD, Master Certified Life CoachDiane MacKinnon: Hi, I’m the slacker who’s not doing NaNo this year! But really, you can’t do everything, right? Even though I sometimes (often) convince myself I can do everything, this year I’ve finally faced reality–at least with regard to NaNo! Best wishes to everyone slogging through their daily word counts!





6 thoughts on “When We Expand

  1. I thoroughly loved this read and I can completely relate. In my own experience, about every 3 to 6 months I reach a point to where I feel this discomfort that makes me either want to run or rise to the occasion. Usually, something big is around the corner and I notice after the big ” demonstration” that the reason behind the discomfort was to force me grow, or as you put it, expand so that I could deal with the pressure and added responsibility. I thoroughly loved reading this and thank you for sharing your experience. If you don’t mind, I would like to post the article below in your comments for your readers, in addition to what is extremely useful from your post. Thank you again Diane. Peace and love to you.


  2. Really feel like we can relate please see my blog and tell me what you think, i am a first timer to this blogging world . still trying to find out my purpose and so all i do now is vent out (wisely) on my blog. lovely read by the way!

  3. What a truly inspirational blog. Certainly as I have aged I find what you have written to be so true. Each conference (not always easy to get to) be it writing, spiritual or ie ‘different’ like a computer or first aid etc etc. expansion occurs and life is never quite the same. Writing projects often LOOM. expansion occurs when they are simply ‘begun’ ….in the progress even slow…..this expansion comes. Thank you sincerely for your expression on this blog.

  4. Life is never ending process and I’d like to think that growing old goes hand and hand with accumulating experience that make us evolve as a person thus expanding both physically (smile) psychologically and emotionally and like you said, once we evolved, we cannot go back to the way we were, the way it was even though sometimes I would very much like to be young and healthy again. But yeah, c’est la vie.

  5. I love reading your writing. I am a writer to. I am getting ready to set up a blog when I think what to call it. You got any ideas for mr

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s