Writer and doctor Andrew Weil wrote, “At the very center of our being is a rhythmic movement, a cyclic expansion and contraction that is both in our body and outside it, that is both in our mind and in our body, that is both in our consciousness and not in it.” Many natural cycles on earth are defined by periods of expansion and contraction. Likewise, our own growth is often marked by these same expansive and contractive forces. Geologists, physicists, astronomers, and philosophers are taken with the ever expanding and contracting cycles of the universe and our planet. What is expansion? What is contraction? And how can we learn about ourselves through observing these phenomena?
John Mark Green wrote, “Birthing is never easy or without pain, be it a universe, a child, or a fresh start in life. Contraction precedes expansion. Darkness comes before dawn. Joy follows pain. This is the way of things.” Green is talking about the polarities of expansion and contracted, as seen in the universe and every birthing process. Think of the process of labor, as it’s wrought with painful contractions and expansion of the body, all preceding the powerful birth of a living being. When we look at the seasons (winter precedes spring) and any kind of creative process (we work hard to create before we release our art into the world), it becomes clear that expansion and contraction are the primary energies of the cosmos. As such, it’s important to recognize these same forces within ourselves during times of creation, hardship, struggle, and growth. As John Mark Green reminds us, it is always darkest before the dawn and as such, don’t give up when you feel the difficult contractions of pain, sadness, addictive behaviors, or anxiety. With hard work and surrender, expansion follows contraction. We are part of the natural order of things; look no further than the inhale and the exhale.
RedCliff Ascent is a therapeutic wilderness program, nestled between two mountain ranges in the high desert of Enterprise, UT. We focus on adolescents ages 13-17 who are struggling with various challenges from anxiety and depression, to school abandonment and the need to reconnect with their family. With over 25 years of experience, RedCliff uses a relational model and narrative therapy to drive an outcome and an evidence-based approach. RedCliff Recovery offers an experience like no other through a proven, 12-step, adventure-based wilderness program. For more information, call us today: 801-921-8488.