Snakes. Why did it have to be snakes?
If we are to believe all that we see in memes and social media, we’d believe that we need to be constantly expanding.
And I don’t mean physically.
I mean expanding our wealth, our network, our minds – expansion in the broadest sense.
It’s a gorgeous and necessary concept, for sure.
But I think sometimes we forget to honour the opposite state – that of contraction. Not to mention, the idea of constant growth, hustle and ‘just get up and keep going culture’ is exhausting.
This week, I wrote about being in a state of love and trust and how post-pandemic, that means honouring being afraid and free at the same time.
The internet has this funny way of only celebrating one side of the coin.
So let’s dig into this for a minute, because this is an important concept to understand and practice when it comes to story and truly mastering it.
As part of my daily practice, I always ask for signs. Signs from the Universe or Source or what have you that I am on the right track.
What I have come to know is that when I am being called to do something differently, the Universe sends me snakes.
And as much as I hate them and they make my skin crawl and I’ve got a perverse fascination with their cold-bloodedness and killer instincts, they paint this picture of expansion and contraction quite well.
When you think of a snake laying in the sun or stretched long and wide to cross a field (or an Interstate highway in some cases), you get a real sense of her size.
How wide her body is; whether she truly has a rattle; the markings on her skin and so on.
When the snake is expanded, we see all of it. We see her bigness.
In my readings about my nemesis the snake, I learned that snakes often only stretch out wide after a big feed or after females have hatched eggs. They also do it when they are really hot and trying to cool down.
To put a point on this, when the snake is fully expanded, she is at her softest, most vulnerable point – susceptible to other predators and very open to injury.
In other words, she cannot stay that way FOREVER.
But let’s think of the counterpoint of contraction. The one we never seem to talk about in business or among each other. Because states of contraction are important and powerful.
Back to the snake. When she is coiled up tightly in a ball, she is small. She is likely camouflaged in the grass or rocks or trees.
She is waiting to kill something, most of the time.
Her coils give her physical and muscular leverage to strike at any moment.
Predators can’t tell how big she is because she is conserving that biggness for a purpose.
Being in a coil means she has the full thrust of all her muscles to strike out and be strong when she’s READY.
Contraction is a state of powerful waiting.
Ah, there it is.
And where there is purpose, there should be some sort of acknowledgement if not celebration.
I’ve been working through this concept for quite some time. How to feel when things in my business slow down, when my energy wants to go inwards instead of outwards, when I stop fully showing my bigness because I want to wait for something…
And it always comes back to the necessity of the dark and the light, the interplay between expansion and contraction.
You can’t have one without the other. Both need to be there to survive and grow.
It’s the same for telling stories and creating content online. If all we ever do is talk about and celebrate expansion, we are missing so much humanity in how we are BEING and showing up.
I work with my clients to learn to be okay articulating the moments of contraction because, as the snake would teach us, there is power there for us to harness.
So if you feel like you aren’t growing or expanding, channel your inner snake. Let it be okay that you’re in the dark a bit and waiting to regenerate power.
Strike when you’re ready.