Contracting Before We Expand

Recently, I have been feeling a contraction within me, an elision that feels distinctly different to my full, expansive self. This is not a new experience; what is different, however, is how I feel about it.  An internal shift like this used to bring with it confusion and discouragement and seemed antithetical to the progress I thought I was making. But I now know that sometimes this is the way things work.

Like a caterpillar that confines itself to a tiny cocoon before it grows wings and flies, we too experience the darkness before the dawn.This is the ebb & flow of life.

Sometimes our lives contract before they expand. We may be working hard to understand and accept ourselves, doing meaningful work, feeling grateful for what we have, yet still have the experience of tightening--of drawing back.

In the past when this happened, I would spend incredible amounts of energy and time trying to understand where things went "wrong" or what I did to cause this shift. Then one time, exhausted by the mere idea of all that efforting, I surrendered. I welcomed in the sensations and chose to be patient and observant. I resolved not to "do" anything and instead to just be.

It only then, through the act of making space for that experience rather than rejecting or denying it, that the tightness softened and my body-mind, in a sense, exhaled. 

A teacher once said that this experience is just like a baby making its way down the birth canal. The baby may feel squeezed and pushed and very uncomfortable, but their on their way to birth, to a whole new reality.

All beings surrender to this process of being born. And when we remember that caterpillar that preceded the butterfly or the dark skies that preceded morning light, hopefully we can be inspired and invite in a sense of peace and ease--a trust in the flow of things. Then, we may just find that in that surrender lives a willingness to trust in the unknown as we make our way through the opening.

Sachi Doctor

Elemental Alchemy, 90 Rio Vista Avenue, Oakland, CA, 94611

Sachi Doctor is an Ayurvedic practitioner and holistic health coach who founded Elemental Alchemy with the mission to provide a resource for those navigating their way towards optimal mind-body health.

Diagnosed with an autoimmune disease at a young age, Sachi has spent over twenty years exploring different health modalities, treatment plans, diets and mindfulness practices to help alleviate chronic pain and restore balance.

After years of looking to others for a model of health with no relief, Sachi realized that the answers she sought were not hidden in someone else’s prescription for wellness but unique to her, and that the first step towards discovery was actually tuning out what was right for others and tuning into herself.

As she tapped into the wisdom of her own body, she discovered that the elements foundational for health  — the blueprint she so fervently sought — was within her, within each of us. Since then Sachi has been passionate about helping others also cultivate clarity and inner wisdom for vibrant health.

In addition to her Ayurvedic and nutrition education, Sachi has completed over 800 hours of yoga teacher training and continues to study with her mother, her first yoga teacher, for whom these practices are a way of life.

Sachi is a board member of the Prison Yoga Project at San Quentin State Prison and serves as an ambassador for Yoga Gives Back, a non-profit that raises funds within the US yoga community to support microcredit programs for women in India. She holds a Msc in Development from the London School of Economics.