I have been reading a lot about human development, specifically Waldorf theories of human development. And, it talks a lot about expansion and contraction. It is the rhythm of nature to expand and contract. To forge outward without boundaries soaking up the world, learning, growing expanding; until you are no longer benefiting from it, and are ready to come back. And then you contract, go inward, reflect, slow down, process. We all need a balance of both, and often times, because of the modern times we live in and all of its distractions, we don't know how to balance them. I think I am definitely more apt to contract then expand, even though when I am engaging in expansive activities I feel full of life and love. But, given my choice I'd rather stay inward.
Kids are almost always in expansion mode, and don't always know when or how to contract. A toddler is endlessly exploring, climbing, moving, expanding; and then hits a certain point when she no longer is in harmony with the expansion and starts crying, falling down a lot, getting frustrated easily, melting down. This is the parents cue that she needs to contract, take a nap, read some books quietly, rest.
This got me thinking, of course, about my own family and our tendencies. Yesterday was hard. I was wanting to stay in all day to organize, clean, get ready for the week. Get my ducks in a row before we leave for a trip on Thursday. My kids were grooving with me for quite awhile, playing quietly, coloring, reading books. But then the switch happened, they needed some more expansion, then needed to be out in the world, and I was not paying attention. The energy totally shifted, they got loud, started bickering, crying, wanting snack after snack after snack. And all the while I kept getting more and more and more annoyed. Until finally papa came home. He took them outside, they ran, screamed, got pink cheeks and came back in 45 minutes later, content.
It is that simple. I am going to pay attention to these shifts, and honor them. Even if I'd rather contract and retreat, and stay inside my four safe and warm walls. For their sake, I am going to expand a little more. Who knows, maybe I'll be snow boarding by the end of the winter. Or, sitting in the lodge with hot chocolate while papa and the boys are snowboarding? We'll see.