It takes courage to open up yourself to expansion.

Yesterday I played along with Christine Claire Reed and asked her to choose a word for me for next year.

The word she chose for me was expansion.

I know this word is so right, so perfect, I can feel it in my bones.

I also know I have major fear and resistance just like anyone else and maybe a bit more due to my trauma history. The world was not a safe place growing up. I learned that people were not safe, that kindnesses could turn into violations, and I've spent the last twenty something years trying to unlearn my distrust and somehow allow myself to feel safe to feel the flow of life.

I realize I can get angry for no reason, even when things are going well.

I realize there are parts of me that are very afraid of joy, of allowing joy to roll through my body, of relaxing enough to feel my own peace.

I realize I often brace myself physically and have worked hard at letting go and being in my body with ease and flow.

It's not easy.

It seems silly that it isn't easy to allow success, that it isn't easy to just experience my own joy, in my own body.

But it's true. 

A hypervigilant brain, a tense body, and shallow breathing due to chronic trauma, creates an internal landscape that has difficulty taking in and experiencing moments of joy and peace without experiencing the possibility of a threat. 

Even in my moments of excitement and joy, there is a part of me that is looking ahead, and foreboding joy as Brene Brown so aptly describes it. She says that when we lose our tolerance for vulnerability, "joy becomes foreboding: 'I’m scared it’s going to be taken away. The other shoe’s going to drop…' What we do in moments of joyfulness is, we try to beat vulnerability to the punch.”

Honestly, I have been waiting for the shoe to drop and so while I have been more and more successful this year, I realize now, I experience it with an watchful eye on the future. Not just any future, but a future where it gets taken all away.

This saddens me, but it also opens me up to how I truly want to experience expansion. How I truly want to experience the power of yes in my life.

Open arms, breathing it all in, with deep gratitude and an open heart.

When I finally allow and there are many moments over the last year when I have been fully in the moment of full flow... I am in, I am ALL in.

I don't doubt it, I'm not afraid of it, I feel my flow, I feel my own aliveness and it feels right and true and there is no doubt in my mind that it is my birthright. Sometimes I've had so much joy, my body buzzes. So much joy and aliveness, I felt I could burst and little by little I am finding ways to hold it.

These are moments of pure joy, of being in the zone.

I choose to have more of those moments and to experience them more fully and with a heart of gratitude.

I choose to allow more and more of them in.

I choose to share my joy with others through my art and my healing work.

I choose expansion that is grounded and centered and sacred. I choose to trust in my own expansion. To trust the guidance of Spirit in my life. To trust that I am safe to open, to feel joy, and to experience abundance, and to feel love again.

It is a choice I will have to make moment by moment and it is the next growing edge in my healing.