I have been through several periods of deep transformation in my life. The circumstances and issues that I was uncovering and healing have been different, but the way that the process worked was roughly the same for me. You could have a completely different experience. We are all unique individuals and one size never fits all.
If you have perused my site at all, you will notice that I love to use that phrase “one size never fits all” because for many years I tried to fit into a box that I thought I had to stay in. I thought this was “just my life” and “it was too late to change now.” I thought this was what was expected of me by those who knew and loved me, and I feared changing because I wasn’t sure those people would come along for the ride with me. We had entered into relationships together and each of us had our assumed roles of what we brought to the relationship. If I shifted that, which is inevitably what happens during deep transformation work, then I would be different and I would show up differently in the relationship. Sometimes even the most positive change is threatening to those around us because we have pivoted out of our assumed roles.
I was also questioning, Who would I be without this coping behavior? Who am I becoming?
But I digress… Back to the topic at hand: why transformation (MY transformation) feels like an accordion…
As I engaged in my own coaching, spiritual mentoring, healing sessions, and courses and classes teaching me how to live a healthier, more spiritual, more meaningful existence, I started to notice a pattern which I call The Accordion Effect.
As I took in and integrated new teachings, new belief systems, new energy, new LIFE, my world started to expand. I breathed more easily and more deeply. I saw things in a different light. I had more joy and hope. But this expansion would hit a plateau and I would go into a period of contraction, of re-establishing safety.
The contraction phase was a period of squeezing out repressed emotions, all that had been hidden from view, all that had not been said or felt, so that it could be honored and released. It was a period of rest and going inward, of deep feeling, of letting go of the survival patterns that had been with me my whole life but were keeping me small.
Once this round of contraction was over, the expansion would start again but I would expand to a higher level… and on and on… I started calling it the Accordion Effect.
Air flows into an accordion and the instrument expands… I breathe in hopes and dreams of living a life that is truly fulfilling, of finally having the courage to show up in the world as my authentic self.
Then the accordion contracts and air is squeezed through the chamber of the instrument… I breathe out the old self-criticism and judgment, the belief systems that were inherited from my family but weren’t really mine, the releasing of that which no longer serves me.
Expansion and contraction, expansion and contraction, expansion and contraction...
Two steps forward, one step back… Three steps forward, one step back… again and again...
The periods of expansion consisted of more joy than I had ever felt, more hope than I had ever felt, more presence– being in the moment and not worrying about the future or regretting the past, just being, not doing, being filled with awe and wonder at the marvel of the Universe, the gorgeous nature all around us that we so often miss because we are stuck in traffic commuting to work and never stop to look around us.
The periods of contraction consisted of tears of sadness and grief, periods of self-doubt, realization that I had not lived the way that I wanted to live, had not been the person I wanted to be, grief over losses I had not yet mourned, and letting go of moments I had taken the easy way out instead of facing the fear and persevering.
And even as I longed to stay in the expansion, I learned to embrace the contraction because it was serving just as much of an integral part of my transformation. It was draining my vessel of dense, stagnant and self-destructive energy so that I could be infused with fresh new higher vibrational energy.
One of my first spiritual mentors, Teresa, always told me that a cup can only hold so much water. We can’t simply pour more water into the cup without first emptying out some of the water that is already in the cup. It’s the same principle here with transformation. Our bodies can only hold so much energetic material, so there is a releasing and draining process that usually occurs when we start to infuse it with the new higher vibrational energy.
The accordion needs both the expansion and the contraction to make music. Air goes in and expands the instrument, and then air is compressed out and the instrument contracts. Without both of these phases, there is no music.
So it is with life. There is no happiness without sadness. We can’t know true joy without also knowing loss. There is no light without the dark. They are two sides of the same coin.
I found myself going back and forth in between what felt like two different vibrational energies for a period of time, two different realities of existence almost, until I had released enough to hold the newer frequency. Then that wave of transformation was complete and I could reap the rewards of my hard work, playing a new more beautiful, more joyful and more intricate song. I will rest in that magical space until the next phase in my transformation begins, because there is always more work to be done.