Shrinking It Through Expansion?

expanding-bubbleIn a recent post I quoted Martha Beck about how if you care deeply about something, you’ve got to let it go
That sounds contradictory to most, since it seems like the more we want something, the more we naturally cling to it. 
But that approach doesn’t work according to the way the system’s set up, where clinging to something actually repels it. 
Once we get “easy” with something, we make a nice space for it to come into our lives.  The desperate desire for something is actually not helpful (rather, it’s an obstacle) in achieving it.
On the other side of that wisdom is also this piece of wisdom from Martha: if you want it to shrink, you’ve got to allow it to expand.
Which is related to the topic I wrote about for Catalyst Magazine recently about not needing things to be different than they are in order to change them. 
Since I love how contradictory-sounding things often reveal the most valuable insights, I thought it would be fun to explore here.
If we want something to go away, we’ve got to allow it to get bigger.
It sounds sort of like how when you do a detox, symptoms actually get worse before they get better, right?  The key is to and ride it out in order to reach that healthier place.  But lots of folks experience those detox symptoms and conclude it isn’t working.  When that’s not the case at all – the increased symptoms are actually a sign it is working.
It also reminds me the last part of Byron Katie’s Work where she asks us to say “I look forward to … ” whatever it was we really didn’t want to experience again. 

As in: “I think it sucks when Russ gets upset about my foster animals” would turn into “I look forward to Russ getting upset about my foster animals.”  (Of all the times I’ve witnessed someone doing the Work, it’s that turnaround that’s trickiest!)

So with the “allowing it to expand in order to shrink it” wisdom, that means if I want Russ to stop getting upset about foster animals, I need to allow him to be as upset as he wants to be.  (Man, and if I could actually look forward to it, that’s a sign I’ve truly released the charge I had on it!  woo hoo!)
This also sounds kind of like Abraham’s suggestion to make peace with it, doesn’t it?  To release resistance in order to get unstuck and allow what we want to happen.
Which makes good sense because if I’m pushing against his upsetness, I just add power to it.  So to allow him to be as upset as he wants to be is what allows it to subside.
Sounds good in theory, right?
Practicing it can be another deal.
But the times I have practiced it have proven it out.  Surely it’s because the lack of resistance and the willingness to allow is what makes transformation possible.
I’m curious to hear your experiences, though …

  • Have you ever found debt going away by allowing it to get bigger?  (Cool for the U.S. Treasury if that’s the case.) 
  • Have you ever found love by making peace with more loneliness? 
  • Or lost weight after you stopped caring how much you were gaining?  (I sure know my retriever gained weight after I restricted her food intake.)

This can be a tricky thought at first glance, huh?  Would love to hear your thoughts and experiences on the topic!

  • April 9, 2009
  • Thanks for the reframe, Gillian! You’re absolutely right!

  • Gillian says:

    What’s wrong with big butts Jeannette, ha ha? Big butts are believed to generate money en mass!
    Cheers, Gillian

  • Kendra says:

    Janette, I love your comment (and Jeanette, I love your post, as ALWAYS!). I am an actor, also, and I find maneuvering through the audition-waiting phase is the hardest to do, and the one thing that I need the most guidance on. Like, I know how to manifest the callback, but how to manifest the job? Anyway, I found your post very inspiring. It’s the HARDEST thing to know how to find out is really easy: releasing resistance on those jobs you want so much, and which normally the final deciding factor (at least in physical reality) is someone else. Anyway, congrats on the awesome, AWESOME job opportunity! Here’s to finding the middle road to detachment (i.e., without tears). 🙂

  • Janette says:

    Wow, I love this post! It explains some incidents I had found mystifying in my own life, because I thought they “disproved” the Law of Attraction.
    For example — several years ago I auditioned for a movie gig which I really really REALLY wanted. I thought I did pretty well and spent the first few hours afterwards feeling very positive. But by the time I was ready to sleep, I had completely lost my confidence and was going over and over all the things I “should have done better”.
    I got so despondent and so convinced I’d blown it, that I cried myself to sleep. About a week later, we got a phone call to say both hubby and I were hired for a five-month contract on the movie — woo hoo!
    That has always puzzled me, because I had assumed that my distress and sobs were borne out of intense neediness and attachment. So how on earth did I create the outcome that I wanted if I was that attached??
    NOW I realise that the despair and the tears came out of my having given up on what I wanted. If I cast my mind back to the days immediately after, before we got the call, I was convinced we wouldn’t be hired. I had let it go (but not consciously, and not with any kind of grace or lightness, obviously!!)
    This would NOT be my preferred method of letting go, and I do not recommend it, I hasten to add — very uncomfortable and soggy!!
    But at least now I can see that this incident, along with a couple of others like it, are completely consistent with LOA; I just hadn’t understood how… until clever Jeannette showed the way.
    Thanks, mate! 🙂

  • Jessica says:

    Many occasions come to mind…
    I finally discovered the joy in being alone, looking forward to it for the rest of my life after many attempts of finding “the one”… and out of the blue comes my now husband. It felt so natural and real because it didn’t matter if I was alone or partnered, but I could choose which I wanted and be happy either way! It is the best feeling in the world to really find the place of acceptance and joy in a situation that was once negative feeling.
    When I started archery (to hang out with my sister and dad) I actually did really well at it (what some call beginner’s luck)… because I didn’t care if I did well or not, I just wanted to hang out with them. Then I wanted to increase my skill… and began working feverishly to analyze my equipment, my technique, etc, that’s when my success plummeted. I wasted so much money on replacing arrows that would hit anything but the target, that I became SO fearful of missing a shot (when otherwise would be easy to hit “anywhere” on the target even if you’ve never done it before!) Um… haven’t done it in a long while because I know until I get over that “fear” and accept that I can do bad again… things won’t be very fun.
    My husband and I joke recently about our manifesting gone ary because we’ve had a number of unexpected turn of events all at once after coming up with the perfect plan for renovating one home and finally getting all of us and our stuff under one roof! We were having fun and it seemed as though everything would fall into place. They closed my office and I lost my job; we were then involved in a hit and run- whiplash and 5K plus in damage to my car; and then my husband was randomly hurt at work through no fault of his own (unless you count our manifesting vibe!!) So, here I sit, and I know how badly I am attached to finding the little punk who slammed into us and drove off should face his responsibilities, I know in my heart that the minute I let it go, that they’ll find him. I’m still working on it, but this post is reminding me to push through it and get to that place I know so well. The same with finding another source of income. We feel that our “renovation” is still on its way to us, in spite of the illusion of a “detour” with these other instances. Not sure what it all means, but I AM kind of excited by all the changes. I was terrified at first, how are we going to pay both mortgages, bills, etc… and we’ve established good credit that I don’t want to damage. So I kind of just said “Whatever! It is just money! It isn’t as though I can’t be happy with less… I mean so what! What is the sense in worrying about it? Things really got me to that point- it is out of my hands, there’s only so much “action” I can do to change this, so I might as well just accept it and flow through it!! It feels SO much better than the fearful place. I need to work out some of the kinks, but overall, I’m getting there!
    My husband on the other hand healed up in just a week’s time after the Dr said maybe up to 3 weeks!! He is awesome at this. He is casually like, “It is just part of the job”. Everyone else is worried about scarring, etc, not him… all is perfectly well and back to normal. Way to go sweetie!
    Thanks for the great post and responses!!

  • Well said, Annette. And I’d never heard this before, but I love it: “Find the Gain – Remove the Pain.”
    I’ll remember that!
    Thanks for reading and especially for posting, Annette!

  • Annette says:

    Love the post – as usual!! It’s so good to see I have people!
    Perhaps because we live in the Now, and what’s happening in the Now can’t be changed – – – but we can change the way we look at it.
    I think it’s to let go of the negative/uncomfortable feelings and find either the humor or a lesson. Much more of a scientist’s approach. I’ve also found that when I think I have let go or found an answer, but the bothersome thing gets bigger, it’s because I didn’t go quite deep or broad enough.
    Find the Gain – Remove the Pain

  • Ken says:

    The first time I heard this idea was when I read a biography of Joe Garagiola who played for the St. Louis Cardinals. He was in a big batting slump and finally resigned himself to the fact that he would be traded to the minor leagues. Once he accepted that and stopped trying so hard, he started hitting again.
    I recently got something aired out that has been really bothering me and it is a very painful experience as I go through it, but at the same time I feel a sense of relief as I see it beginning to resolve itself.

  • Wow, Ken, what a great example of the power of giving up “trying”!
    Thanks for sharing a story that I know lots of readers will relate to and remember.
    And also thanks for reminding us of the relief in the resolution. 🙂
    Come back any time, my friend! You’re a pleasure to hear from!

  • I’m glad for the fortuitous timing, Jill, and all the great examples we’re getting from everyone else here.
    That Byron Katie sentence, “I look forward to …” can be a real zinger, huh? Way to identify the resistance, though!
    Congrats on having the courage to this level of awareness, Jill. It’s no small feat.

  • Jill says:

    WOW!!! Jeannette, I opened your blog this morning and wow, the universe gave me exactly the reading I needed. My resistance to things not working with my man right now has made it worse. I have been clinging on to what I want when it isn’t there right now. I have to allow my man to go through what he is going through and stop questioning and asking about us when he can’t give me those answers. The resistance piece is keeping what I truly want away.
    When I was in alignment, it all came to me, now that I am not allowing and holding on, I am getting the exact opposite of what I want. This is great. Thanks for helping me today!!! I need to allow…….. and let it happen…….

  • Wow, Danae, you’re doing some big work here! Kudos to you for it!
    And here I thought I found the ultimate challenge after reading Gillian’s post.
    Yeah. You’re an inspiration, girlfriend. Through and through.
    Know I’m sending really good thoughts your way. Namaste.

  • danae says:

    I just had to come back and read everyone’s comments… how amazing everyone is!
    I must confess that my peace regarding my shocking situation was short lived – I think what happens with the Work sometimes is that I try to trick myself into not feeling what I feel.. so things did indeed get a whole lot worse since my first comment here!
    I sit here now and try to imagine this man I love against my better judgement telling me that he has got another woman pregnant – and looking forward to him doing it again and again. LOL! It IS kinda funny, not to mention ridiculous… it would be just so wonderful to really laugh about it (together!), and can see that it will come.
    I think where I’m at now is being kind to myself, allowing myself to feel all I feel and embracing (and releasing) that, rather than looking outside myself to ‘the situation’ and attempting to transmute it.
    thanks for your positive thoughts too xxx

  • Gillian, for some reason, after reading your words about the tao, it hit me how this related to my butt.
    I gotta be willing for it to get BIGGER in order for it to shrink? lol Oh gosh. Funny the things we get tripped up on, huh?
    Thanks for sharing that, Gillian. I can always count on learning something good from you. 🙂

  • Gillian says:

    Great post Jeannette! The TAO also explains that in order to shrink something we have to let it expand first. Trcky , tricky, but I am getting the hang of it. I think to be able to really except an unwanted situation just as it is depends much on our level of confidence and self-love.
    The more self-love and confidence we have, the more accepting we can be of unwanted circumstances.

  • Oh, Wakati, I think you’re experiencing the phenomenon that creates freedom and ease as a result of letting ourselves feel what we feel!
    That would make a great blog post in and of itself.
    But what’s also evident is what an astute student of Abraham you are with the realization that you don’t have to “hate the thing” you want to be different in order to get what you want.
    That’s a big light bulb moment, huh?! Thanks for taking us there! 🙂

  • Kelly says:

    I needed this reminder today too. My sig other and I are “on a break”. Two extremely in-love people in a very dysfunctional relationship, both missing each other terribly but knowing that something must be let go of (the pain and resentment of the last two years? control?). As she said “we need space to let it all breathe”.
    So, I’m allowing this break. Allowing myself to focus on me, which I SUCK profoundly at, learning to actively love me (as in cook a meal for me, make the bed for me, etc). We slip up and call but that’s been it so far. And I feel ok. Not happy, but ok.
    As always, thank you.

  • Wakati says:

    Also, for a long time I’ve wanted to transition to another career. I’d been hating the job that I currently have. Then one day I decided to look at the bright things and wade through having to work there for the next 30 years.
    All of a sudden, not so bad.
    I am realizing that I don’t have to hate the thing I have to want something different. I really can enjoy and appreciate what I have and want something different.

  • Wakati says:

    Hi, interesting I should read this now. Funny thing happened to me last night. I admitted to my boyfriend that I was afraid about our finances. The instant I said it, the charge went away, the bubble deflated, and I was fine with all of it. All of a sudden, I really believed what I had been affirming, that all is well, that there really is abundant supply.
    Since that worked so well, I decided to spend some time today working writing down all the things that I’m afraid of or harbor 9-22 feelings for on the Hicks scale.
    Pure relief. I’d been fighting so much. I feel like the gates opened.

  • It’s a brave journey, Kelly, but also a very rewarding one!
    Kudos to you for allowing the “space,” and especially for practicing some self-love. The payoff with that work is like no other.
    Thanks for posting here and please visit again with an update!

  • Deb, I’m laughing .. wondering if there’s a significant difference between ALLOWING it to be bigger or being WILLING for it to expand versus MAKING it bigger.
    At any rate, anything that’s got us laughing is right track material. 🙂
    Thanks for reading, and especially for posting, my friend!

  • Deb says:

    Thanks for this – it was exactly what i needed to help me with my money thing. I love the idea of debt going away by making it bigger – i could be really good at that! LOL. But embracing not having enough money right now is just what I needed to release it.
    And I do find amazing love in my life after saying I never will.
    All so very delicious. 🙂

  • I’ve heard that same story about Dan, Kristy!
    Pretty cool. 🙂
    Thanks for using it to add to this conversation!

  • Kristy M says:

    Ok I could get this wrong but here goes- I recently read on another person’s blog a story about someone called Dan Jansen who was a speed skater. He hated doing 500 meters but he would repeat “I love the 500, I love the 500, I love the 500…” and on his last race he won the 500. I can’t vouch for how true it is because I read it on another person’s blog lol but its a lesson in in accepting things you don’t like a changing the way you think about them. It worked for him lol

  • MissyB says:

    Just a quicky to Nicole – yes. When I had my accident my priorities totally changed to just getting well and he came out of his shell to support me. Then I got used to having him about, he became my focus again, and now he has backed off again. Thanks for asking the question.

  • Well said, Tammy – that’s exactly what I was trying to convey as I responded to Dylan’s post.
    I’m pretty impressed at how quickly you grasped this concept!
    Are you young?! lol Sometimes I think those younger brains are more flexible than the older ones. 🙂

  • Dylan, you just asked my favorite question on this topic.
    Can’t wait to read more insights on this from other readers!
    I know enough not to believe something just because someone I look up to said it – so I am totally willing to question Martha Beck, Byron Katie, Abraham, and especially mself!
    Thanks for helping these questions come to light.
    What comes up for me when I ask that question is something I learned from Jeanna Gabellini many years ago. She said something about going to an extreme opposite of where you are, in order to find the restful place in the middle. (She didn’t say it exactly like that, but it was along those lines.)
    And I can say that that’s sort of what I feel when I use Byron Katie’s turnaround. It’s not that I really truly DO look forward to it, it’s just the original charge is completely eliminated.
    Sometimes, that’s how it works for me, anyway. Not every time! lol
    Thanks for a great question, Dylan.

  • Tammy says:

    Hi Jeannette,
    This is a new concept for me, I have never heard this before. I just read your article in the Catalyst Magazine, definitely helped clear up what this is all about.
    My initial thought was the same as Dylan’s above. But I think instead of manifesting the unwanted, you embrace it so that it is no longer fearful?
    Thanks for the thought provoking blog!

  • Dylan says:

    Hi Jeannette, a very thought provoking post. It seems to me that simply allowing things to be as they are (making peace with what you don’t want rather than resisting it) but then guiding your attention to what you do want is what releases resistance to the unwanted; therefore allowing the unwanted to shrink and the wanted to manifest.
    Katie’s idea here doesn’t resinate with me though. By looking forward to something that you do not want (i.e. Russ getting angry), are you not inadvertently creating an expectation that more of it will show up – which then in turn manifests more of it showing up via LOA?

  • You’re my hero, Jenny, to have this openness to look for it in action and willingness to play with the concept – you make it look easy AND light!
    Thanks for that!

  • jenny says:

    Jeannette, This is a great post. I had to think it over a bit to see how it has played out in my life. Then I noticed a great example.
    About a month ago at work, I talked with my boss about taking on additional work because I had some extra time. Since then, I’ve added more to my list of responsibilities, and I’m now finding myself with more free time than before. And I didn’t realize the connection until now.
    The even better part is that my personal life is getting hectic and I feel like I have too much to do. If I can invite all of that in, maybe it will feel lighter and easier. I’m going to start working on that one immediately.
    Thanks for the insights!

  • No, thanks go to YOU, Judy, for the laughs!!
    You are too much!! lol (as if there were any such thing)
    Thanks for being here, girlfriend! Your sense of humor in this work is just what this conversation needed! ha

  • Judy says:

    Hey Jeannette,
    I LOVED this post. I was perfectly timed to help me shift what was becoming a tight spot regarding a house purchase. The relaxed and magical spot I’ve been in was deteriorating into a frustrated mess!
    Welcoming living in my current home FOREVER cracked me up. I laughed and laughed and laughed at that thought.
    This hysteria helped me recognize all the many benefits of staying-not having to move, find renters, sell stuff, etc. Oh yeah, and I’m excited to make a few improvements so that I enjoy my home more.
    I’m w/ Nancy, I like taking this idea over the top a bit. I’m welcoming all kinds of things into my life, like the old school Southern Baptist preachers, in plaid and white vinyl shoes, used to welcome me to church every Sunday. Toooooo funny!
    thanks amiga!

  • Good for you for being willing to spend a couple days with it, MaryK! Lots of folks give up if they can’t feel it within the first few minutes.
    Thanks for reminding us it’s a pursuit worthy of investing real time in. 🙂

  • MaryK says:

    Oooh, I love this post! Releasing resistance and fear by allowing what we’re scared of is one of my favorite things ever:) It is, really!! Because it’s so counter-intuitive, but makes a lot of sense if you really stop to think about it.
    I’ve been dealing with this a lot lately because there’s someone new in my life that causes me a lot of fear… She has a really up and down personality and I realized that I’m scared that one day she’s just going to lash out at me! And I’ve been walking around on eggshells around her, hoping this doesn’t happen.
    I found some old Sedona Method CD’s lying around my house the other day and starting listening to them to help release resistance around this situation. And on the CD’s Hale asks the question “Could you just allow this situation to be as it is, without trying to change it?” It took me a few days to get to the point where I could just A-L-L-O-W this other person to be who she is, but I think I have finally arrived!!
    I just tried out your phrase from above and tried to imagine looking forward to her just lashing out at me one day, and it’s like I can’t even remember why I was so scared in the first place! I’m thinking to myself, she would never just lash out at me like that, she’s actually a really nice person…
    So I think the resistance is GONE! Buh-bye!! 🙂
    Gosh, this technique could literally save people hundreds of dollars that they would normally spend on therapy to get rid of these issues!

  • Wise words, Nicole.
    It’s an inside job first and foremost, isn’t it?
    Thanks for highlighting that!

  • Nicole says:

    I love this post and the comments have been great so far!
    As far as love goes, I have found that anything is possible. A lot of women have this idea in their head that there is this one true love out there for them, the perfect mate who will fulfill all of their dreams and solve all of their problems.
    The reality is that although you can manifest this person into being, you will still create more problems and more dreams. There is not one person in the world who can make you happy; only yourself can do this.
    When you work on making yourself happy, those men or women will come flocking to you. You will be summoning them like mad. MsNikki has proved this already!
    MissyB – does it seem like the less attention you pay to this person, he comes around more?

  • Well that’s a testimony to success if ever I heard one!!
    Thanks for sharing that, Nancy!!

  • Nancy says:

    In last week’s meditation, our teacher mentioned that we should welcome our creations (problems), rushing to greet them like an old friend and accepting them. It sounded strange but I thought I would try it on something that had been bugging me and actually felt the expansion. Not the expansion of the thought, but of my being. Now after a few days I can’t remember what it was that I was dealing with. It was a lot of fun.

  • Good point, MissyB … I have a tendency myself to overthink things sometimes! Don’t let me take you there, too. lol
    I don’t think it’s a test of our resolve as much as it is truly finding the space of allowing.
    If you could fee yourself going back to the “I really want this” vibration, that may be what Universe is responding to. Because if we “want” something – and aren’t feeling it present now – we can only experience more “wanting” vs. “having.”
    Know what I mean?
    Thanks for reading and especially for posting your thoughts, MissyB!

  • Isn’t it funny, Ms Nikki, how we can easily practice this on some topics, but with others it’s a whole different story?!
    I love how fascinating we are!! lol
    Thanks for building the conversation here, my friend. Even without the Nationwide Vision special, I can see good things coming your way.
    Namaste. 🙂

  • MissyB says:

    Sometimes all this makes my head hurt – and then I realise I think too much.
    Does the Universe make the thing get bigger to test our resolve as to what it is we really want ? For example – I’ve a special man friend, who I’d love to be more but is unlikley to ever be. For many months I’ve been too hung up on him to look further afield, but now, realisation is that I am wasting my time and although it is mega important to me to keep this man in my life as a friend, I need to release him from the “one for me” cycle.
    So I started to release him. Weeks later I ended up in hospital and this friend has been the most amazing person to see me through some difficult months. I just ended up liking him more and now I am better, he has returned to his normal not commital self. Am I making sense ?! LOL ! My point is this, I was shrinking it, my feelings then got bigger, and now I’ve a double sized hurdle to jump to shrink them again. Has the Universe tested my resolve to the extreme ? I don’t know but I’ve gained some useful info here as usual so thanks friends.
    I’ve finished rambling now – breathe easy folks !

  • MsNikki says:

    Oprah was correct in deeming Martha Beck as “one of the most intelligent women” out there today. Truth be told, her monthly column is the primary reason for my O, Oprah magazine subscription!!
    I can say that I had been unhappy w/my relationship situation as of late and complained to my girlfriends the lack of any men out here who were attracted to women such as ourselves. Read over 35, witty, intelligent, eccentric, curvy like San Fran roads, basically un-Real Housewives of Orange County-esque. Our options were limited to relocation (which I definitely would love to do at some point), becoming a nun(not the most feasible), or taking up knitting and living with 50 feral cats (I get knitter’s cramp to easily and don’t care for cats). So, I just let it go.
    Then what happened?? I have men approaching me all the time expressing interest. Although I haven’t been interested in any of them, especially the dude who said that he was clairvoyant and “could see us together” (he might want to take advantage of Nationwide Vision’s special going on right now), I am still flattered! So,I need to tweek that vibe a bit in order to attract a guy with similar values who happens to love pugs.
    Hmmm…. I must admit that I am not comfortable with letting debt expand. $ has to much of a charge on me at this time!

  • You’re the treasure, Danae – I loved this:
    “its so liberating to go WITH the flow than striving for remedial measures, and to have the courage to let things happen as they will in quiet faith that all is perfect.”
    It DOES take courage, doesn’t it?
    Thanks for sharing your words here … they make a potentially confusing topic much easier to embrace.
    And sending good thoughts for you & your guy situation! 🙂

  • danae says:

    Thanks Jeanette, I really need to read this today. After a week during which my main guy and father of my child revealed something quite shocking to me, I’ve struggled with my resistance, experienced him as distant in spite of ‘my willingness to be supportive and loving’ and after several rounds of The Work reached a point of peace with the situation. But it does often confuse me when I’m affirming one reality and another reality keeps getting in my face. It is too often the way to deal with things that are ‘going wrong’ to try to ‘fix’ them with their opposite – its so liberating to go WITH the flow than striving for remedial measures, and to have the courage to let things happen as they will in quiet faith that all is perfect.
    I’m leaving my computer now to go and meditate some more on how perfect this ‘terrible situation’ is with my guy…
    love to you Jeannette, you’re a true treasure xx

  • Melissa says:

    I love that I can use this to say, “I look forward to coffee grounds all over the kitchen every morning!”
    I am having a very real experience with allowing what I don’t want to expand and my resistance to it. I knew it would get bigger and I didn’t want that either! Still, my best experience with letting go of something that I really wanted was trying out for the swim team at 14. I literally let it go and all anxiety was released; and I made the team.
    Thanks Jeannette, couldn’t be more timely!

  • Thanks for confirming two things, Melissa: that I’m not the only one somewhat hesitant to embrace it on occasion, and that you’ve got a real life example proving it really does work.
    Your comments are much appreciated, my friend!

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