Sunday, August 7, 2011


by Mary Elizabeth Raines

In every situation life offers us, we have the choice of responding in one of two ways: we can CONTRACT or we can EXPAND.

Remember the last time you fell in love? Or achieved a goal? Or something really good happened? Chances are that you were in a state of expansion. Conversely, our knee-jerk response when things aren’t going so well is to contract. The contraction or expansion we choose happens on all levels: physical, spiritual, mental and emotional.

Here is what contracting feels like:

Imagine that you are entering the bathroom of an airplane near the end of a long, uncomfortable flight. The door closes. The loud sound of the airplane engines seems magnified in this tiny space, the ride is frighteningly turbulent, and this bathroom is smelly and nasty. You have to be careful where you step, and you try not to touch any surfaces, or even brush against them accidentally. You squeeze your arms in closely against your body, clench rigidly, and don't even dare breathe too deeply.

Here is what expansion feels like:

Imagine that you are standing on a wonderful plateau, with the temperature just the way you like it. There is no traffic, and there are no buildings nearby. You are completely in nature, totally safe, and you can see for miles in every direction. Perhaps there are mountains in the distance, or valleys. You breathe in the cleanest air on the planet, listen to the sounds of the breeze, and stand firmly with your arms spread wide, taking up all the space you want.

Many of our sufferings are due to resisting what is. We clench when we resist. We expand when we are in our power.

How about making the choice to step into your power, regardless of what is occurring in your life?! Here’s an experiment that will make it easy:

Bring to mind any life situation at all that is troubling to you. Now imagine clenching as a response, just as if you were in that bathroom on the airplane. Hold still, hunch your shoulders up to your ears, squeeze your back and hips and arms in tightly, take in only shallow breaths, and see how that makes you feel. Yuck.

Next, still thinking of your life situation, imagine expanding your energy as though you were back on that plateau. You are free to take up all the room you want, balanced and secure. Loosen and unlock your body, let your shoulders and back ease, hold your head a little higher, and experiment by stretching your aura. Fill the area around you with bright, luminous energy--YOUR energy, even expanding it beyond the boundaries of the room or space you occupy. Take in a good deep breath. Feels better, doesn’t it?!


  1. Great post and beautiful blog!

    Jill Simmons

  2. Thank you so much. So well described!

  3. Wonderfully described. Thank you!


About Me

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Mary Elizabeth (Leach) Raines is the author of a collection of quirky short stories ("The Man in the GPS and Other Stories"), novels ("UNA" and "The Secret of Eating Raspberries"), and nonfiction ("How to Help and Heal with Hypnosis: An Advanced Guide to Hypnotism" and "The Laughing Cherub Guide to Past-Life Regression: A Handbook for Real People.") In addition to writing, Mary Elizabeth teaches hypnosis as the director of the Academy for Professional Hypnosis Training. She is a columnist for an international hypnosis magazine, and in the past she was a newspaper reporter and features writer. She has won a number of awards for her writing. Mary Elizabeth attended New England Conservatory of Music in Boston in the 1960s as a piano performance major. Later she pursued independent film studies at UW-Oshkosh. In her free time, Mary Elizabeth plays the piano, creates fractal art, cooks, paints, dabbles with computers, acts, gardens organically, and keeps bees.