I believe that welcoming the cycles of expansion and contraction is vital to our harmony.

The natural world teaches us there is a time to open, a time to close, a time to be at full peak, a time to lie fallow. I can think of no expansion on this planet of living beings that is not followed, in some way, by contraction, which in turn is followed by expansion, then by contraction. The pattern is simply part of being in a living, breathing world.

To polarize aspects of these cycles as “good” or “bad” means that we end up separating from the world around us—a world where blossoms open to the sun and close at dusk, where the ocean swells and recedes with the tides, where day turns to night which then turns to day, where our very breath and pulse depend on the constancy of the expansion and contraction of our lungs and our hearts.                                      — The Way of Joy

What is one of the lessons you’ve learned during a time of post-expansion contraction?

Vicki Dello Joio, founder of The Way of Joy: A Spiritual Fitness Program, is a teacher, speaker and performing artist. Integrating over 40 years of Chi Kung practice with other martial arts as well as her work in Yoga, Feldenkreis, physical fitness and theater, Vicki has developed a dynamic set of tools to increase awareness, transform obstacles into opportunities and enhance creative potential. Book: The Way of JoyCD: Short Meditations for a Busy Life.