Sometimes our lives contract before they expand. We may be working hard on ourselves, doing good in the world, following our dreams, and wondering why we are still facing constrictions of all kinds--financial, emotional and physical. Perhaps we even feel as if we've lost our way and are stuck in a dark room with no windows. We may be confused and discouraged by what appears to be a lack of progress. But sometimes this is the way things work. Like a caterpillar that confines itself to a tiny cocoon before it grows wings and flies, we are experiencing the darkness before the dawn. When things feel tight, it's easy to panic or to act in some way to ease the feeling of constriction. We might also spin our wheels mentally, trying to understand why things are the way they are. However, there is nothing we need to do at this time other than to be patient and persevering. The more we surrender to the experience, the more quickly we will move through the tightness and into the opening on the other side. Just like a baby being born, we may feel squeezed, pushed and very uncomfortable, but if we remember that we are on our way into a new reality, we will find the strength to carry on. Even though it may be uncomfortable, we can find peace within ourselves if we remember to trust the universe. We can look to the natural world for inspiration as we see that all beings surrender to the process of being born. In that surrender, and in the center of our own hearts, is a willingness to trust in the unknown as we make our way through the opening.