It seems to go without saying. To be welcoming, we’ve got to think big.

Notice how often we speak about “widening the circle” and “making more room.” We place a priority on expanding our minds by welcoming new experiences and new ideas. Those that help usher in love are “big-hearted.” Those who help us welcome change are “the ones with the big idea.” Ask someone what image goes with welcoming and they will surely say a person with open arms.

So bigness, yes, let’s be sure to follow that road.

But what about that smaller trial? The one that runs right alongside the wide road? The one harder to notice and certainly hard to travel? The one that whispers, “Don’t forget the work of becoming smaller”?

We’re learning that this path must be traversed as well.

For instance, those of us who are white are realizing that to truly welcome diversity, we must shrink and de-center our voices. We long-timers are discovering that welcoming newcomers requires right-sizing our needs and putting our preferences second. The tree huggers have been telling us for years that we can’t save the wider world without shrinking our wants. The spiritual masters remind us that feeling at home in the universe demands that we see ourselves as a tiny part of a greater whole, rather than believing that the whole world revolves around us. The brilliant confess that their secret is the smallness of humility and the willingness to admit when they are wrong. And isn’t it downsizing and living simply that allows us to welcome in more experience, adventure and peace? Of course, there’s also the work of downsizing our egos enough to admit mistakes. Without that how can we ever welcome in forgiveness and the work of repair?

Bottom line: There is a deep spiritual connection between the smallness of self and the expansiveness of relationship. It’s a curious and wonderful truth: the road to a wider welcome often starts with limiting our own size. By becoming “smaller,” we paradoxically are better able to welcome in and receive the gift of “more.” So friends, as you journey this month, think big! But also, stay small.^

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