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Saturday, October 24, 2009

Staying Open While the Doors Slam Shut

Staying open while the doors slam shut. It's a metaphor, and an observation. As many of you know, I'm a watcher. I try to observe the events that touch my day from a detached awareness that allows me to experience these events as they are, not as I would have them be or not be. By not labeling them as "good" or "bad" I can usually see them from many perspectives at once.

I'm a work in progress. I can't always do it. But I do give it my best effort.

Sure there's a spiritual component to this way of being in the world, but I use it primarily as a good way to keep the stress levels down in my life – particularly in my role as "mother." I also find the practice an invaluable tool in making business decisions. If my soul is evolving in the process, that's a nice perk.

So, yes, we've been taught that is important in our spiritual lives to keep an open mind, open to ideas, experiences, people, the world, and the Divine. In Taoism, openness is defined as an ability to go with the flow without expecting predetermined outcomes. It means being receptive to new possibilities, without prejudging them. It means your Spirit is free.

To keep an open mind is to have the ability to make yourself available to out-of-the-ordinary opportunities. Indeed, openness to the unknown, the exotic, and the bizarre is usually seen as the mark of a free spirit.

This free spirit chooses "Bizarre" as the word-of-the week. How about you?

Did you feel like you were mad for a moment?
Was that brick wall calling your forehead?
Was the yogic breathing technique paling in comparison to the calming potential of a martini?
Did you feel like you were just one french fry short of a happy meal?
Did you want to slam some doors yourself?

I know many of you had some similar experiences this week. I see some of you closing up shop. Locking the doors. My choice is to stay open. Why? Because I can.

For me, the antidote was empathy.

How did I do it? I began by moving outside myself into the other's (multiple others, LOL!) situation (s). I tried to access the other's feelings and ideas. I've found for the purposes of practice, the more eccentric my choice, the better. I tried to stay open even as I was preparing to do battle if necessary. I aligned myself with a trusted ally – love.

The contrast to openness (love) is narrow-mindedness (fear). We've watched it play itself out over and over again through censorship, avoidance, and downright rude and arrogant behavior. Narrow-mindedness is a rigidity of mind. Rigid mind. Just saying the words feels tight and uncomfortable. Narrow-mindedness is in fact a repelling tactic, that drives others away and slams the door behind them. To keep you safe...

"And don't come back!"

I believe that behind every invitation to leave is the secret wish that you will stay, and say or do something to help me to be in a better place. I am the eternal optimist.

In my experiences as a healer, teacher, and mother, I've found that most pessimistic people have armored themselves against preconceived disappointments and are no longer open to other possibilities. Not open to anything, anymore. They have become dogmatic and stubborn people who are basically unapproachable. Alone. And afraid.

Boundaries are important. It is equally important to surround yourself with only those who bring out your best qualities. Sometimes you have to let relationships go. But sometimes you have to stay with it for a little while longer to see the real opportunity.

You have to stay open even as the door slams shut. So, if you need to, you can slam the door in my face while I am trying to have a conversation with you. I won't be taking it personally. When you open it just a crack to see if you have succeeded in driving me away, a bit of light will enter. It will illuminate and warm you. You can quickly slam the door again if you want to. But you will remember that feeling and eventually you will open that door again, and look for the source of that feeling.

You will want to experience it again, and again, and learn how to generate it for yourself... and someday you will want to be that for others. You will be in that better place. It can not be any other way.

I have watched that miracle unfold again. I am blessed.

May you be blessed!

Image credit: www.6by6.co.uk/assets/images/Door_Chain.jpg

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