Wide open spaces

“The world is full of people who have never, since childhood, met an open doorway with an open mind.”
― E.B. White

Sometimes mail shows up at my door that belongs to someone else. I don’t open it, I mean, they’re strangers; I’m not that interested in how much they owe Mr Bell. Once, during college, I used the steam from a kettle to open a teacher’s love note! But it was bible college, for heaven’s sake! King James took up most of the space!

Once a big yellow envelope arrived at my door. It was addressed to me, but I didn’t open it! Rather, I threw it in the garbage! Like I’d been instructed!

It was sent by a former church member who had mass-mailed evidence of wrongdoing apparently committed by members of the firm and others. Financial statements, the rumours said. But I honestly have no idea. Neither do I really care. Maybe it was all lies and slander. I’ll never know. Cause I didn’t open it! Like I’d been instructed!

That’s freakin’ scary! Who does that?! Apparently, me. I couldn’t care less about the contents of that envelope, but how broken I must have been to have obeyed without any thought or consideration. Years later, sitting on my therapist’s couch, I remember saying,

“Just tell me what to do and I’ll do it!”

He specialized in trauma and had suffered incredible personal loss and survived. He probably knew what I should do. But he had a better idea.

“Oh no! That’s the easy way out for you because you’ve always been told what to do! It’s time to start thinking. And here’s the good news: you have the answers!”

YOU HAVE THE ANSWERS! I HAVE THE ANSWERS?!

Really?! I had the answers?!

It was one of those Aha moments. 

I decided right then and there to spend the rest of my life opening!

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Opening my heart. This one is pretty easy for me. I’ve always loved people, even strangers. But it’s interesting when you really start to pay attention! I found that I was much more closed than I realized! Friends could only get so close and then I would pull back. Arms length was my comfortable space. Recently, I humbled myself to a friend and spoke my heart. This took courage, a special kind I didn’t know I had! And it inched my heart open just a little more! I was NOT a pet-lover. It took 12 years to convince me that my children needed a dog!! This will sound crazy to non-pet owners, but having pets has probably opened my heart more than anything! Our animals teach us how to love. It makes sense! Hospitals are using them to help the sick, psychology speaks of their healing powers … Forget the hair, the smell, the mess, and allergies are no longer an excuse! Your child needs a pet. So do you! An open heart overflows with love. every single day.

Opening my eyes. When I walk Oliver, I often watch him closely and try to see the world through his eyes. All he sees is the next bush where he can leave his mark! He’s completely present, seeing and loving the world before him. Unobscured by worries, obsessions, endless thoughts. Children are the best example of this! Not yet troubled by the weight of the world, they see clearly. It takes effort for me to see. Because in order to see, truly see, my mind must be empty. It’s something I practice every single day and it. is. brilliant. You guys! This is a brilliant beautiful world! Open your eyes today! You may think I’m crazy, and I probably am a little, but after reading the story of Helen Keller years ago, I walked through Heber Downs -an area I knew well, blind-folded! What an eye-opening experience!

Opening doors. Especially the ones in my head! They’re the toughest. Like a door that swells in the hot and humid summer air. Once those mental doors open, other doors will swing wide. You know those doors…we all have them! The writing door. The dancer door. The artist door. The start my own business door. I think many of these doors are built around our creative dreams, the dreams we had when we were young before they were socialized out of us because they wouldn’t make us a living! But there are also go back to school and become a lawyer, a doctor, a nurse kind of doors. Those adult dreams that looked too big, or expensive, or difficult. And now your sensible side says you’re too old. Kick the friggin’ door down! If it’s the wrong door, there will be another. and another. and another.

Opening my mouth. This is a little embarrassing! People who know me will say she has no problem doing that! Hence, the childhood nickname of Chatterbox! And I’ve also opened my mouth to fit in my foot way too many times!!! But this girl has never been vocal about her needs. or desires. I think this may be a female thing. We have been taught to mother and nurture everyone in our lives, except ourselves. I remember once, years ago, when I spoke up. Every Christmas, we covered the house with coloured  lights cause kids love colour and I had 3! Out of the blue, without any thought, one Christmas I spoke, This year we’re having white lights! Yes! I want white lights! And we had a white Christmas and it felt so good to speak up that I wrote a story about it 17 long years ago! I’m learning every day to speak up and honour my needs and desires.

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“Each day holds a surprise. But only if we expect it can we see, hear, or feel it when it comes to us. Let’s not be afraid to receive each day’s surprise, whether it comes to us as sorrow or as joy It will open a new place in our hearts, a place where we can welcome new friends and celebrate more fully our shared humanity.”   Henri Nouwen

Am I the only one who struggles with opening?

What parts of you or your life need to be cracked open? 

 


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