When everything feels all over
When everybody seems unkind
I’ll give you a four-leaf clover
Take all the worry out of your mind
Let my love open the door
Let my love open the door
Let my love open the door
to your heart
– Pete Townsend
Today was a beautiful day here in the South.
The cold, harsh winter obviously took a little break from its chilling and blowing and headed of to Florida for a Mojito and dominos. I am sure it will be back on the job in no time. Its shift isn’t technically over for another two months. However, it was so refreshing to open up the windows and the doors and to have fresh clean, WARM air dancing through the house.
There is something so amazing and liberating about opening doors and windows. When we turn that knob and throw open that which has been shut for so long, we invite the beauty of the world and all of its experiences into our lives. We take a chance and often times we find ourselves pleasantly surprised.
I am speaking figuratively of course. Even though I did open the doors to my home today, I have been attempting to open doors to my heart consistently for the past few months. This is no easy task. It is a strange side effect/by-product of my compassion practice. Frankly, it is almost impossible to live closed off when you are consciously practicing compassion. It’s like the crazy buzz you get when you drink Turkish coffee. Suddenly, the whole world has sped up and you walk around with your arms wide open muttering, “I love everybody.”
Cleary, I am exaggerating.
Look, I will be the first person to admit that I am not the most open person. At least not until recently. I have always had the by the book, get to the point kind of personality. I am not always like this. There are a few people in my lifetime who I have opened up to and have gotten all gushy and vulnerable. But for the most part, I have always had this whole “distance thing” that I practice. It keeps me safe and it keeps you safe. It has kept me safe because, gee, I just won’t get hurt, experience failure or suffer drama or trauma. It keeps you safe because then I won’t have to get angry at you when you hurt me and I won’t feel compelled to make voodoo dolls out of your old socks or hair clippings.
But strange, mystical things start to happen when you practice compassion. Your heart starts to open up and the world starts to rush in. You find yourself embracing people who you thought were out to get you or that you didn’t have patience for. You start to find the beauty and the divine in everyone. You open up wide and amazing things dance into your life that you never expected.
When we are not present or living with intention, we tend to play a loop in our heads. It is usually something negative about ourselves or perhaps someone else. Maybe someone has hurt us, maybe our ego doesn’t like the pitch of their voice or maybe our ego is threatened by their work, their joy, their spirit. For whatever reason, we start to develop this negative dialogue in our head, “my hair is horrible, my thighs are fat, she is talking about me behind my back, that person is out to get me, he took my project.”
The loop plays.
and it plays
and it plays
Until we finally say “enough.” But often times we don’t even have the consciousness to say “enough.” We often just move on to another dialogue, another loop and another villan.
Compassion is kind of the anti-inflammatory drug for this. A little compassion goes a long way in alleviating this little imbalance in our life.
I knew I had these dialogues in my head. Hell, I was often an active participant in them.
But what I have found, is that the further I go with compassion, the less these dialogues develop. I find that when my ego wants to pipe in and take offense to something or someone, there is another voice that referees the situation. It starts to connect with the experience and it helps me to see my place in things. It also helps me see other people’s place in things. And the riveting thing is, we are both in the same place and we are connected. We are experiencing whatever it is, we are co-creating it. And as a co-creator I have a vote in the outcome. I have a vote in how I will respond, how I will feel and what I carry away with me. I create my future in that single present moment.
We all have this ability. Sometimes it’s hard to see it when we become angry, outraged and hurt by another’s actions or words. It’s hard to sift through the feelings to always feel compassionate and embrace the experience. I am not saying that going beyond that feeling is always easy and there are certainly situations and experiences where we just can’t do that. But what I am referring to here is the every day exchanges and battles that we have in our daily life – at work, our children’s school, with our children, with our parents and with our spouses. Families are often the most challenging battle grounds.
“If you think you are truly enlightened, go spend a weekend with your parents.” – Ram Das
Of course, when we open the door, we take a risk. It’s a huge risk. What if something scary flies in? What if something awful shows up and I can’t shoo it away? What if? What if? What if?
Okay, try this.
What if something wonderful comes in? What if an unexpected opportunity presents itself? What if I open the door to possibilities and I evolve just a little bit?
What if something wonderful happens?
It’s all in how you look at it. We can look it with shadows or we can look at it with light.
I opened the door.
I stopped being so bitter and cut off. I stopped being angry. I started seeing people and seeing their spirits and embracing their energies. Amazing things have happened. Amazing things keep happening. I have found a beautiful soul and good friend in someone who I had cut myself off from for reasons I don’t even understand (even to this very moment) I can’t tell you why. I think it was my ego doing “its thing.” And with that friendship, more opportunity and possibility has found its way into my foyer.
You know what? Sometimes I get hurt.
Sometimes some buzzing thing comes in and stings me. But instead of smashing it to death and complaining about it for the rest of the day, I take it back to the door and release it with gentleness and compassion.
I like the door open.
It’s a breath of fresh air.
And with it, comes the light.
And the light ALWAYS chases away the darkness.