I used to think feeling everything so deeply was a curse, a problem to be solved and a flaw to be ironed out. I rode out unbearable highs and unspeakable lows with resentment, wishing for once everything could just flat line so I could have time to catch my breath. When something good happened, my excitement was always marred by a sense of fear that things would be over as soon as they began and I didn’t think I could take the crippling disappointment, so I shut down. I hardened my heart against the world and resigned myself to feeling half as much of everything; the pain, the disappointment, the joy, the hope.
I was reading a book recently that made me look at all the areas of my life where I still put up these walls to protect myself and thus am not able to experience or express my fullest love. It was called Dear Lover by David Deida and it showed me a pattern that played out almost daily for me; a situation arose that triggered an old wound, memories surfaced and emotions threatened to break through the surface of my calm exterior, so I went into survival mode; protect, contract, escape.
It showed me that “shutting down” is a form of self-sabotage masquerading as a survival tactic. It’s one of the tools our ego uses to make sure we never reach our full potential. It robs us of the depth of human experience by keeping us from every venturing out of our comfort zone.
“Practicing love often means feeling through fear: intentionally opening yourself when you would rather close down, giving yourself when you would rather hide.”
So I wanted to urge you today to stay open.
Opening isn’t a weakness. Opening in deep surrender awakens a strength you never knew you had. The strength to remain present in the face of calamity, the courage to face your pain rather than running from it. Opening feels like a weight off your shoulders, a deep sigh of relief, a sense of connectedness to all things in this world and beyond. It looks like generosity in the face of scarcity, acceptance in response to rejection, love in the face of fear. It’s smiling when someone takes your car space, forgiving the person who betrayed your trust, looking for the message in the mess and knowing you don’t have to navigate this life alone. It’s looking for Divine guidance, it’s searching expectantly for opportunities, it’s being humbled by gratitude and flawed by wonder on a daily basis.
Try it now. Breathe in. Breathe out. Feel your body relax, your walls come down, your heart melt in your chest. Soften. Forgive. Let go.
Ask yourself, are you fully present with the person in front of you, or distracted by your own internal dialogue? Are you meeting them in their pain or closing down to protect yourself? Are you opening to receive the blessings being bestowed upon you, or hiding beneath layers of insecurity? Whenever you catch yourself in judgement, anger or fear and you can feel the walls closing in around your heart, I challenge you to stay open. Stay open when every fibre of your being is telling you to shut down. Don’t eat, shop or drink to numb the experience. Stop indulging in distraction, masking your pain with cynicism and your anger with apathy. Allow yourself to feel (it’s why we’re here).
Let your heart be broken by the pain of the world so that it will spur you into action; let the rage of injustice fuel your flames of purpose, let the unbearable lightness of gratitude crack your heart open to even greater depths of love. I know your mind is worried you won’t survive, that the pain will be too much for your fragile constitution. But I promise – though it may bring you to your knees – it will not be your undoing, you are made of stronger stuff.
When I finished the book, I made a promise to myself and I would encourage anyone seeking a richer and more graceful life experience to make this promise too,
“I will soften. I will keep my heart open to love. I will allow myself to receive with gratitude all that is put before me. I will risk hurt, disappointment and rejection, for I know I cannot guard myself against pain without numbing myself to joy. Even when it hurts, even when it’s the hardest thing in the world to do, I will stay open to the love that is flooding through me in every moment.”
Thank you so much for being a part of this journey. This is so much more than a community, it’s a revolution of consciousness and together we are creating the world we want to live in by becoming the people we were meant to be. I’m so proud of you, and I’m honoured that you’re here.
All my love,