I briefly touched on being open in my last post, but I want to expand on the topic a little.
Maybe openness seems like a no-duh thing: sure I want more of it! Openness, flow, all that good stuff, yay.
But sometimes it feels like opening up is a never-ending task. One of my default patterns is fear (which is often lack of knowing) which leads to anxiety (which is mostly desire for control), which leads to everything closing down — heart, head, body, soul. Paralysis. Just when I think I’ve committed to opening up, I’ll find myself back in the fetal position. I’ll find my calves knotted up and my shoulders hunched up.
Sometimes fear is really useful, in that don’t-forget-to-run-away-from-the-jaguar way. But where I get into trouble is being afraid even when there’s a good chance that something good is hiding inside of the unknown.
There was a quote in my, erm, embarrassingly cheesy daily motivational email (ugh) about “the magic, the unseen, and the miraculous logistics that can so swiftly change a life.”
To which I say: YES YES YES
But it’s not just about being open to what I don’t know. How can I learn from the process of searching for an answer/outcome?
I love Havi’s idea of watching as something happens or develops, which she often references in her Very Personal Ads: you want to be a good detective to sleuth things out. What makes something work? How can you make it work again if you get stuck?
When I wrote recently about wanting some kind of writing retreat to happen, I didn’t really believe it when I wrote, “Maybe there are other similar retreats nearby I could find out about in the meantime.” I was really focused on one particular event. I was pretty sure it was going to be big and hard and expensive, so I focused on the logistics of making it happen. I remember thinking I bet there’s nothing really good around here that would fit the bill. I never imagined Maybe something very amazing and local will happen very, very soon. And the Rally showed up and it’s exactly the kind of thing I wanted.
Sometimes I know what a solution will look like, and it’s good to work towards it. But sometimes I only think I know. How do I sneak up on those I-think-I-know moments and open them up to let more magic inside?
Next time I write a VPA or am curious about a problem in search of a solution, I want to think about this in greater detail. But yes: more magic, less fetal position. Something along those lines.
One thing I’ve learned from my daughter this year is something many babies know instinctually: she instantly calms down when we go outdoors. I’ve only very slowly learned from her example. Even though I think of myself as a homebody, a sun-phobic, lifelong bookworm, I like going outside too. It’s good for my brain. Something relaxes when I see a little bit of nature and get out among the breezes and the birds. It’s kind of silly that we have this myth of modern life in which going outside is some sort of hobby you pursue in your spare time. No, it’s a daily necessity, I think.
Do I joyfully seek out that outdoor time? Only occasionally. Sometimes it takes me a while to remember this awesome, simple thing that will help improve my day. I’ve only had a little bit of time to practice understanding the power of it.
I think I’ve spent too much time inside so far today. I’m going to go outside and breathe and walk. I hope you get to do the same!