Are you listening?
Just as my leg began to feel somewhat better I awoke one morning with pain and swelling in my foot; I walked on it two weeks before seeing my doc and getting an x-ray. Then in a rush to get to physiotherapy I backed up smack into my daughter’s car. More appointments for chiro and acupuncture to treat the whiplash induced headaches. Then I had the nerve to hurt my big toe; amazing how one tiny body part can wake you up at night with its throbbing.
But I am practicing walking eyes and heart wide open and what I hear is that anytime I begin to feel rushed or reactive I need instead to pause and slow. I also need to continually offer myself permission to take the time I need to heal, to rest.
I am taking over management of a rental property I have owned for years. We have a lawyer and the process is messy as we disentangle ourselves from a partnership gone wrong. And I find myself with another part time job that pays nothing at the moment and which I never wanted in the first place.
But when I get quiet and listen in I hear that I am being called yet one step further to freedom – out of fear and into resilience and faith and an awareness that I have what it takes to do this job with skill and gratitude. That there is, in fact, a gift in this unwanted experience. And all will be well.
There is a relationship in my life that continues to cause me pain. No one is at fault. It is simply a relationship in transition; my heart strings are forever entangled with this individual. I cannot control the outcome and this experience simmers and stirs up all those old, intense feelings of rejection and not good enough.
After the tears I spend some time just breathing and remembering that sometimes loving someone means releasing them to choose their path and keeping the porch light on. That someone else’s decisions do not determine my worth. And as I linger I hear, too, that I need to be very careful about the stories I tell myself for they are often written with partial truths, one-sided, short-sighted, devoid of hope or grace.
I practice living eyes and heart wide open.
There is a project I am working on – or rather, was working on, for it has come to a standstill. I was contacted by a literary agent interested in representing me. And what seemed so cheery and bright a few months ago now feels almost laughable. I see all the reasons why I was crazy to believe in the possibility of doing this work that I love. Comparison creeps in and I feel dejected and small.
Part of living eyes and heart wide open, for me, is noticing when I am working from a place of curiosity and joy or when I have fallen into performance, allowing my happiness to be determined by whether or not you like or approve of me. How easily I forget that all I need to do is offer my small gifts with open arms and open heart and let go of the need of a specific outcome.
The details of my life are probably not all that different from yours: ups and downs; injuries and moments of laughter and connection; meal times and making the most of challenging circumstances. Real life.
Where the real difference between us might lie is in whether or not you are living eyes and heart wide open.
It isn’t so much the circumstances as our willingness to listen and learn that determines our joy or peace in life. It is our willingness to shift our mindset, to loosen our grip and open ourselves up to amazing possibilities and gifts along the way that holds power to propel us into far greater health and joy.
Every client or customer is an opportunity to learn, to pour out kindness, to peer into the soul of another human being.
Every mistake is a lesson about what does and does not serve you well.
Every meal is a chance to give thanks and savor and notice how your body responds to the foods you eat.
Every friendship, even those that don’t last, is a gift in season.
Every risk taken is a decision to taste life and not allow fear to control your every move.
Each new dawn is a whisper to receive with gratitude, to breathe deeply, to pick up joy.
Every loss ushers in a season of intense grief and remembering the importance of loving well in the moment.
Every single hug, even those with sticky fingers, is a chance to pause and lean in and to quiet the frantic to-do list in your head.
The physical pain is an opportunity to choose rest, to practice self-compassion, to finally grasp that joy and pain can coexist.
Each open door you choose to walk through is simply a chance to offer your gifts and practice holding the outcome loosely.
That painful challenge in your life is a prodding to ask for help.
The addiction or illness or recurring situation might just be an invitation to stop running and numbing.
Each cold and dark season calls us to rest and reflect and prepares us for the delight and ease of spring.
What might change in your life even today, or what might you hear, if you begin living eyes and heart wide open?