Have you ever felt closed off to life? Like there’s a big wall between you and the rest of the world? We all close up every once in a while. Usually it’s in response to a painful emotional experience, or series of experiences. Sometimes, closing up is a very necessary and helpful thing to do in order to cope with life. If we’ve been burning the candle at both ends, or just feeling overwhelmed, it can really help to unplug from the world for a little bit and have a mini-retreat. This can help us to slow down, release stress, and get back in touch with ourselves. The problem, or the imbalance, occurs when we stay there too long. When we stay closed-off longer than we should, we risk missing out on so many of life’s gifts which would easily be received if we could just shift our mindset and open our heart centers again. When we shift our mindset and open our heart centers, we also shift our outlook on life and our overall state of being and mode of interacting with the world around us. So how are you feeling right now, open or closed?
One way to see if you are open or closed to life is to observe how you feel when you walk out of your front door and into the world. Pause for a moment next time and see how you feel. Do you take a deep breath, smile, and look up at the sky? Or do you lock your door, look down, and walk as quickly as you can to your car, praying your neighbors don’t see you? If you’re somewhere in the middle, or you’re still not quite sure, try observing how you are in your interactions with other people. For example, smiling (genuinely) at people you pass on the street or while shopping at the grocery store generally means you are open. On the other hand, if you’re constantly turning down invitations from family, friends, or coworkers (that you actually like and usually enjoy being with) you’re probably closed-off right now.
So, what’s the big deal about being closed-off? Why does it matter? When you’re closed-off, you’re not only closing yourself off from the things you don’t want; you’re also closing yourself off from the things you do want. And, no matter how bad you might feel on any given day, the truth is that underneath that temporary emotion, you still want things; more specifically, you want to be happy. It’s what everyone wants, ultimately. And regardless of the person, place, object or circumstance we say we want (the detail), the reason we want it is because we believe we will feel happy as a result of having or experiencing it (the bigger picture). And guess what? All of those happy things and experiences you’re calling out for are being sent your way every day. But, if you’re not allowing yourself to be open, you’re probably not going to recognize them when they show up for you. That’s because often times, the things we ask for don’t come to us in the form we’re expecting. In fact, sometimes they come in quite the opposite, a.k.a. “blessings in disguise.” Here’s an example: Say you’re invited to a gallery opening for a local abstract artist. However, abstract art is so not your thing, so you quickly decline the invitation. Little did you know, if you would have went, you would have met a woman who has the perfect solution to a problem you’ve been needing some serious help with. Oopsy.
The message here is not to be open to every invitation and say yes to everyone who asks you to do something. The idea is to just be a little more conscious of when you might be closing yourself off from opportunities that could really benefit you. Instead of automatically saying “No” when you get an invitation to go somewhere you normally wouldn’t go, take some time to think about it or feel it out. Your rational mind might be saying “No” while your intuition, that feeling inside you can’t quite explain, is saying “Yes.” If you feel that inner voice telling you to go, even if it doesn’t make logical sense, go. Trust it. Take a chance. Allow yourself to be open to where life is trying to guide you and give you. You might be pleasantly surprised.