Recently I was talking to my daughter, who, like me, seems to lead a charmed life, even when things are going particularly badly. Somehow, we seem to manage to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat on many occasions. Why is that, I wonder? The more we thought about this interesting question, the more we decided it’s because, for whatever reason, we both believe in living our lives by the title of this post. We work to show up with an open heart; to remain open to the good in a situation or a person, to look for and expect that something wonderful is planning to happen to us even when we can’t see it, and to allow life’s goodness to flow through us.
I can’t say my entire life has been easy (whose has been?) but I can say some amazing opportunities have presented themselves to me, and that often, I’ve been intelligent enough or open enough to take advantage of them. Some people might see growing up fairly poor on a working farm as a disadvantage; I see it as a tremendous plus! Not that I ever want to butcher a hog or cow again, but I could do it if I must; and make sausage, and plant a garden, and build a fence, and milk a cow, etc, etc. My background has prepared me for lots of interesting life experiences.
Others might look at the plane wreck that broke my back severely in 1987, causing me to be paralyzed for awhile, and having a spinal fusion and rods installed in my back, and choose to believe my productive life was over. I chose to see a new opportunity to learn more about bodies, trauma, and how to overcome trauma in the body. In some ways, that wreck was the real beginning of my learning and living. I’m reasonably sure I could have lived on disability for the rest of my life. How would that have served me? Or anyone else? It’s been so rewarding to use that accident as a springboard to ever-increasing learnings. I am so lucky!
Likewise, my daughter seems to have ‘it’. She’s had her share of hard knocks in her life, but we both seem to believe that what doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger. I’m happy to report that through all the rough patches she’s kept her sanity and her sense of humor, and she’s actually beginning to really achieve her goals in life.
I think it comes back to the title. I think too many of us try to shut down our heart energy. Why? Perhaps because of early abuse, physical or emotional, that caused us to want to make a smaller target by shrinking and stooping forward to protect our hearts. Perhaps our work situation is such that we must sit at a computer, or drive a lot, or work with people we can’t enjoy or trust. Many physical and emotional problems cause us to pull ourselves forward and try to hide our hearts. If and when we can choose to keep that heart hinge open, and expect that there’s good waiting to happen in our lives, I believe we magnetize that good to us!
In the past I’ve suggested to clients that they might want to start practicing allowing their heart to be the first body part that reaches out into the world. Several have burst into tears and said, “I could never do that.” I remember one woman who said, “Well, I won’t do that, but I’ll allow myself to think about it.” To me, even this small step is a step in the right direction. What would life look like if we could allow ourselves to face it with a full and open heart, more of the time?
I believe by expecting good things to come our way, and therefore NOT protecting ourselves against the bad things that might come, or the good things that are disguised as bad things, we can get a lot more joy from our lives. I believe making the simple decision to allow our hearts to arrive first, to ‘wear our heart on our sleeve’, and to live with our ‘heart in it’, will give us a richer, fuller life; even if that life sometimes or even often feels harried or unhappy. We’re alive, and when we allow ourselves to be fully alive and act as if life is meant to be enjoyed, it often is so!
Therefore, I invite you to consider showing up with an open heart. You don’t necessarily have to expect good things to happen in every moment; you just have to begin to stop judging events and people as ‘good for you’ or ‘bad for you’, and allow yourself to experience each of them for the learning, the lesson, and the joy they bring. Lead with your heart, and see where it takes you!