As our ego-selves, we spend a lot of energy pushing away from the things we don’t want in life. This seems like the way to do things. After all, life is full of all sorts of unpleasant things, and if we don’t constantly fend them off, our life will fill up with bad stuff, right?
Often, this can seem to be what life is about. We eat the right foods to fend off obesity and cancer, we pay our bills to fend off the collection agency, we put on the right masks to fend off others’ scorn or ridicule. It all amounts to a lot of effort, and the world seems to answer us right back, providing all sorts of things for us to fend off.
What would happen if instead, we welcomed everything in? Invited in every feeling, every emotion, every thought? Tore down our boundaries and flung our arms open wide to the world?
At first glance, this seems like a recipe for disaster. Surely I’ll eat nothing but ice cream, surely I’ll drive without my seatbelt, surely other people will see the “real me” and laugh at me! My life would fall apart in a matter of hours!
This shows us how strongly we cling to the idea that we must constantly be fending things off.
There’s a tiny possibility that if we really, truly open ourselves to the world without boundaries, if we open our hearts to every emotion and person and circumstance, that our lives won’t fall apart. In fact, it’s possible that something else will happen — that the world will answer us in kind, and that instead of being given more things to fend off, we’ll be given more things to embrace.
Giving this a try can be frightening. After all, we’ve been taught since we were little that the world was a big, scary place that will beat us up if we’re not constantly vigilant. Yet there are some intriguing reports from the frontiers of human experience, where adventurers tell us that the world isn’t actually that rough. Instead, they say, it’s waiting to nestle us into to the warmth and excitement of a life lived Wide Open.
Wide Open, we may find that we don’t actually crave ice cream for every meal. Our tongues and bodies may begin to crave broccoli and kale. We may enjoy paying bills because we’re giving to others. And we may find that other people are more loving, curious, and friendly than we ever imagined.
If you’ve been giving the “fending off” theory a try for a while (and most of us have been for most of our lives), then mayhaps it’s worth an experiment to try living Wide Open for a single day. Or maybe a week. The more fully we do this, the more surprised we may be with the results.
May today bring you delightful adventures!