Keep your hands open, and all the sands of the desert can pass through them. Close them, and all you can feel is a bit of grit.’~Taisen Deshimaru
I have a confession to make. I lived the early part of my life closed off. After many experiences starting in childhood where I felt like my true self was rejected, I closed myself off from others. I could crack a joke like nobody’s business, and discovered I could use humor to put a distance between myself and other people. I learned how to draw people out, how to get them to tell their stories, so I didn’t have to tell my own. I moved around from place to place when people started getting to know the real me. I was scared. I was scared to let anyone else hold my heart. It was easier to dance in the mask of the adventurer, the lone wolf. In the end, I ran away.
But, then one day, I had an awakening. I felt the grit of the sand burning my hands, and I felt lonely, like no one understood me, and I knew I only had myself to blame. I knew that it was time. It was time to poke my head out of the cocoon I had created around myself. I was tired of closing myself off to others. I was tired of closing myself off to life. It was time to take my own tender heart and to set her free. She was ready to feel again.
Step by step, I learned to be outrageously open. I didn’t just become open with others. I became open to life itself. I learned that intimacy with others is what it’s all about. I started finding my tribe because I was letting others know the real me. And, yeah, I started crying a whole lot more. Now, I cry at sunsets, and ocean waves, and homeless kittens. Sometimes, I even cry at flowers. But, I’m feeling again, and my heart erupts in waves of delight every day.
How To Be Outrageously Open:
1. Learn That Other’s Opinions Of You Don’t Determine Your Worth
I grew up in an atmosphere where I was constantly criticized, and, as a child, I grew up with the false impression that I had to win people over. So, I soon learned to use my charm, my wit, and the things that I accomplished to try and be accepted by others. I tried to conform (ahem, something I’ve never been good at), and I lost myself somewhere along the way.
True freedom came when I started realizing my own worth. I realized it had nothing to do with how others saw me. I realized that it was OK if other’s didn’t get me or even understand me. The day I decided to live my own life and not worry about what others thought was the day I became more open to myself. I started learning who I really was instead of who I was compared to others. Don’t be afraid to fully express yourself and show who you really are.
2. Be Fully In The Moment
We actually close ourselves off from the moments of our lives when we aren’t fully present. If we watch a sunset while longing for the past or while thinking of all the things that we are going to do later or while entangled with worry, anxiety, frustration, or anger, while having this beautiful experience, we miss the beauty of the moment. If you fully let go moment to moment, the experiences themselves can heal your emotions, and bring a richness to your world you would otherwise miss.
When you become fully absorbed in a moment, you feel everything about that moment. It bursts your heart wide open. A good example of this was when I saw this murmuration of bronze cowbirds in Mexico. I was so caught up in the moment, I didn’t realize that I was being so vocal with my ecstatic reaction to see them until I watched the video later! When you become outrageously open, every moment in life touches you deeply in a way that it doesn’t when you are closed.
3. Treat Your Time With Others As Sacred
If you spend your time with others engaged on your phone or other distractions instead of being fully present with them, you miss the beauty of connecting with others on a deep level. You send a message that their presence isn’t valuable to you and you miss out on being deeply known yourself. View your time with others as sacred. Turn off your phone and let yourself deeply connect with the person in front of you.
4. Let Yourself Screw Up
I used to be very fearful in life. Fearful to do screw up. To not get it right. Guess what? You are going to screw up. And you know what’s beautiful about that? You are going to screw up your way. Allow yourself to do it. When you screw up, you get the chance to practice self-love. And, if your screw-ups affect others, you get the chance to see who accepts you for being human, rather than for their idealized projection of you.
5. Accept Others For Who They Are
When we judge others, we distance ourselves from who they really are. We try to fit themselves in a box of our making. Are you trying to get to know someone who they are, or are you trying to know them for who they are through your filter? Let others show up. Exactly for who they are. When you do this, you will attract others who let you do the same. You will also open your mind which is needed if you want to live openly.
6. Embrace The Things That Life Offers You
Two years ago, I didn’t know that I would be selling everything I owned to begin an adventure around the world. When I began that adventure, I didn’t know that the real thing I was seeking was myself. One year ago, I had no idea that I would be drawing in people from all over the world to share what I have learned at a spiritual retreat in Bali.
The thing is many times, life often throws itself at our feet, but we don’t accept the things it offers us because it doesn’t show up in the package we thought it would, or it doesn’t feel comfortable or safe, or we are afraid of what others will think.
The thing is you don’t know where these opportunities will lead. Choose what shows up. Hell, don’t just choose it, welcome it with tears of gratitude, giant bear hugs, and slow, deep kisses. Savor it, groove with it, and feast on it. Let yourself become unleashed!
We claim that our lives are boring, but then we are afraid of spontaneity when things get shaken up. Do yourself a favor, and don’t sit this one out. After too many rejected invitations, life may just find a new dance partner.
7. Be Willing To Receive
When we are open, something happens. We don’t just give. We learn how to receive. And then a healthy flow can begin in our hearts and our lives. Part of being open isn’t just putting our vulnerable selves out into the world. It’s allowing other’s vulnerability to come in. It’s allowing the gifts of the Universe to come shining through. It’s allowing ourselves to be touched on a deeper level and accepting things that are meant for us.
8. Let Yourself Heal
Closing yourself off to others or to life is a form of self-defense. In order to be more open, it’s important to let yourself heal the pain of the past. Amy and Valen both offer healing sessions to help you become more open, let go of fear, and embrace life more fully. You can find out more about them here. Letting go of old pain is the best way to live a full life of openness and joy.
Want to know more about how to become more open or more authentic? Email Valen for a free 15-minute Skype session. (1 per person)