Open vs. Closed

“If it rains, let it rain, if the wind blows, let it blow.” — Ikkyu

My favorite therapist (yes, I’ve been to a few) gave me a tool I have used countless times and shared with anyone who will listen.  To start, extend both your hands out wide, palms facing up.  Now imagine filling both with sand, piling as high as it will go.  Now allow one hand to remain open, full.  Then slowly start to squeeze the other closed, as tightly as possible, feeling every grain of sand you hold.  And after doing so look at both your hands and ask yourself: “Which contains more sand?”  Is it the one you have closed with all your will and might or the one you left open, filling, allowing to just be?

Sit with that answer for a moment.

I love this image, analogy, exercise for so many reasons.  For one, I can actually do it, feel it see it.  I often will close my fist as tightly as possible on several occasions, feeling my nails pushing into my palms, then slowly release.  The contrast of coming from a place of constriction, tightness, strain then straight to that of release, expansion, abundance truly gives me pause.  If I’m lucky my nails will be on the longer side and I can actually feel them digging into my palms more than normal, needed on harder days where old thought patterns tell me I can control this uncontrollable thing called life.  The relief felt from finally letting go and opening my hand is immediate and tangible.  I feel lighter and able to move more freely.

Secondly, if we go back to the sand analogy, you truly can live in abundance by coming from a place of openness.  When we tighten our fist, try to manipulate the outcome, we only end up with less sand.  Living where we do, when we do, it seems backwards to what we have been told, shown, taught.  How could one live more fully by not building walls, destroying the competitor, protecting what is yours?  While these questions deserve more nuance than this one post can give, I will say from my own experience I have experienced a more beautiful life on every level when I stopped trying to control what I thought I could, should.  In short, I allowed it to rain.

As I write this post, I cannot help but smile. I am so happy that I would not be surprised if I even cried.  And if that happens, I will not stop it.  I no longer suppress what was meant to be released.  I know now that we are meant to live in a state of openness.  And for me that entails spending designated time each day unencumbered with social media, expectations of others, to do lists, and emotional managing others as well as myself.  I do this through journaling freely, pages no one will ever read, meditating quieting, breathing intentionally or my favorite, looking into my dog’s eyes.  Some days I can only squeeze 2 minutes in, others I find whole stretches of time in this space.  Regardless, I find it, make it, allow it.

You may find yourself unable yet to keep your hand, life, expectations open.  And that’s okay.  I spent over three decades in that place.  But know that it exists.  Be aware you are squeezing out the sand.  And notice how it makes you feel.

We need the contrast to appreciate the expansion. Understand closed can turn into open.  There is an inhale before the exhale.  And they are all there, for you to allow into your life.

Have an idea for a future BREATH TO BREATH interview? Email me! Perrin Live with intention. Move with gratitude. Breathe with purpose.

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