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Remain Open

Happy Mid May! Once again, a month seems to be flying by. Sometimes I wish things would slow down a little. That's when I have to remind myself to get into the moment and be fully present. It allows me to appreciate what is going on and what I have instead of being caught up in concern about what I missed or what's coming up. 

Lately, as I've considered my life so far, I've remembered times in my life where I could have made some better decisions. In general, I'm ok with most of my accomplishments since they all played a part in getting me to where I am today. But sometimes the way I achieved something was less than stellar and I would definitely welcome a re-do on a few things if that were possible. Occasionally I'll question the why behind choices I made. Often it's because I just didn't have the information or hadn't learned something that came to me later. Now that I "know better", as Maya Angelou says, I can "do better" and for that I'm grateful.

One thing I've learned and that I can highly recommend is the value of being open. There were times in my past when someone would attempt to offer me some helpful information. Sometimes, I would have asked for it, yet because I was closed off to even hearing it, I wouldn't take it in. I remember certain things that my long-time therapist said to me and I rejected it full out. Many years later I could see the merit in her advice and it boggled my mind that I wouldn't even entertain it as helpful back then! What the heck!?! It probably would have saved me and those around me some grief and sorrow.

What was going on? Maybe it's just me, but I think it's more scary to be "wrong" than to choose some beliefs, some attitudes, some points of view and hang onto them for dear life. As a young woman I feel like I was often full of bluster and swagger because I had so much to learn. I didn't want anyone to know how "dumb" I was so I hung onto a few ideals and pretended to have it all together. Maybe, somewhere along the way, someone might have made fun of my ignorance about something. Instead of brushing it off and looking for people and situations that were more supportive, I got all prickly and went on the defensive. Even when it was clear it wasn't serving me well, I closed myself off. 

There's an exercise I do when I'm teaching Mindfulness classes. I have everyone make a fist and I ask them what they can receive with that closed hand. Can't accept some M&M's, a flower, or even put a comforting hand on someone's shoulder. Imagine your heart or mind being shut down like that. No new ideas or love or any true feelings can get in. Sometimes I'll have told the participants in the class to bring some small, lovely items in for an experiential exercise. They might pair off and first show their fists to each other and notice how shut down they feel. Then, when they open them, they can accept the small crystal or strawberry or feather or whatever the other person puts in their palm as a gift. It's a totally different feeling.

Here's an invitation to you this week ... try to notice when someone is offering you some new information. Maybe it's a different way of doing something at work or an unfamiliar way to look at something. See if your first response is to reject it. Then, try it on for size. It still might not work for you, but give it a little time before you completely dismiss it. We get so much more by remaining open than when we limit ourselves by always scorning or nixing with disdain a suggestion simply on principle. It's a great opportunity to be care-full. 

Happy Healthy Habit Hump Day,


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About the Author




Barbara L Cummings, MS, RN

the Mindful Maven and Mistress of Meditation, is a sassy Queen-ager, mentor, confidante and trusted guide who provides people with everyday life support. 

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