Sometimes it’s important to set goals – to run a mile or 2 or 5, to save a specific amount of money, to obtain a certain job, or to move to a new location. I think it’s just as important to set goals for how we want to live our lives and what kind of a person we want to be. Writing it down often helps us to gain perspective and set things in motion. I’d like to set these things in motion: to have an open mind, open heart, and open hands. Here’s why.
If I can’t consider that someone else may be at least partially right, can I at least consider that I may not be 100% right? Often those of us who consider ourselves the most open-minded aren’t that at all. We’re only open to a very limited set of possibilities within a very narrow realm. And then there are those of us who don’t even want to be open-minded. We think it is a sign of weakness or indecisiveness. I can have strong opinions, but I always want to remain open because those ideas may need adjusting from time to time. A closed mind can’t allow anything else to come in. I don’t have to allow everything else to come in, at least not all at once – wisdom and discernment are qualities I want to have too – I think I just have to be open to new possibilities. I love open windows because of the fresh air and light coming in. Sometimes my mind may need refreshing or it can become like a stagnant pool of water. Not good.
One thing I want to be absolutely sure of is that I never close my heart to anyone – ever. I may need at times to maintain a physical distance from someone for safety reasons, and I know boundaries must be set in my life to protect my time, energy, and emotions, but my heart, in my opinion, should never close to anyone. That too is for my own well-being. Keeping an open heart promotes physical, emotional, and spiritual health, and, again, is not a sign of weakness. It may be one of the most difficult things I will ever do. It doesn’t mean I have to have that person in my life – it simply means I acknowledge their humanity and their inherent worth and try to understand that if their actions seem cruel or evil, there may be reasons beyond my present awareness.
In my daily relationships at work and with those I care about deeply, deciding ahead of time to keep an open heart will go a long way to help in healing when conflict arises and will help keep those relationships strong and flourishing. Most of all, living with an open heart just makes me more fully alive, experiencing the love and richness life has to offer.
I never want to grasp anything so tightly, whether it’s material possessions or an opinion I have, that it prevents me from opening my hands to someone else’s needs or opening them to allow myself to receive something new. Stiff, rigid, and clutching are not how I want to live my life – open, kind, generous, and free are.
I have work to do – the work of remaining centered and keeping my goals always before me, the work of examining myself daily to maintain a pure, open channel for light to pour through. These are my goals, and I can’t tell anyone else they have to live this way. Each person has to make their own decisions about how to live their life. Writing this down is my first step, and I know I’ll receive grace to continue.