When I feel my heart closing down after a fight with my lover, I stop for a moment and say to myself ‘Open Wide’.
When someone cuts me off at the traffic lights, honks his horn and gives me the finger out the window, and my immediate reaction is to flip him the bird right back, I stop, soften and open wide.
When I have just prepared the most delicious dinner with so much love, and I place it in front of Leo and he screws up his face and says ‘Gross, what’s that?’ and in that moment all I want to do is close off and cry, I take a deep breath, soften my heart and open wide.
When my parents trigger me, I soften and open wide.
When my girlfriend forgets my birthday and my Mean Girl tells me to ‘dump her’, I soften and open wide.
When I am mentally running through my to-do list while my lover is kissing my neck, I soften and open wide.
When my nephews want to play and all I want to do is check my emails, I let go, soften and open wide.
When the checkout assistant is going too slowly for my liking, and I feel the frustration building and my blood starts to boil, I soften and open wide.
When I’m in a rush and I run into my sweet elderly neighbour, who dearly wants two minutes of conversation and human contact, and yet my mind is pinging with tasks and reminders…
… you guessed it: I soften, and I open wide.
‘Open Wide’ has become my mantra, my philosophy, my guiding light... And it’s changed everything for me.
For too long, the opposite was my default reaction. Instead of opening wide, I’d shut down and close off — and NOTHING good ever comes from either of those two actions. Nothing! Every time I have shut down and closed myself off, I only end up hurting myself and delaying MY growth and MY evolution.
Of course, the thing is, shutting down is so easy. For many of us, it was the behavior we saw modeled all throughout our childhoods — from our parents, teachers, friends, and neighbors. So we too learned to raise our hackles, don our armor, and deadlock the door to our hearts.
Opening wide — while a powerful, expansive, growth-inducing choice — is something most of us have to actively relearn… I know I definitely did.