Gaze towards the open door

“If God closes a door AND a window, consider the fact that it might be time to build a whole new house.” -Mandy Hale

I heard this quote above from a recent podcast (see the link below). A listener contacted the host questioning why God is closing doors on her. The discussion centered around how our life purpose may not be what we think. Yes, there are struggles in life, but if we are aligned with our life’s purpose, doors will open.

The problem lies in if we are focused on specifically one door instead of many.

Sometimes we may become too attached to what that life purpose looks like. We may be using microscopic vision for what our “job” must exactly be, or the city we must live in, or the partner we must have. In reality, perhaps we need to broaden our horizon through a wide lens camera. The essence in how we serve others may look different in reality, than as it appears in our heads.

Or maybe you have grown out of your current situation.

Who is to say that we are supposed to stay at this one specific job/city/person for a lifetime? It fit for that specific amount of time. We learned the lessons and skills from this experience, but perhaps this must end to allow another opportunity in.

The podcast offered another quote by Helen Keller, “When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.”

These words of advice have been ruminating in my head, because I have friends who are currently undergoing transitions with jobs, cities, and relationships. At our most difficult times, these changes are forced upon us. We may look at the experience differently of we are the ones taking the initiative to change, but when we have no choice, we feel powerless.

But we can reclaim the power.

I often ask myself, am I too attached to my dreams that it keeps me from appreciating the possibilities? Being so attached to the ease and joy of my current life keeps me from dreaming bigger. Sometimes we need a push to catapult us to the unthinkable. What does the lay of the land look like outside our comfort zone? Are we willing to allow ourselves to peak at it?

Below is a link to the podcast of 48 days:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/48-days-to-the-work-you-love-internet-radio-show/id178145160?mt=2&i=1000416243739

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Communication Breakdown: what to do when you don’t have WiFi

My WiFi has been down the past week in my home. I’ve tried to not let it bother me, as I thought it would remediate itself. I had also gone away for the weekend. My hotel also did not have WiFi. My DVD player stopped working. Also did I mention I have no cable ? What was i to do with extra time? The world was giving me a major hint. Take a break from technology. Stop trying to fill my world with background noise, and simply be present. This is easy to do for one day, but days? I finally caved and called the internet company, they sent out a technician today. The result: two additional weeks without internet.

Although this maybe a great tragedy among some, I will survive.

In the meantime, I have been focusing on tasks that have been put off for months… cleaning the leather of a purse, paint my toenails, going into town to sort out business with the city council, writing thank you letters. It’s easy to simply drown out the world. Accumulate more stuff , more useless knowledge about television shows, movies, or random facts online. But we just become inundated. We don’t even realize what we have, because it’s covered up with things that are unnecessary.

We are always in a rush, but for what? We want to be constantly occupied, but why? I had heard on a recent podcast the importance of allowing ourselves to be bored. Boredom breeds breath and creativity. We need space to create. We need to wonder. So many times if we don’t know an answer to a question, we are quick to find the response on google. But what about living in the unknown?

This weekend when traveling, one of my favorite travel purses broke. I was frustrated but not attached. I wanted to throw it away, but instead brought it to the store I purchased it from. I showed them the damage, they encouraged me to bring it to the flagship store in London to see if it could be fixed. I mentioned I planned to throw it away, they looked at me in surprise. “No! See if it can be mended.”

Concurrently, today I finally allowed myself the time to clean under my bed. What did I find? My dog’s teddy bears, excess bed pillows, and this amethyst ring. It’s not an expensive ring, I barely recalled it. I never even knew I lost it. I have so much stuff, I wonder if I even value it? And so today as I waited for the WiFi repair person to come to my house, I will to continue to clean, discard, and wonder.

Purses, rings, information…there are numerous things I (we) have excess of. It’s been said we are overloaded with information, but are lacking wisdom. We have access to so much stuff, that it lessens the value of what we hold. But can we step back, release the grip on wanting more and simply appreciate what we have?

Additionally, I have been allowing myself to talk with old friends. There are occasions we fill our lives with acquaintances, and free time at home is spent binging on Netflix. Since I didn’t have access to this, I was able to reconnect. I feel this is an ongoing process that I need to continue to remind myself of….what matters in my life.

Sometimes the world forces us to pause, and take stock. Even if it is simply though a WiFi breakdown, anything can be viewed as an opportunity to pause and reflect, before you proceed.

The 4-year-old wisdom in us

Listening to a podcast interview of Yo Yo Ma, the world renowned cellist, I had a flashback. At the age of 4, he dropped the violin classes and went for cello. Through a negotiation with his parents, he wanted to play an upright bass after seeing it in the Paris Music Conservatory. They compromised on a cello. At the age are we closest to knowing what we innately want? I recalled one of my earliest memories of wishing on a star to become a ballerina. I had this wish, but did not take any action steps. To this day I never have taken a ballet class in my life. I did not start taking dance classes until my 20’s when I was in graduate school.

I’ve always enjoyed dance, and at various periods of my life have felt quite compelled bu the beauty of it. It was in my blood, but certain dances pulled me more than others. Belly dancing, Salsa, and African Caribbean dance overtook my heart more than hip hop, hula, or modern dance. For the past several years dance has not been a frequent part of my life, but these past 7 months I have taken up flamenco and burlesque. They have not consumed my life, but they have been assisting to bringing me closer to my authentic self and heightening my confidence levels.

Both of these dances require a fierce attitude of Assertiveness and strong intentionality. One does not walk, but strut. These dancers demand attention for their presence in a room. Facial expressions are representative of the internal monologue that must play in one’s head of being sexy, strong, and untouchable. It’s reminiscent of this line I read from a book that you must dress as if you want to be f*ck#d. Not just for the sole fact that you want others to desire you, but for you to desire yourself. You are worthy of this. And to be a flamenco or burlesque dancer, this mentality must become a mantra in some ways.

In both of these dances, the posture one takes is a very Wonder Woman-esque. It’s like exactly a power pose that Amy Cuddy discusses in her Ted talk. Standing in this position for two minutes a day will build confidence. And I can concur it does.

https://www.ted.com/talks/amy_cuddy_your_body_language_shapes_who_you_are

As previously discussed in an earlier blog post, I had my first dance recital ever for flamenco. Although it wasn’t as glorious as I thought it would be, I was proud I did this. Upon waking this morning, I recalled a dream in which I was dancing burlesque with other family members, friends, and colleagues. There was no instructor, but I was coaching those who were apprehensive in their movements to take this Beyonce-esque mentality. The rest of the dream was very celebratory, as if we were all at some massive wedding. But there was no bride or groom, the reason we were gathered together was simply to dance. The power and confidence of dance was now invading my dreams.

And so as I listened to Yo Yo Ma, I thought of all this and started to tear up. How did I know at the age of 4 what brought me joy? Why have I kept this out of my life for so long? What has been keeping me from having dance be a stronger part of my life?

It saddens me a bit. Were our childhood dream jobs really that ridiculous? Was intuition greatest at our youngest age and our earliest memories? Why and how did we forget our loves? It’s as if our childhood passions were replaced with more realistic and “responsible”career paths that would lead to financial independence. To want to be a dancer wasn’t really a logical option, and therefore my family and I never invested money or time into this hobby.

I am nearing the end co completing the Artist Way. I thought what would continue to line my pages and life over the past few months is writing. Although writing is there, what has been arising is my fascination with the lives of Picasso and Frida Kahlo , and dance. I have begun to dance everyday, even if it’s just when I put butter on my toast in the morning. Dance has become such a focal point in my life now, and is infiltrating other aspects.

Below is a link to the podcast with Yo Yo Ma that was aired recently on Krista Tippet’s On Being.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/on-being-with-krista-tippett/id150892556?mt=2&i=1000415278303