Open Doors

Have you ever had a door closed in your face? Whether intentional or not, some emotional pain might be involved.

It might hurt.

Maybe the person didn’t mean to and maybe they did. Either way you have to decide what to do with it. Of course, you could immediately let it go. That would certainly be wise.

You could rationalize it, noting that the person was probably in a hurry at the time or didn’t see you approaching the door. You could give them a pass.

You could tell yourself that it was just a mistake on their part, and everyone makes mistakes, realizing this includes you.

There are other options.

You could get angry and think the person was thoughtless or mean. That they did it on purpose, intending to hurt or annoy you. I’m not sure where the profit in this is though, especially if you carry it with you throughout the rest of your day.

You could use it as an opportunity to exercise patience, compassion, and love. Not only for the person who didn’t hold the door open for you but for yourself. If the door closing sparked an emotional reaction in you, you can choose to immediately forgive the person. And the forgiveness you extend can be all inclusive, so their reason doesn’t matter, whether it was intentional or not.

The beauty of this kind of forgiveness is that it includes YOU. There is no requirement to hold on to any anger or slight you may feel. You simply open your heart and release, moving on with the rest of your day.

Perhaps you’re wondering why the title of this post is, Open Doors, when all I’ve talked about is a Closed Door.

Well, instead of having a door closed on you, have you had doors opened for you? Often kind-hearted people hold a door open for me and I return the gesture. It was part of my cultural training. It was considered a nice thing to do.

In the early part of my life, when I opened a door for someone, I had an expectation that they would say, thank you. That probably only happened about half of the time. I wondered, was this civility not a part of others training?

I had several decisions to make.

The first was whether I would allow the response to dictate my future actions. Would I stop opening doors because I didn’t receive a thank you? The second was a question I had to ask myself. Why was I opening the door for someone?

It seems like such a simple thing. Why should this create a thought-provoking question for me?

Over the course of time, I came to a conclusion. I open the door because I want to, not because I was told it was the right thing to do or so that I will be thanked. I do it because to me it feels like a nice thing to do. Period.

Removing the emotional baggage and releasing the conventional expectations I’d been taught, freed me. In the freedom, I am able to decide what I want. That’s an important place to spend some time.

Here’s another question. When a door opens in your life, let’s call it an opportunity, do you back away, afraid of what might happen?

Or do you take a tentative step forward, hesitant, but curious?

Or maybe you take several bold steps forward, excited by a new prospect.

Open doors are wonderful things. They invite us to take chances and explore. They offer us excitement and challenges. They create pathways for new adventures.

I’m trying to pass by all the closed doors now and walk through all the open doors, knowing they are the way forward. I hope you’ll join me in walking through yours.

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I Dare You

I dare you to read this post.

I dare you to cross the imaginary line that separates you from where you are and where you could be. A place where you may find something new and worthwhile.

I dare you to cross a line you don’t even see yet. A line that offers you an adventure you weren’t counting on. Can you resist the dare? Do you want to resist it?

As a kid I heard the words ‘I dare you’ pretty often from my friends. Most of the time they were trying to get me to do something stupid. Something that I’d look foolish doing or would likely hurt me and they could enjoy some laughs at my expense. That’s often what young boys do.

Well actually, that’s what older boys do too.

I was fairly good at resisting their pleas, so they escalated the intensity of the phrase, getting louder and louder. I DARE YOU, they would shout. Eventually I had to decide if I would knuckle under or walk away. Unfortunately, I didn’t always walk away and they ended up getting their laughs and yes, I ended up getting hurt.

The older I got the better I was able to ignore those who dared me. But a funny thing happened. I began to take over their taunt and dared myself to do things.

One time I was walking through a train yard and thought it might be fun to hop onto one for a ride. I dared myself to do it and disengaged my brain. The next second I was running alongside the moving train and hoisting myself into the open boxcar. So far, so good I thought.

After the train picked up some speed my brain reengaged and I thought it might be beneficial for me to get off before it sped up any more.

Here’s the thing about jumping off a moving train, in case no one ever dared you to do it. You have to hit the ground running at least as fast as the train is moving or you fall. Hard.

In my case, after jumping off, I took one step and fell forward, a pretty spectacular face plant, into a roadbed of cinders. Cinders are very hard, sharp, unforgiving black rocks that can pierce clothing easily. And they hurt. Quite badly.

Now you would think I would learn from this experience not to do it again. From where I sit today, I would have counseled my younger self to choose some other dare.

You’ve probably guessed already.

Nope. I dared myself to do it again. Perhaps to prove that I can learn from my errors in judgement (mistakes).

So, I dusted myself off and hopped aboard another train. This time, as it sped up, I ran inside the boxcar and jumped out, got my balance and continued running, keeping pace with the train. I slowed after a short distance and then stopped, watching the train disappear into the distance. Ahhh, success! How sweet.

I wonder whether anyone has dared you to do something you didn’t want to do. Or maybe, you decided to dare yourself. Often dares are meant to challenge you and it can be difficult to overcome your fears or to take a chance, not knowing the outcome. Sometimes the risk seems excessive or you’ve seen others attempt and fail and you don’t want to experience the same results.

What if you knew for certain that you could accomplish whatever you or someone else dared you to do? Would you do it then? Do you need that much certainty?

Here’s my dare for you. I dare you to believe that love is the answer to everything. I dare you to accept that you are loved unconditionally by (the universe, spirit, the divine, god, or whatever you view as sacred). I dare you to be the answer to someone else’s prayer or need. I dare you to look inside of yourself and embrace you innate goodness knowing that you are beautiful and worthwhile and radiant.

I believe you are all these things and more.

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