Heart Opening

“What does it mean to have an open heart?”, I asked my therapist. She answered, “Stay in the moment, and be open to whatever is happening. Be open to what others have to offer. Be open to any and all emotions you may be experiencing. Don’t close yourself off as a coping mechanism to fear.”

“Well, that should be easy.” not  I live in the future. I am always 10 steps ahead. I have to control everything around me because I am desperately afraid of anything that might go wrong and everything that I am convinced will. I am possessed with this idea that if I don’t control the universe, it will control me in a way that I don’t want. It will be painful. The universe is out to get me and the only reason I am still alive is because I have controlled the space around me from the evil forces of the universe. Pretty much I am psychotic. The universe will be the universe, and instead of fighting against it, I am supposed to release myself, tear out my heart, and say, “here you go.” I don’t want to admit that while I have been sheltering my heart so fiercely and nobly I haven’t been really living at all. I’ve been deceiving myself. I don’t control the universe, all I’ve done is hidden myself away from it.

But, there is a lot of good stuff in the universe and I’ve been missing out.

warm shower warm shower 

I rode my bike in the rain this morning for a couple of hours. It’s the middle of the summer in Utah and can you believe that the rain actually got cold? I needed a jacket to keep off the chill. After the first hour I was soaked through and so the jacket didn’t help at all. I felt alive out there in that rain. I felt my heart open to the universe.

When I got home, I hustled about doing the things moms do (cleaning up after my kids) and my wet clothes seemed to permanently duct tape themselves to my skin. After a good 20 minutes (my kids are slobs) I felt frozen so with some vigor I stripped down and jumped my naked body into the warm shower. A warm shower has never felt better in my entire life. As the drops of glowing syrup tumbled their way down my skin my whole body came to life…my heart started pumping. I felt like crying because the kindness of the shower was so luxurious. I never wanted to leave the moment. I was most definitely NOT allowing myself to move ahead into the future. This universe was one I didn’t know existed. It was sympathetic and kind. It wasn’t out to get me at all.

I’ve pondered today about life’s situations and how many of the best moments we get are like warm showers and if it weren’t for the rain we would never appreciate them as deeply.

Babies come after 10 grueling months of pregnancy and hard hard labor.

Companionship after years of being single and/or many broken attempts.

The joy of being physically fit after much sweat and tears.

Wisdom after a lot of effort towards knowledge and its failed application.

Self acceptance only after the realization that denial was never going to work.

Yes, if you want to REALLY appreciate the warm shower, it’s easier if you first spend some time in the rain with your heart wide open.