Open Heart, Open Mind, Open Arms, Open Source.
Here in the present moment there is the person you want to be and in your mind lives the person you were. Who we want to be can drive us forward into the future, who we were sometimes pulls us back. Each one of us embodies the principle of Yin/Yang. We flow back and forth between darkness and light.
Opening up speeds healing. We need healing before we can begin our creative work. Unhealed wounds keep us tied to who we were. Regeneration cannot happen until wounds are dressed. Opening up and acknowledging all the emotions and feelings that flow through us every moment is a good way to begin healthy growth. A stunted landscape of the soul is a result of years of misuse and neglect. We’ve all been hard on ourselves and hard on others because we don’t really know what we are doing until we examine our landscapes without bias.
The beautiful thing is that there is always this present moment in which you or I can simply open up and begin to heal from the inside outward. Even writing this is a form of opening myself up and creates a sense of vulnerability, something I am not comfortable with. But this discomfort is a small beacon, bringing my attention to my fears. My fears show me what I need to address in myself.
I also believe the control we try to exert over our environment is a mirror of our fears. We fear that we are actually wildly out of control, or we fear losing the control that makes us feel comfort. The comfort is another beacon, bringing my attention back to my mind. Why do I feel comfortable in some circumstances and not others? What seed of fear was planted at what moment in my life? There is so much to learn about the landscape of our hearts and minds.
That is my birthday missive – to encourage myself and you and all of us to simply open up each day as much as we can because that is a practice that will allow us to be present and aware of the water of life that flows through us. We can drink the water, bathe in it, shy away from it, make an umbrella. No matter what we do, the water will always flow.
Yesterday I read that Robin Williams the famous comedian committed suicide after a failed attempt to lift himself from depression at Hazelden, the treatment center in Minnesota that celebrities apparently go to in when they hit rock bottom.
I remember seeing a photo of him at a Dairy Queen on a friends Facebook page a few weeks ago. There was something in his eyes, some feeling that you don’t often see in a celebrities face.
I feel like I may understand a little bit about where he was coming from in this final act. I was diagnosed with clinical depression when I was a teenager. I was going through some incredibly hard years of growing up and found myself face to face with the troubling concept that nothing in life really had any meaning, that there was no point to any of this. Suffice it to say that the tumultuous teenage years left me with many scars, some mental and some physical, that now serve as a catalyst to remind me to move forward always – onward and upward – especially when I catch a glimpse of that dark place off on the horizon. I know what it is like to have arrived there, in that dark place that is indescribable to those who have never felt it around them, the weight of this absence of light crushing the breath out of the body.
Depression is a very real thing that exists within us all, I believe. The ones like myself who have been all the way down the dark road and contemplated ending it all have only met that which we all will meet. Depression leaves scars on our psyches, and if we utilize these scars to inspire us to “Seize the day” as Williams said in Dead Poets Society we can only become better people, and perhaps learn how to become happier one step at a time.
The hardest part about Williams death is that it tells us that all the things we think will solve all of our own personal problems, such as fame, fortune, family, and respect, actually, in the end, will solve nothing. It is up to ourselves to find meaning and happiness in this world and even the poorest unknown person in the far reaches of the planet has the ability to do so.
Let us respect the darkness and enjoy the light within all of us, in the passing on of a great man who gave pleasure and inspiration to many, many people.