The end is near! The end of 2015 that is and I’m stressing a little over that. In January I wrote a blog post entitled “Word Search”. I was very excited to find my “word for the year” and explore it fully over the course of 2015. I chose the word “open” because I thought it had chosen me. What a great word! Embrace it. Live it. Write about it. The year was full of possibilities!
The end of the year is here and I’ve got nothing! No earth shattering conclusions. Nothing about “open” to report on. No new life path. No concrete example of how I had lived with the word “open” for an entire year! Other people choose words like balance or peace or serenity or empowerment. Achievable words. Goal-centered words. But I selected “open”. Most likely the vaguest word in the whole dictionary! So indistinct in fact that I initially believed that I had not experienced openness at all. My eyes had not been opened to any new possibilities. I did not open my mouth and use my voice to tell a life altering story. My mind was not opened to any new ideas. I barely opened one book a month. When one door closed another one did not open. The door just stayed closed. Maybe “closed” should have been my word. “Closed” is easy and doesn’t require much thought or work at all. “Closed” is clear.
The really sad thing is that if I had chosen balance or peace or serenity or empowerment as my words I probably would be writing the same blog post. None of these words truly describes what my year has been all about either.
In the beginning MY word “open” felt like the most positive word in the world. Good things were definitely going to happen. I could feel it. All because of my very accessible word. Boy would I have a lot to write about in December.
The truth is that some very positive things did happen this year. But so did some very negative things. It is no different than any other year. It’s bound to happen. Whether you choose a special word or not. The good things you want to be “open” about and share with the world. The bad things you don’t. This Pollyanna is always hopeful that only good things will happen. But being open to this doesn’t keep the bad things from coming in the front door. Good and bad. Positive and Negative. Open and Closed. Yin and Yang. You can’t have one without the other. The two go together. Experiencing the bad, sad, or scary times is when we are the most openly vulnerable and responsive to help, growth, restored faith, spirituality, friendship and knowledge. I know. It sucks but unfortunately (or could it be fortunately?) that’s the way it is.
Reflecting positively on my year of “open” I realized that I have made some really great new friends this year and reconnected with old friends. New friends came into my life because of needs for help and I opened myself up to giving help. I opened my heart to giving and consequently others opened their hearts to me. I’ve opened my home to friends, family and strangers and others have opened their homes to me. I’ve opened my time to tutor kids in reading and volunteer within the community. Being open to new relationships has brought positive outcomes.
I’ve had one occasion this year when I thought I might lose someone I love to serious illness. My heart was breaking and my soul felt lost. Close. I prayed to God and every other higher power that I could think of like I have never prayed before. Restored faith. Open. Fortunately for me things turned out better than expected. Good. Gratitude. Eyes wide open. Some of my friends were not as fortunate this year. Bad. Terrible loss. Terrible sadness. Eyes wide open. Closure. Damn yin!
All it takes is one bad event and life changes. Enough to want to shut the door on everything and everyone. How hard is it to “open” the door to a different way of life and open yourself up to accept loving kindness again? Or worse, open yourself to be hurt again. A closed heart makes it impossible to let other people or opportunities in. A quote from an unknown author says “it takes sadness to understand what happiness is, noise to understand silence and absence to understand presence”. I suppose it also takes understanding “close” in order to understand “open”. You can’t know one without the other.
So, what’s so great about “open”?
Here’s what I’ve learned about the word “open”in one year. It’s a perfectly good word. It’s only vague when it’s used by itself. It’s a much better word when it is attached to another good word. Think about it. Open mind. Open hands. Open arms. Open door. Open home. Open air. Open fire. Open book. Open heart. It works.
I believe that the word “open” can bring balance and peace and serenity and empowerment when you you remain “open” to people, opportunities and changes that come your way.