Knock, Knock

July 02, 2010

It’s been six months since I chose “open” as my word of the year. How is it going?

To be honest, I chose the word and promptly forgot about it.

However, I was in a favorite store a couple of weeks ago and came across this decorative tile:

…and I began to think about how I was and wasn’t putting “open” into practice, and what I’ve come to see it has been teaching me to do:

Open my eyes. Actually see what’s around me. Notice the details of life. Taking the Artful Journaling class helps, because to draw or paint something, you have to learn to see it.

Open my ears. Hear the frogs in the pond behind our house (it’s hard not to when they really get going). Hear the birds singing. Hear what my husband and son are really saying. Even hear what my own heart and intuition have to say.

Open my mind. My default answer is no. I can tell you all the reasons why whatever you’re suggesting isn’t a good idea, or can’t be done, or why I don’t want to do it. “Open” makes me bite my tongue. I may be thinking no, but maybe if I don’t say it right away some new thought or idea will sneak in. If it takes up residence, well, maybe my mind will open up just a little more.

Open my heart. When I pay attention—see and hear—I am touched by others. I can give the kind word, the money, the time or the good thoughts. If I’m not open, I don’t even know those things are needed.

I’ve begun to see that even when I’m not thinking about it, “open” is working on me subconsciously. I recognize how tightly wound I’ve been, how rigid and closed my ideas of what I should do with my time, how I should run my household, how things “should be.” I think I’m afraid that if I let even an inch of control slip from my hands, my carefully constructed life will fall apart—I’ll fall apart.

“Open” is about much more than trying new things. It’s a philosophy of life. I have quite a ways to go before it’s my philosophy, but at least I’ve opened the door a crack.

If you’ve chosen a word of the year, how is it going for you? What have you learned? What has surprised you?

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  1. And why is our default so often "no"? I so enjoyed reading this post! Thank you!! I am very behind (it seems) in so many areas of my life, but now maybe I am reminded to be open to the flow of life instead of all of those "should be's..."

  2. I don't know why we say no, Elizabeth. Fear, perhaps? I'm glad you enjoyed the post. Happy 4th of July!

  3. Whenever I look to see where my word has gotten off to, I am usually startled to find that it hasn't gone far but has been quietly working in the background of my life. Sounds like you're experiencing the same. I am so very glad to see that "open" is helping you to see and hear possibilities anew.

    My word (I think) is cultivate, however, it has manifested itself more in the form of letting go of perfection and practicing imperfection rather than as actually cultivating anything. We'll see. We have another six months yet!

    Happy 4th!

  4. Beautifully realized. Thanks for the gentle reminder that by being open we're bringing in beauty and creativity into our lives.

  5. Laure--Happy (belated) 4th to you as well. It's sort of magical, isn't it, how when we choose to focus on something, it becomes a part of our lives even when we're not "actively" pursuing it?

  6. Erin--thank you for your kind comment. It's certainly a reminder I need, and I'm glad someone else enjoyed it, too.

  7. I don't have a word for the year, but I really enjoyed hearing your thoughts on it. "Open" is a very insightful word to have, and you've cracked it open enough to see what's inside and what it's all about. Yay for you!

  8. Thanks, Krista. This is the first time I've done a "word of the year"--we'll see how I feel about it at the end of the year.