Be Open, Be Free

As you rest, open yourself up. Open your eyes to see around you. Open your heart to love yourself and others. Open your mind to new ideas, dreams. Open your hands, unclench them to see what has been placed there. Open your hands so they are ready to receive. Open your hands so they are ready to do. Open hands are able to take action. My hands as a writer take the action to manifest on the outside what was placed on the inside. Being a survivor, it has been difficult, sometimes very painful and traumatic for me to be anything but closed. In my healing journey, I had to learn that being open can still contain boundaries that keep us safe and guard our hearts from evil, keep our purpose, our divine being, our spirit from harm or destruction.

When my children grew old enough to leave home, it felt like my security blanket was ripped away and torn into pieces, leaving me vulnerable and alone. I have four children so I had practice in the emotional experience of each of them leaving. But when the youngest one left?! The house became too large, too quiet, too open to feel secure. As I gradually became used to living alone, I began to have a clearer view. Instead of thinking my security blanket was taken off, I started thinking of it as transforming into my cape to help me fly. Instead of staring at the entry way with only my pair of shoes left by the door, I changed my perspective to see how many different kinds of my own shoes could now be placed there. Shoes to take me on some of the most memorable adventures in this life. Adventures from a faraway dream transformed into my reality. Zip lining on Fremont Street, walking along the Seine River, browsing through designer fashion shops in Paris, experiencing the breathtaking sights of calla lily valley, exploring California, Hawaii, Las Vegas, Minnesota and North Carolina with my adult children. The list goes on and on.

I want you to know this comes from me, a woman who has a fear of open spaces, yet complete freedom for me, for each of us is my wildest dream. Being a child survivor, followed by events making me also an adult survivor, sacred boundaries were crossed. In this trauma, I didn’t think freedom was possible for me. An automatic and normal response was to close my heart to love, my mind to dreams, my hands to receive. In my healing process of learning to set healthy boundaries, I first had to recognize how many walls I had built. Too many walls keep us trapped and stunt our growth, physically, spiritually, emotionally. I have taken steps, spoken words, set boundaries, bit by bit, overcoming piece by piece and being comfortable in the knowledge that this life is a wide open space.

There are times when I still feel uncomfortable and vulnerable in the wide open. For instance, when I share my deepest thoughts with a friend and wish I could take the words back because it feels safer to keep them within me. There are times when I let go of someone or something and I want the person or thing back. The letting go, the opening up may not be familiar at first. Oh, Loves, but when you do open up and let go, the stretching feels good. You are no longer curled up in a ball afraid. I challenge you to curl up, then open your body up, stand and stretch. Allow each bit to receive fresh air and light and movement. Yes, movement!

I pray you have support to emotionally heal, to open up bit by bit, finding freedom in this wide open space of life to be who you were created to be. When each part of you is open, you can put on the right shoes and step forth into the adventures of living your dreams.

Please remove your shoes upon entering

Have you ever noticed how automatic it is that we remove our shoes as soon as we enter someone’s home and the door is shut behind us?  There is no need for a decorative written message or a mat suggesting the removal of your shoes.  It seems an unwritten rule to remove your footwear when entering someone’s private space where you have so graciously been invited.  Home, where we dwell even more each day than we ever have before.  Let’s go a bit further and talk about sacred space.  

You may say your home is a sacred space.  Oh but Loves, it doesn’t seem sacred when you barely have enough space to breathe inside your own home, with children doing online learning and many working from home.  Between cooking meals, cleaning up, keeping order in your home and your family, do you ever need space?  If you live alone, do you spend your time trying to figure out whether you should be using time to rest, using time to accomplish more?  But really you just want time to reminisce because you miss your Loves, or you just need time to process this world we live in and the impact it has on your heart and your dreams.

In a previous post, I dared you to dream.  In this post, I am challenging you to find a sacred space and begin dreaming again.  This is a place to feel, to explore, to discover, to remember who we are, to dream, to write out ideas that have been planted but have been dormant for some time.  To capture goals that best manifest our purpose in this season (who and what we were created and destined to be and do).  

I dare say this is the space where we must remove our shoes.  No one else physically goes with us.  Our connectedness to others goes with us.  Their influence on us, our relationship, their spirit, their needs are in this space with us.  This place is sacred because it’s our very own.  It is where we meet and can be ourselves—in the truest form.  This to me is why it is sacred.  Barefooted. A woman who loves shoes. Just me and my Creator.  Just.  Simply.  Me.

Music sings when no notes are played.

Joyous laughter reverberates.

Light shines no matter the position of the sun.

The smallest flame warms the atmosphere.

Gifts are unwrapped, no holiday in sight.

Dreams come alive, dancing in your eyes.

Sustenance when no food has been eaten.

Sight and sound are sharp enough to see clearly, to hear the soft gentle whisper calling you.

Yes. You.

It is not about the physical space as it is a place within your soul, thus making it sacred.  This is the place where we remove not only our shoes, but also the expectations of others, stereotypes, judgments, daily responsibilities.  The place of grace, of dreams, of voice and truth and light and love, no matter your mood.  

If you have a full house, in addition to having your own space, create a time and space to have some sacred moments with others in your home, whether it is a spouse, partner, family member, roommate.  For any children in your life, spend time with them in a sacred space, empowering them to set up their own sacred space, encouraging them in who they are and in all they are becoming.  

Sitting quietly-crying, smiling, remembering, dreaming.  The space that prepares you to put on the right shoes for each occasion, to stand tall, take your position and go forth.  This is the place where a steady stance is learned, improved, perfected in Jesus.  The readiness of your feet to stand on the holy ground within the sacred space, the readiness of your soul and soles to go, do, be. 

Just.  Simply.  You.

Stay Centered

Life’s difficulties can hit us hard, even knock us down.  For those things that are out of our control (job loss, pandemic, grief), it can make us feel hopeless.  We don’t know how to get back up.  We don’t know what to do, and we become overwhelmed by it all. What now?  How do I adjust?  After my job loss last November, I had this recurring dream.  I was lying on my back, floating on a queen-sized inflatable raft in the ocean in the middle of the night.  The endless black water, my lack of swimming skills and my fear of open spaces left me immobilized.  Three months into being unemployed, my real life matched this dream.  I was not getting much momentum in my job search and was overwhelmed with feelings of rejection, anger, questioning what I had done to make this happen, worrying about how long my money would last versus how long it would take to get a job, etc.  Life became so heavy, I could not move.  

In a quiet moment, with no music, no tv, no phone notifications interrupting my thoughts, the words of my Sister Love echoed.  Stay centered.  In the motion of my swing chair, my mind and my heart engaged in a debate.  How do I stay centered, when life is so turned around and upside down?  I am always the strong one who encourages others, who never gives up, who keeps the faith.  

A few nights later, the dream returned.  Plot twist.  My eyes gazed upward, the light of the stars shining so bright in the vast darkness.  Here I was floating in the ocean again, yet I looked up, my eyes open to the light, refusing to let darkness drown me.  Waking up from the dream, keeping my eyes lifted, I recalled the bible story about the jars of oil (2 Kings 4:1-7).  A grieving widow had creditors threatening to take her two sons into slavery. She could not see answers through her worries. When she asked Elisha for help, he asked what she had, then gave her instructions. Out of what she thought was nothing, came enough to pay debts, with leftovers for the widow and her sons to live on.

In times of upheaval, when you cannot see the solution clearly, when the burden of uncertainty, fear and worries weigh you down, leaving you immobile, do not give up hope.  Find time to center yourself.  Prepare a quiet place for yourself, whether in a dimly lit room playing soft music, taking a walk in nature or taking a bath in candlelight.  Take off your shoes and stand in your bare feet feeling this sacred ground, before situating yourself in a comfortable, open position. 

Bring to this space forgiveness, grace, peaceful intentions.  Bring to mind people and things that lift you up, the people who love you most, how they feel about you, how you feel around the people and things you love.  Take those feelings and breathe them in.  No judgment–only joy, sharing, strength, peace, faith, hope, grace, love.  Let each of these radiate within you.  Breathe out and let go of fear, worries, mistakes, hurt.  Breathe in and be embraced by the love that lifts you up.  Speak of your gifts, passions, dreams.  We are in unprecedented times, but you are still here, you were made for going through.  Times are not any less predictable than before.  There are differences, yes.  BUT.  Your gifts and purpose are still within you.  Goals and dreams, still there.  God remains the same.  He is sovereign.  His power is bigger than anything.  Let this bring you out of the trance long enough to see the spark of light and revel in the simplicity of standing in the truth of who you are, wrapped in perfect love.