I’m sure we’ve all had those moments in life when we relaxed into our own skin and opened ourselves up to the one standing right there before us. A moment when we trusted that we could trust ourselves and trust life’s unfolding. When I take a minute to notice those times in my life, I feel my chest open up and my shoulders relax a bit.
There’s an old Barney (yes the big purple dinosaur, Barney) commercial that warms my heart and makes me smile to this day when I remember it, although it’s been many years since I’ve seen it…bear with me folks! It’s about a small boy who goes to school and is met with all sorts of obstacles, snags and taunts. The kid exudes an open heartedness and indomitable spirit that is undaunted and joyful. He just seems beautifully oblivious to the slights and “mayhem” around him. He has a Mr. Magoo veritable blindness to the barbs and arrows of daily living…and I so admire that quality.
The thing is most of us approach the day, ourselves and others, with a stance of guarding and defending. We strap on our armor and put up our shield and load our quiver with barbs and arrows for counter attacks. We do this because, unlike that dear character in the commercial, we’ve been wounded…and woundings by nature hurt. And who wants to hurt? So we protect ourselves and this protective guardedness becomes a habit of being…a way of meeting ourselves, others and the world. Instead of Magoo-ing a slight or two, we see slights and dangers even where there are none.
We get so focused in on scanning the horizon for danger, we miss the beautiful horizon.
As humans, we are wired to scan for danger and sometimes, with lots of practice, we become experts at defending. One of the problems with this expertise, however, is that we are also wired to connect and it’s hard to connect deeply, when there’s tons of armor and full quivers between us.
Another problem I’ve noticed is it’s so very hard to dance with life in heavy armor…
Because meeting the world in a closed defending stance can drain the beauty out of our days, push against our attempts at warm connections, and make our shoulders droop with the weight of it all…let’s get curious about what openheartedness might look like for us in this very moment.
Sometimes to change our pattern of being, we need a safe space where we can peel off the armor and lay it on a chair for a bit. Sometimes we need a trusted other to tell the stories of the scars beneath the armor. Or sometimes we may need a place to honor the beauty and craftsmanship of our armor…a place to share gratitude for how it has protected us in the past, while experimenting with how to go forward a bit less encumbered.
When it’s over, I want to say: all my life I was a bride married to amazement. ~Mary Oliver
Today may you smile more often, breathe more deeply and feel more at home in your own life…