Monday, October 25, 2010


I recently heard a story from a woman just back from a book tour.  She had traveled and stayed in a different hotel every night.  On the final night of her tour she went to her room too exhausted to smile one more smile or utter one more word. She put the card into the lock and the door would not open.  She kept trying, twisting, turning, pulling, and shaking the handle.  Finally in total exasperation she looked up at the room number and realized it was the wrong room.  She repeatedly was trying to open the wrong door! 

I feel certain you know where this is going.  How many times are we faced with a door we try and try to open only to find it is the wrong door?  We may have the key, but perhaps it is meant for a door that leads us to a much more extraordinary place. 

Okay, yes it is hard.  It is hard to stop trying to open a door that just won't open and try another one.  We have to be awake, aware, observant and have an open heart to open that other door. But the deal is, it takes courage.  Whether a marriage, a relationship, a job, a decision, staring at the closed door too long keeps us stuck and in that quagmire we remain.  We remain closed to the rest of the world that would open up to us.  We become closed to life.

In Merry Thoughts, Kay Foley writes, "I have become convinced that the real key to living life wholly, fully, and rightly is openness.  Stephen Levine writes in his book, Who Dies? about a Hasidic teaching that says we must be ready for whatever life has to offer and more specifically for a particular event or moment for which each of us was born."

Supposing the key is to accept life, to be open to change and the mystery of it all, rather than striving for mastery over it. We then are able to experience a remarkable wisdom when we become open and receptive.

Today I am tired and the only door I want to open is my bedroom door.  But you see I have experienced that one event and moment for which I know I was born.  It is a gift, a blessing, and at the same time a burden.  But nonetheless, it is mine. There are doors I have pulled and tugged at so long I have blisters and yes, even scars.  And then when I released them, the doors began opening by themselves with no key needed. Once I stopped clinging to the 'stuff' that wasn't working and depleting my soul, life, and energy - joy and happiness opened with unanticipated clarity and ease.

One of the wounded warriors wrote me the other day in reference to a question I posed on FacebookWhere is your bunker?  Where do you go when you can't face the day and fear takes you by the hand?  His response was, "I have a TBI and PTSD.  I go and pull up a chair by my chicken pen, throw feed to them and just sit and watch them.  Just sitting there for a little bit, I get the motivation to get up and do some yard work.  Sounds silly but seems like daily getaways for me clear my mind."  I understand.

Another soldier wrote, "Most often I just sorta zone on my couch with my best friend. I will often find myself just sorta swirling her soft ears between my fingers, Then she'll get up to "remind" me that I need to snap out of it. Don't know what I would do without her. Patsy you know I love my wife more than anything in the world and bless her she tries to help me, but there are some things only a dog can do." This too I understand.

Knowing which door to open and which to close takes work.  But more importantly, it takes courage.  We can come up with a thousand reasons why we keep pulling and struggling to open the wrong door. But what peace and comfort and solace there is to be found behind the right door. People who don't have our backs, who pout, yell, scream, accuse, cajole, threaten, and beat us verbally shouldn't be in our lives.  It becomes all about them, their insecurities, not us.  This isn't a dress rehearsal.  This is life - the only one we get. 

Whether you find solace throwing feed to chickens or rubbing the soft warm ears of your dog, these soldiers have found the right door.  So today my suggestion to you is to stop fighting, stop fretting, stop the pain of being in the wrong place struggling with the wrong door.  Step back, open the right door.  One day it will happen ~ BOOM.  You will step through and see the sun shine and feel the warmth that permeates your very being, as you become aware that you have been fighting demons endlessly for nothing. 

I'll just bet your eyes twinkle, your step is brighter, your heart lighter. And with any luck one day you just might thank me. Oh what we miss with this human thing called caution!

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