Each January, I pick a word to define my year. I kind of plant it in my subconscious and watch it unfold. This year, my word is "open".
Here's the definition:
(adjective) Allowing access, passage, or a view through an empty space; not closed or blocked up.
(noun) Move or adjust so as to leave a space allowing access and view.
The biggest part of experiencing openness is allowing. Allowing means that I am open to what others do, be or have. It doesn't mean that I agree with it, AND it doesn't mean that I disagree with it--living in openness means that I cast no judgement on another's experience.
You may be thinking, "That sounds a lot like tolerance." But it's not. Tolerance means that we don't really approve of the actions of others but we put up with it anyway. Despite it's popularity in our modern vocabulary, the word "tolerance" isn't a word I like to use in talking about my fellow human beings. I tolerate mosquitoes--I tolerate doing my taxes. On the other hand, being open, (or allowing) means that I am what I am, and you are what you are, and I honor, value and treat you as I would like to be treated in all things.
By being open, I remove all negative emotion that I may derive from the actions of others. I choose not to stay stuck in any negative emotion that other's actions may bring me. For instance, there's this lady who always, ALWAYS cuts me off at my daughter's school. Every day, without fail, she smirks at me and revs her engine and cuts right in front of me.
Now, I could throw something at her, or shake my fist, or smash her windshield in with my tire iron, or I could just talk about how she cuts me off every day and spend my time seething---or, I can choose to be open to her actions, wish her well, and be on my way.
By removing my negative emotions about the event (her cutting me off) I am not blocked up by my own thinking. I get to enjoy the many and beautiful blessings around me instead of stewing in my daily dramas--which, who are we kidding--they really aren't that interesting anyway.
Instead, I'm trying to be open. I'm attempting to allow. I find that when I do, openness expands my spirit. Being open allows me unfettered views on the path to understanding and compassion. I no longer tolerate my fellow humans. Instead, when I'm open to how others live their experience (in all their wonderful contrast and beauty) I am granted the same gift in return.
Openness seems to be working for me so far....at least I haven't used my tire iron...yet.
Being open brings me joy. What brings you joy today?