January 30, 2016

Open your Heart—Open your Life.

Marcy Kellar/Flickr

Warning: Some naughty language ahead!

There is a distinctly horrifying possibility that Donald Trump may become the next President of the United States of America.

There’s even a remote chance that Kanye West may become a future President.

Does anyone else feel like they’re in some surreal dystopian society as these kinds of possibilities unfold? Some spin off from Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World or a Margaret Atwood bestseller?

Seriously, lobotomise me now—I’d rather that than live in a reality where either of these possibilities eventuates.

Let’s get real for a moment…

The world is going to hell in a handbasket.

In one week not so long ago we lost the beauty that was David Bowie and everyone’s favourite villain Alan Rickman. And yet Trump still remains.

There is no God.

As I move through the disturbing reality of how much sickness underlies the foundations of our Western civilization, I am reminded of the important part that each of us plays in nursing it back to health.

For some, that might mean going to the frontline of the refugee crises and making an impact with their physical bodies. For others, becoming vegan and making a stand against the inhumane meat industry with their mouths is the way to stand against these disturbing instances. For many of us, either of those things feels like punishment but we might feel the pull to champion something else.

Whatever it is that fuels the fire for us, we need to ruthlessly pursue it. We often fail to recognise the amazing power we hold in our very hands in shaping the world around us. You know, we’re only human and humanity (for the most part) is an inherently selfish race. I would be lying if I said I didn’t consider the direct impact on my own life before making morally driven changes to how I live, despite knowing that doing so would positively affect the lives of others or the state of the world. I’m Australian and still take showers longer than four minutes long sometimes… okay, most of the time.

None of us are perfect but how can we become better versions of ourselves while also making the world around us a better place?

I’m no expert but I do believe these seemingly simple yet somehow difficult steps can make all the difference, both in our own lives and for the rest of humanity.

Step One: Keeping our Hearts Open No Matter What.

A closed heart leads to a closed mind, both of which lead to fear.
We know that horror is a constant companion to the daily news, people do and say intentional and unintentionally damaging things to us often and the transition of people and things into and out of our lives is painful. Learning to face all of it with an open heart, embracing the pain of heartbreak as well as the more attractive uplifting sense of joy is one of the most difficult things I continue to do.
Yet without an open heart, we cannot clearly hear the voice of our own Soul guiding us through the messy experience of human existence. Trust me, we need that compass more than we need to shut out the pain.
Too many people are closing their hearts and eyes to what is happening around them because it is becoming seriously overwhelming to swallow. I truly don’t believe a person can hear what Trump has to say and agree that it’s the way forward if they listen with an open heart.
Only by more of us battling through the temptation to close our hearts, our minds and our eyes to the realities around us (both within our own lives and the world at large) can we begin to change them.

 Step 2: Speaking and Following our Truth.

You know that inner voice that calls out amidst the reaction? The one that niggles and niggles at us underneath the turmoil of our mind speak? This is our truth—and the more we squash down that voice, the quieter it becomes.
If living through everything with our heart laid wide open is the foundation, this is heart opening in action.
In September last year, Marianne Williamson captured my attention with her address to the World Parliament of Religion. A part of it that penetrated me as pure truth was this:

“What if every American woman had laid down on the highways across America and said ‘No, you will not invade Iraq. No, you will not do that to the women of Iraq. No, you will not do that to their children. No, you will not bomb their homes.’

How many of us don’t actually stand up and speak our truth because we feel that it won’t make enough of an impact? Sure, not every woman in America (or even around the world) believed that we shouldn’t have invaded Iraq. But how many of us secretly felt helpless about changing it?
While that is applying the principle of speaking and following our truth to a worldwide matter, the same applies for our day-to-day life. Each and everyday we are faced with the opportunity to concede to following the general direction that we are headed (whether we like it or not), or to choose our own adventure.
It might be putting a voice to that rampant sexism in the office or speaking up when we feel as though our spouse hasn’t considered us in some small or big way, or admitting that deep down we feel really frightened by the possibility that Donald Trump may be the next President.
What ever it is, this isn’t about reacting to the situation and forcing change through aggression—it’s about recognizing the deep signal that indicates something doesn’t sit well with us and digging into the most vulnerable part of us to express it mindfully. It’s being honest and real and authentic in our interactions with ourselves, the people in our lives and the world around us. When we speak from the heart, it’s not about seeking power over a situation, it’s about clearly and firmly articulating what feels right and wrong for us regardless of how it is perceived by others.
This is the basis of mindful communication and how we can influence the people around us by changing the context of the conversation by changing our language and our intentions.

Step 3: Building a Healthy Set of Impervious Boundaries.

Let me preface this point by saying I’m still learning to say no. By nature, I’m a helper—I want to assist and care for the people in my life (okay, and sometimes I’m a secret rescuer)—I want to bring value to the world by being of service to those I love and those who face injustices. And yet, I often forget to be of service to myself by replenishing what I am giving away to others.
Boundaries are different to walls—they’re not about cutting people out by pulling down the shutters, locking the door and throwing away the key; boundaries are simply recognizing that we have a voice and we’re allowed to say what we’re okay with and not okay with in our lives.
For many of us, it takes time and some practicing of staying open-hearted and speaking our truth to even recognise what is okay and what is not okay. Yet some others are like, “Boundaries…F*ck yeah! Don’t cross me sister or you’ll feel my wrath.” All of us are different and have our own unique edge around boundaries.
When we practice identifying our edges and implementing changes to what we accept and don’t accept in our lives, we use our voice to change the behaviour of others. It might ruffle a few feathers or result in some people falling away but it certainly changes our lives for the better when we begin to execute a new standard for ourselves and those we surround ourselves with.

Step 4: Living the Life that Sets our Soul on Fire.

I’ve heard many times throughout my life recently how brave I am. Honestly, when I hear it I’m left scratching my head in puzzlement at what other people see that I don’t. I don’t feel brave—I feel messy and unsure and question whether I’m making huge mistakes all the time. But there is one difference: I am no longer afraid to live my life for me and make changes along the way if something no longer feels right.
Let me rephrase that: I’m scared shitless and I am committed to doing it anyway.
I simply don’t want to wake up at 40 or 50 or 60 years of age and question my entire life up to that point because at some point I’ve hopped onto a train going full speed towards a destination I’m not even sure I want to end up in and I’m too scared to jump off. Sure, maybe it’s comfortable and safe and I can work my way up to the comforts of sitting in the first-class carriage but does it light me up? Nuh-uh, no way.
All moments of our lives are precious, and free will means we are given the opportunity to make choices throughout each and every experience we face. Some stuff (including the sh*tty, uncomfortable-as-hell stuff) is completely out of our control, but even then we get to choose how we respond and can adjust our sails to change direction whenever we see fit.
The benefit of living with an open heart, engaging in the practice of speaking our truth and setting kick-ass boundaries is that it’s darned near impossible to then close our eyes to what it is we truly want in this lifetime. Some people get the benefit of recognizing this without the other steps but honestly that only leads to more people like Donald Trump trotting around on power trips.
It may not be clear immediately, it might change regularly…most of all, it might look and feel like a completely crazy decision—but it will shine through.

While they may sound like small, insignificant changes, these are the building blocks to a better, more soul-aligned life. And since we are creatures of energy living in a world of pulsing energy, these small acts are more powerful than we often give them credit.

What this world needs more of is people walking out of the fog and learning to listen to their own inner, guiding voice. People like this foster the strength of will to stand up to the machine that is driving our Earth and many of her inhabitants towards destruction—or simply detouring away from people like Donald Trump or Kanye West leading the United States of America towards certain doom.

“Unless someone like you cares an awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” ~ The Lorax, Dr. Suess


For more like this, Relephant Read: 

The World is Falling Apart: What Can I Do?


Author: Sarah Kolkka

Image: MarcyKellar/Flickr

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