September 15, 2010

The Muse of Open-Heartedness

Over the past few months, as I articulate my personal values, a result of teaching this topic in so many of my courses, I am recognizing that open-heartedness is my core value. If you look around my apartment you will see this reinforced in the artwork I have collected - many hearts.

What I am realizing is that the people who resonate with me are the ones who have open hearts. I would describe these as folks who demonstrate integrity, respect, are trusting and trustworthy, who listen to and really see others, who continuously reflect on their own actions - recognize their impact, treat others as they expect to be treated themselves, are honest, have emotional and social intelligence, and always strive for the fullest self-actualization. This may seem like a laundry list of the tallest order, thankfully, it reflects the values of the people who are closest to my heart and I believe I am close to their heart's as well.

When you are open-hearted, you experience emotions that perhaps others avoid. Being closed-hearted is certainly safer if you are into self-preservation, and I believe the result is missing out on reaching your fullest potential and the fullest joy of having deep, loving relationships. Being open-hearted requires bravery.

Open-heartedness is an intention. It is obtained through meditation - in whatever form that takes, unique to each individual. Discovering open-hearted people, and living as one yourself, is a blessing and a gift, an opportunity to learn to live an authentic life; reaching your fullest personal and social potential.

There are spiritual "muses" in our every day lives, people who are inspirational. As I reflect on the family, friends and colleagues in my world who are open-hearted, I feel loved-up. These people are gifts. We open-hearted muses are sometimes perceived as the most difficult to comprehend and the most desirable to "obtain" because we are seen as the magic elixir for fixing other's woes. So many times I have heard, "you are so good for me." How selfish that now sounds in my ears, whereas before I perceived it as meaning that there is mutual respect and love. Capturing and consuming a muse is not the path to open-heartedness.

We open-hearted people often live outside of the expected "box norms" that so many try to use to categorize the world. I would say that we are creatives in that we are continuously exploring our own paths, willing to make space for others to walk beside us, as we notice the beauty of our inner and outer surroundings. In turn, we are also sensitive to those who create noise, acting as obstacles instead of partners in the flow of openness. Our senses are open and alive.

As an open-hearted person I have had to learn to differentiate between people who are trying to consume me and those who are reaching out with their hearts, attempting to connect at a deeper, more loving level. Sometimes I have mistaken one for the other and have let in hurtful people and pushed away loving ones.

It is my intention to listen to my intuition and practice bravery as I continue on my path of open-heartedness. This means embracing those who are loving, being a muse for those who are opening their hearts and compassionately walking away from those who blindly consume.