When You Want To Stay Closed

I wanted very desperately to stay closed.

And it worked for a while.

Past hurts had me repeating a quiet prayer any time someone got close, “If I let you in, please don’t break anything.”

In the realm of ‘doing your best’, I think I nailed my best at shutting people out.

I held tighter to the darkness than the light because the light fooled me before. It made a fool of me and to simplify it, took away many things I cherished.

Trusting the dark, the feelings that question happiness made sense because I blamed happiness. People were able to run amok inside, who had no business doing so and instead of accepting that it happens and is just a part of life, I blamed elation. I took it out on bliss. I closed the door on wonder because all of those things ended up hurting me in the end. It seemed logical because those were the feelings I was reaching for when those people showed up, so I made an island of myself.

Incidentally, that is not at all the fault of happiness.

Trusting more in darkness than in joy, was like a soothing balm that comforted me and altogether stopped anyone from getting in. It stopped people from being able to hurt me. It prevented a number of events from taking place that would have left me undone. It meant my heart wouldn’t break even more than it had. I thought that it put me more in control of my destiny so that I could predict when the bad stuff would show up.

The problematic thing about that, is it also keeps out joy.

There’s something that makes you feel powerful about hiding yourself because it creates a sense of value that you want for yourself especially when you don’t believe you’re worth all that much. It sets you apart and makes you better than the moment because you’re able to control how it all turns out. You become special. Moreover, you get to create a mystery about yourself and shape how others see you instead of just living your truth and leaving it open to interpretation because you know who you are regardless of what others say about it.

It lets us off the hook from having to do scary shit and come face-to-face with scary feelings.

Reluctant joy sounds sexier than it actually is and because you don’t show anyone who you really are or withhold your ecstatic feelings, you get to deflect pain because you can say defensively, “Well they don’t know me so it’s an invalid point,” instead of saying, “I’m sure enough of myself to know that’s not true and wow they must really be hurting to say that.” When we shut our hearts, we have no capacity to understand where someone else might be coming from because all we have is our own pain.

One moves away from the hurt while the other moves towards it, offering light.

We also rob others of the gift of being present to our joy and yes, our joy is a gift to others, whether we believe it conceited to say so or not. Experience has taught me that some truths are true because they’re going to be there whether we resist them or not, so why fight it and waste energy?

Last year I tried starting my own photography business. I love photography because of how it feels to stand behind the camera and ask of the moment, “Where can I find all the love of the Universe here?” Earning profit from it would be great, but I loved it because it transcended language and touched on the divine in our humanity in a way that I still can’t put my finger on. Some may say I exaggerate the effects of my time spent trying to build a business with others, but harsh, unwarranted criticism and bullying behaviours I encountered, crushed creativity, replacing it with self-doubt and a feeling of being a fake because I was told I “wasn’t enough” for a few people I thought were important judges of my being enough. So I stopped altogether because I believed that I would never be enough. I revered the feedback I received because I made idols out of the people giving feedback rather than trusting the joy which inspired me to take photos in the first place.

I even contemplated selling my camera because the thought of even touching it or using it hurt too much. It meant I would have to come “face-to-face” with the hurtful things said to me and it still stung too deeply. There are some days where it still stings and I committed to avoiding a repeat performance, so I stayed closed because I wanted to guard the precious sources of my joy.

What does that have to do with our joy being a gift to others, and keeping our heart open?

I was talking to a friend about selling my camera and all my equipment; He made a point to remind me of why I started taking pictures in the first place and that the spark inside of me was bigger than the actions of others. He also reminded me of the times where people would tell me that my joy in taking pictures moved them to share photos, request them framed and to remark on a regular basis that my pictures gave people hope that the extraordinary existed somewhere in the ordinary; That my seeing beauty, gave them permission to find their own joy.

I never thought myself so powerful as to stir joy in another so profoundly. It felt scary to admit the truth and alongside it, envision the queue of people lined up ready to tell me how I’m actually not that powerful at all. How dare we declare that we’re so powerful without first having evidence of our greatness?

Channelling Marianne Williamson, I ask in response, how dare we believe we’re not here to make a powerful contribution? Who are we to declare that we’re supposed to stay closed and small? It’s a pretty deceptively powerful thing to be able to say that there is so little within us worth sharing that we should just sit down, shut up and stay quiet about the contents of our heart and what stirs it.

Remember that lacking a vocabulary to explain how magnificent you really are, doesn’t make that magnificence untrue. It just means that not everyone will understand it, or you.

What if that’s all that’s keeping you from joy and being open?

It’s a truth that’s true, whether we admit it or not so why fight it and risk spending a lifetime trying to convince the world that we’re not as beautiful and powerful as we really are?

I wanted very desperately to stay closed.

And it worked for a while.

But that’s not what we’re here for, is it?


On The Wings of Miracles,



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