Opening and Closing the Heart

How to meet experiences with an open heart instead of resistance, shame and guilt.

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On holiday I read Michael A Singer, The Untethered Soul.

He talked about the choice to open or close our hearts to different experiences and I thought .... "Yes... I do that."

Here's an example.

Many things didn't go to plan on our summer holiday.

I felt completely undone at times and what made it harder was that I couldn't escape the experience of it not working.

I was pretty much with my family 24/7 and as an experience came up, I had no choice but to stand in the centre of it and be responsible for my part in it.

Some of the choices I made were not the best for everyone here.

At a certain age kids really do just want a swimming pool and some sun on a holiday.

But the juice .... the real juice came from those moments where it totally wasn't what we've expected.

Where we'd built it up in our minds so much and were so excited that the reality just hit us square in the face like a cold, wet, smelly fish.

Those times when all we can do was moan.

In those moments I listened, I thought about it, I felt guilty and then I closed my heart.

I withdrew a little part of my heart instead of keeping it open.


Because I felt guilty and ashamed.

I had a story going on about how I should have done it all differently and how stupid I was.

A familiar dragon had surfaced and I listened to it because I was so caught up in the moment that voice seemed like it was my true voice.

But it wasn't.

It was the voice of fear and shame.

It goes like this....

1. Something happens.

2. I don't like the thing that happens.

3. I close my heart.

4. I justify, stop listening and withdraw and self blame.

So along comes life with its ups and downs and what's happening is I'm opening and closing my heart depending on what I feel.

If I feel positive, excited and enthusiastic then I keep my heart open but if I feel like I don't like the experience then I close down, separate and withdraw.

The Challenge?

Well for me it's to allow my energy to flow regardless of the situation and keep my heart open.

I can see in all areas how this is the only way to meet life... with boundaries and with open heartedness.

When I define what I like and don't like, I'm always reacting to those limits and my mind is triggered to open and close.

Likes and dislikes aren't boundaries, they just trigger reaction.

If I come across a situation that I know I don't like then my mind is quick to close.

I don't want to be with that situation so I shut down.

The alternative is to just be with the situation and let it run.

I can meet it with enthusiasm and as a sport of the day instead of what I've been doing which is to meet it with, "It shouldn't be that way."

The truth is it is what is. What's making it hard to be with is my reaction to it.

Just imagine...

What if we met life from this perspective? What then would be possible?

In my business when the downtimes of January hit .... instead of resisting and feeling bad... meeting the energy of it with excited open heartedness and relaxing.

At home when my teenager triggers my self esteem by saying something about how I look... I meet it with energy and open heartedness and relax and let go and listen to another perspective.

With my husband who doesn't always see the world the same way I do... don't ignore those differences but explore them with a wonderful bright torch that looks at all the perspectives and not just the one I believe to be the "right" one.

It's not about not dealing with situations.

I thought love was sometimes all fluff and goo and the land of "yes darling... whatever you say."

It's about relaxing into the situation that's happening and being with it.

If someone's unhappy then that's what they are.

If something's challenging for someone then it is.

I don't have to change it for them or fix it so that it feels ok for me.

My practice is to honour it, deal with it as best I can with openness, excitement and enthusiasm.

That's how my energy with flow through rather than being stopped.

That's my return to love and open heartedness.

Vanessa Anstee

Life Coach

I'm inspired by who you can be without apology and I want to help you let your real self shine. I've been a life coach for 10 years. I've always been a seeker trying to discover a way of being in life that feels soulful, authentic and aligned to what my heart wants not what my head thinks I should have, be or do. I spent 20+ year career in HR, OD, talent management and executive coaching. My kids were my biggest wake up. I saw the way I was working wasn't working anymore. I couldn't keep pushing myself harder. I had to accept I couldn't attain this perfected version of myself that I had strived most of my life to achieve. I had to find love not from accolades and other people's acceptance but from deep inside me. That's when I learnt to connect to my heart, heal my childhood wounds and fears of never being enough and set light to my passion in a completely new way. I want one thing for my clients. Be real. Be themselves, fall madly in love with that person and honour their soul's calling.