Human life is riddled with situations that challenge our relationship to living. In each moment, we choose how to interact with those situations. Our options are simple. We either open to new possibilities and thereby grow, or decide that nothing new exists and begin to whither. I suspect that—depending on the circumstances—we have each tried both strategies. Let us explore this choice of whether to open to life or to attempt to protect ourselves from it.

Our individual spiritual and experiential universe, like the physical universe, is either expanding or contracting; in time and space, the option to maintain stasis does not exist. Expanding requires us to cultivate a willingness to move beyond what we perceive to be safe and comfortable, for which we are rewarded with additional breathing room. Contracting offers us the appeal of feeling as though we have aspects of our life under control, until we discover that anything without enough space to move gets stuck. If one’s life is to grow and blossom, it will require room to do so.

Most people value personal growth. But, we are susceptible to exhaustion, fear, and limitation, any of which can lead us to succumb to shutting down. If we choose to attempt to protect ourselves from life, our options diminish accordingly; the universe will support our choice to close down by removing the perceived threat presented by growth opportunities. However, if we decide to engage with life, thereby daring to dream of something better, life opens in response to that decision with all that it has to offer.

In spirit, each of us has chosen to develop our humanity by allowing life experiences, and our responses to them, to inform and shape us. While we live for the opportunity to develop in this way, embracing our humanity can be both exhilarating and humbling. It involves recognizing our strengths as well as vulnerabilities, taking responsibility for our current position in life, becoming aware of what we know and do not know, and opening (or closing) to the learning that experience offers us.

Opening to life is like accepting an invitation to learn a beautiful and sophisticated dance. Just as the learning of any dance can call forth one’s awkwardness, choreographing one’s unique dance with life can highlight aspects of one’s self and life that appear out of step. Engaging with life at ever-deepening levels involves facing and cultivating areas that are not currently satisfying; it allows us to direct our movement through that which has become stagnant. When we can dance with heartbreak, we clear space to fall in love. Likewise, we must traverse rejection to embrace our unique self-expression. By opening to the dance of life, we learn to create anew; we risk heartbreak and rejection, and we gain love and recognition. To avoid the dance is to miss the wonder of living.

I wish each of us the courage to laugh at our missteps as we open to dancing in ever-expanding venues.

Written by Heidi Szycher, a staff member at the Boulder Psychic Institute. Check out her personal site at healings.biz.

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