Have you ever played with dominoes? Something I have been mesmerized by since childhood is creating a path around the living room and beyond, setting up hundreds of dominoes in a winding line. The pieces wrap around the room, circling furniture and man made obstacles, all lining up one after the other. Forming the path is a process, setting intention and planning out the route ahead only to tip over one piece and see the path change. One domino sets the rest in motion, the power of that one small piece fascinates me still. When one piece is touched, the whole line is shaped and shifted. The slightest touch of one domino changes the game for all the others.
We all lead by example. We all set the path in motion, like the lead domino we influence hundreds of others in any given day. There is no way to know how one small choice, action, word, thought, intention, smile, smirk, wave or tear will influence the world as we and others know it. Every choice matters, however small it seems. Each of us has a responsibility, to live with awareness and choose the example we will lead with. Having such awareness can seem daunting sometimes, as can the reality of personal responsibility. The wonderful part of this domino effect thing is that it comes as much from doing what gives us joy as it does doing the conscious and responsible thing. There is so much room for joy. Haven't you been around someone who is enjoying the moment so much it rubs off on you, too? We touch one another every day. How we do this is ours to choose.
Our domino effect is never ending. The choices we make, how we treat ourselves and others, is shaping our path. Acknowledging that I have a responsibility to the world around me is humbling and empowering. I am part of a greater whole, what I do matters and I am just one among many. I choose my attitude, I lead by example, I how I effect others is mine alone and I can always choose again. I have no idea how much my choices influence others. What I do know is that I’d rather err on the side of kindness. If my smile will help someone else out, why not smile? After all, it takes less effort to smile than it does to frown.
What you do matters. If you knew your choices in this next thirty minutes would alter the lives of others for many moments to come, what would you do? Thoughts and intentions create our experiences, so choose wisely. Take a minute and ponder, explore, & decide how you’ll tip the stack o’ dominoes in front of you.
Go ahead, it's your turn.
I can barely wait to see what you set in motion,
"Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end." -- Scott Adams
Something I have been thinking about a lot lately is what it means to have an open heart. This is no real surprise in February, the month full of reminders about love, and that I will be leading a workshop on just this topic next week. Heart shaped everything, flowers, red and pink galore filling the aisles and inboxes. There have been many years where I am unenthusiastic about Valentine's Day, chocking it up as a Hallmark created holiday that brings more pressure than relief to people in regards to their love life. This year is different. I am noticing the abundance of love all around me. This has come with a pretty simple shift: I have broadened my love definition. The advertising and decor has not changed. My perspective has. Expanding the idea of love from the romantic kind (that this month commonly brings into sharp focus) into the universal kind has opened my heart in new ways. With this shift in focus, I am really enjoying this month with all its splendor and taffeta. Stepping back from the idea that romantic love and partnership is the end all be all for happiness (yes, I am popping that fantasy bubble yet again), that anyone not in a relationship is excluded from having fun this month (false!), is a pastime. Acting on these beliefs will surely close the heart.
It is natural to close the heart, especially when there has been hurt. I know this as much as anyone. Who hasn't felt disappointment, loneliness, heartache, sadness, despair and frustration about love? There is a time for stepping away from the buzz of the world, going within, licking our wounds, shedding tears and nurturing the inner self. Closing the heart can be an act of protection and safety. It is when the heart stays closed, caring for the self turns into hiding from the world, and the mind shuts to new possibility that life lacks vitality and meaning. From here, a closed heart becomes a death sentence of sorts. We must reopen to life, dare to experience love again, and step out from the familiar realm of isolation. When it is closed, there is no space for healing to enter. When the heart is open, healing happens and joy can flow easily.
Making peace with where you are, single (or "an individual" as my dear friend Lura once proclaimed) or in a romantic relationship or satisfying partnership with another person, is a step in the direction of enjoying this day dedicated to love. Acknowledging the pressure this season can bring about how things "should be" and choosing to see from another angle can lead to a place of softening, a liberation, an open heart. I know it has for me. This relaxing into what is has put me in the perfect position to see the many ways love is present in my life. This shift in perspective has become a wonderful game of noticing the love and joy strewn throughout the world right now. The smiles on my nieces' faces, laughter with co-workers, the curiosity of my dog, growing gardens, bundled up walks on the beach, gorgeous sunsets, jumping in puddles during the rain, the door held open by a stranger, holding my Grammi's hand, the list goes on.
In asking the question, “What does it mean to have an open heart?" these are just some of the answers that come to mind. When I look at love from the lens of daily miracles, things that bring me a sense of comfort and connection are countless. There is more than enough, more proof of love and reasons to be than I can count. There is so much love, to give and to receive. With an open heart, I am taking notice of the beauty and joyous potential in current situations and circumstances, counting blessings and celebrating the experiences within life now. From this perspective, I have stepped into a kind of romance I didn't know possible. I am letting life love me and I am loving it. I am choosing to have an open heart. What about you?
Is your heart open to enjoy how love is present in your world today? What will it take to open your heart and let luscious love in a little bit more?
If you want to open your heart more today and need a boost, here are some of my go to's you might try:
- ask different questions
- look at familiar things with new eyes
- act as if you are what you want to be
- wear something fancy "just because"
- be with animals
- be with children
- just laugh
- order something new on the menu
- move that body: yoga, dance, etc.
Living with an open heart is a courageous act. There are risks of saying Adios to shutting life out. The satisfaction, bliss and joyful play that come when we open up make the potential risks worth taking. Don't you agree?
Love is all around,
As an advocate of Reinvention + Recovery, I work with clients to achieve balance, alignment and purpose in all areas