Open Doors

 

The Path is Found in the Walking

When asked how her life had been so wondrous, she replied, "Go through the open doors. If they don't readily open, move on and try another. Trust that those that open are yours."

Her name was Jeannie Rigaud, and she had a remarkable life story. As with all great tales, it had numerous twists and turns. And of course, it had major life challenges. After all, the heroine’s journey runs deep within the human psyche.

Yet it was not her life tale that caused me to ask the question noted above. Rather, it was the extraordinary equanimity she displayed when describing what many would call her misfortunes. It was quite obvious she had overcome any sense of failing, but more importantly there were no villains or culprits in Jeannie’s life story. She had reframed all the misadventures and saw them only as open or closed doors. Truth be told it was really rather amazing to hear her describe it all.

While I don't directly credit Jeannie with the important life discovery that came to me, it is very clear her influence and her perspective played a part.

At a particularly important transition on my path I decided I needed to do a life review. There had been some particular challenges I had faced that seemed to continue to dog my steps. Call it a psychological or spiritual hangover.

In the middle of the process of taking stock, I realized that whenever I internalized the lessons delivered by challenges, such difficulties quickly receded into the past. However when I did not assimilate the learning, variations of the challenge continued to recur. To use Jeannie’s analogy, I seemed to get stuck in the doorway unable to complete my passage and also unable to move on.

As I contemplated this pattern in my life, I was suddenly aware that what made for success was not the nature of the door, or even whether it was open or closed. It was what I did with the door in order to complete the passage one way or another. And the only way I could move through or beyond a door was to learn whatever was needed.

It was then that the entire notion of missteps fell away. There are none. There are steps taken, and steps not taken. The secret is in choosing one or the other, acting accordingly, then learning from the experience regardless of the actions.

Seeing True

The path is the result of the steps taken. It does not pre-exist. Instead, we act, or not, then learn, or not. The secret is in the learning.

Seeing True in Action

From this vantage point there are only two questions to be asked about our path and journey. At any moment in time, what is there to be learned? And am I willing to learn it?