Rinse and repeat

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I made a decision just a few years ago from a place of profound darkness. 

My heart was pretty beat up. I was in that place where we all find ourselves occasionally, full of the grief of mourning the failure of my own expectations. Years of being “just fine, thanks” and “deciding” to be happy caught up with me. I felt like hope had sold me out, and and I was bone tired. 

I felt myself closing off as I “learned my lesson,” and I was ready to protect myself from ever feeling that pain again. I wasn’t ever going to expect anything good from anyone. That was the answer. I was sure of it. And wow, did I think it made me strong.

The more hits our hearts take, the more tempting it is to close them off. To break up with hope one last time. To decide vulnerability is for suckers, and you’re tired of being one of them. 

Vulnerability is a portal, though. It takes you to all the things that make life worth living. In fact, it’s the only way to get to the deepest levels of those experiences. A life without the risk of pain is also a life without the light, and joy, and LOVE that only come through a willingness to be vulnerable. 

Frustrating, yes. But, true.

So I made a deal with myself. My heart would stay open. Completely, totally, free and open. No matter what. I decided it was resilient enough to withstand whatever came its way. I had made it that far, right? And I was limping, but that also meant I was still standing. 

And my heart was still beating.

Many times since then, my resolve has been tested. The hits have come, and come again, some knocking me straight back down to my knees. I’ve even declared the deal off once or twice, in moments when I thought I might suffocate from sadness. Just live in the world for a day right now with your eyes fully open, and I dare your heart not to break.

As the old song goes, that’s how the light gets in, though. Let it break. The coming back together again is what it does best. It’s made for that work. Whole again and again, if always in a new way. 

Wake up, and start again. You don’t have to decide to feel ok. Just decide not to give up, or close off. There is so much good work to be done by those who are willing to limp back to standing, and so much love to be shared by those whose well worn-in hearts are open to holding it.

Image credit: Nayyirah Waheed

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