My mom handed me a package from her trip to Israel. Inside was a narrow bracelet with a silver hebrew character engraved on it. The character was the letter dalet of the Hebrew alphabet and a little card that came in the box said the letter comes from the word ‘door’.
The Sanskrit word for ‘door’, dvaram, came to my mind. I’d had a strong experience with a Sanskrit teacher who taught me that word after I’d shared a dream I’d had of a door. In my dream, I’d seen a closed door, blue and exotic looking. I had been in the office of a travel agent, looking at a map, trying to locate an island. The agent had called the place ‘Pakagawan’. During my waking hours, all my searches were fruitless. The closest thing that came up was a word in an Philippines language.
“Do you leave them open on purpose?” Mika had asked me. “I’m constantly closing doors behind you.” We were visiting the Baja coast. Just that afternoon, jumping out of the car to ask a store owner for directions, I’d left my driver side door ajar, and Mikayla had called after me: “Don’t you want to close your door first?!” At the ATM in a small town a short while later, she said before I left the car, “can you close the door this time, please?”
We each have a life filled with doors, some open, some closed, and some locked. They are the doors of our home or car, the doors of our smiles, trust, and secrets. There are doors to possibilities - moving to a new city, leaving a relationship, learning a new profession.
Some doors we close out of mistrust and fear. We lock our homes when we live in a city, our cars when we travel, our valuables when we’re staying in a hotel. We also lock emotional doors too - the door that leads to a recent experience with cancer, with an abortion, with a failure at work. Letting someone in beyond the threshold, into that intimate space, is yielding control. It’s a vulnerable exposure of a healing wound to potential pain. It is also an act of empowerment - a statement of ‘I am strong enough for this.’
‘In our vulnerability is our strength’ - Alex Crow
Standing in our truth can expose us to judgement and insensitivity. It can feel like an elephant trampling on the fragile garden of our self-acceptance, self-forgiveness, self-love. In this way it is scary to expose ourselves, but it also challenges us to become resilient. The garden as we know it may be destroyed, but in its place will thrive life that can stand up to an elephant, and the end result will be an openness with others, a fearlessness to share, a daily living with personal truth.
Conversely, to continue to hide is not without risk. In the physical realm a sharp lesson was taught to my brother on our recent surf trip. Immediately upon entering a hostel, he placed his wallet and passport in the room’s electronic safe, and shut it. He had just closed the door when he realized the battery was dead and we soon found out that the owner did not have the master key. Stress ensued, plans to visit an embassy, rebooking flights - the entire joyful vacation was immediately covered with thick clouds of despair.
His friend and I both advised him not to stress, and within hours we had the safe destroyed and his passport in hand. This story is not to say that it is wrong to lock valuables away. Yet, the compulsion to close, to hide, to separate, is not without its own cost. Maintaining closed doors, keeping them locked, ensuring no one enters, is energetically consuming. Is it really necessary to keep that story a secret? You may be paying for it more than you realize.
Leaving every door open can be destructive, too. The doors of our relationships with others can be connections of joy, co-creation, encouragement, empathy, and healing. They can also be doors of hate, frustration, attack and defense, obligation and resentment. There are doors through which you give but do not receive. There are a doors that may be difficult to keep open. It might seem unthinkable to close a door to a loved one or family member, to say goodbye to a longtime lover or partner, to leave a job or move away from home. But sometimes it must happen in order to find harmony and balance, to preserve energy and potential for a more balanced connection in the future.
And be aware, too, of the doors open to you: the intimate feelings of your close family and friends or even of new acquaintances. Reflect, how is it you enter the sacred space of another’s garden? Is it with seeds of inspiration, waters of encouragement, on a footpath of reverence? Perhaps in a relationship, both are walking disrespectfully through each other’s paths. It might be best for one to close the door, even if the other wishes to keep connected.
Doors are the thresholds between spaces, the silent, immobile watchers of transference. Whether material possessions or emotions, doors bear silent witness to the flows between us all. Are you someone who leaves doors open? What doors are closed in your life and which are locked? Some doors come with keyholes, while others may only be opened from within. Some doors have windows, ways to see what might come inside if opened.
Notice the energy required to close a door or keep a door open. Is the connection inspiring, enlivening, encouraging? Is there resistance encountered from yourself or the other when trying to hold a door open? Whether it’s as subtle as eye contact or as gross as family intimacy, evaluate the energetic requirements to maintain your connections with intention. Cultivate connections of healing, acceptance, inspiration, and growth. Prune connections of resistance, obligation, repeated cycles of pain, and stagnation.
As your energy consolidates, your inner garden will flourish. Finding and maintaining healthy connection will become straightforward and effortless. In reflection of your inner world, your outer world of health, home, and lifestyle will evolve as you pass through another doorway into the next chapter of life.
David met Kula's Coby and Ananda on a surf trip to Troncones. They held his first cacao ceremony, but not his last. He returned to his job in San Francisco, but later after quitting, he meet back up with them in Peru for more ceremony. He helps the Kula market their life-changing trainings and retreats - it's a perfect way to promote openness in the world and follow his internal compass towards the nomadic life.
On this journey, he has been learning about community living, natural building, permaculture, and present moment living. In personal relationships, he adopts Don Miguel Ruiz's The Four Agreements. In making any risky decision, He tries to remember: “If you assume that there is no hope, you guarantee that there will be no hope. If you assume that there is an instinct for freedom, that there are opportunities to change things, then there is a possibility that you can contribute to making a better world.” - Noam Chomsky