Keeping an Open Heart

Peter - Los Angeles, California
Entered on April 5, 2005
Age Group: 30 - 50

I believe I make a daily choice to keep my heart open – open to my life, open to the moment, open to experiencing everything challenging. The very fact I can call my personal hells “challenging” is because the counter-intuitive belief of keeping an open heart also keeps me from the daily fear that nothing is going to work out, that no one really knows what the hell they’re doing. Oh sure, we go to the market and drive cars and pay phone bills and all that, but I believe the question gnaws: why are we here.

There’s a difference between doom and gloom and realism, and I no longer believe in the sugar coating or the forced smile. I believe if I listen to my blues all day long, I will probably live the blues all day long. But there are things that keep me going – things that keep me alive – that are based on the open heart.

And, yes, there are people who get me so damned irritated, that all I can do is pray for their enlightenment so they can know what pains in the asses they really are.

I believe everyone gets to pay the bill. It might not be the way I want it paid or even get to see others pay it, but we all get to pay it somehow.

I believe if people are given everything they want when they don’t deserve it, it will ultimately drive them crazy. So when a car speeds across my lane and cuts me off, I pray they get where they’re going an hour early. That’ll give them time to ponder.

My life has traveled from arrogance to self-loathing to joy. Maybe not the kind of joy I’d get from finding a hundred dollar bill on the sidewalk, but real joy. The kind that comes from helping someone find answers for themselves, or being that secret angel that overhears a sneeze and says “bless you” even if they don’t hear it, or scoops up a dog running in traffic.

I did not set out in life to be a good Samaritan or a saint. I set out to watch as much TV and to eat as much candy as humanly possible, but that was never the answer.

I believe I can fill myself with as much of you-name-it as there is, and there will just not be enough. So I believe I must say enough. I must rise above my own greed, my own fears, my own questioning to just believe that today is the day I have. I now finally believe I want the entire journey to be the lesson…not just the last moment.

I’ve outlived friends, family and pets. I’ve experienced loss that makes me believe that it doesn’t matter if there’s heaven or hell, but that I’m part of something I may never be able to grasp. And I believe I honor those I’ve lost by how I choose to live.