hands open, heart open

I have been thinking a great deal about the notion of going through life with an open hand. I am, time and again, intrigued by the ways, positive and negative, I respond to certain turns of phrase. The first time I heard someone describing another person as always having a open hand I interpreted them as someone who positions themself on the receiving end – the proud and fiercely independent corners of my being vehemently rejected this. However, being openhanded actually signifies generosity, the idea that the hand is always open so that what is in it may be enjoyed by more than just the person holding it.

Connecting these dots in my mind got me to thinking about this expression and what it would mean to me to go through life with an open hand. As I have gotten older I have realised that, despite what society and mass media tell us, a life that is run as a one-man or -woman show with closely controlled guest appearances, is not a joyful or fruitful thing. It may be comfortable, fun and easier to control but it is also devoid of the beauty that comes from sharing our lives and who we are with others.

Richard Bach said that every problem has a gift for you in its hands.  I really appreciate the implicit concept that not only the people, but also the experiences, that come our way carry gifts that we may or may not have the eyes to see and appreciate. Loretta Young said our hands, our eyes, our voices, our thoughts are our servants but I for one have so often raced through my life with fists clenched, eyes closed at a loss for words.

Each day brings with it, in a plethora of ways, the challenge of taking responsibility for my life; and sometimes as I face this reality Erica Jong’s sobering words ring loud, “Take your life in your own hands, and what happens? A terrible thing: no one to blame.” As a perfectionist I shudder at the idea, but the truth is that I will probably make a million more mistakes on the road that I have ahead of me.  However, I’ll take those odds and keep endeavouring to live my life with my hands and heart open.

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