We live life by clocks and calendars. Schedules and itineraries. Priorities. Commitments. Responsibilities. It’s all there, planned out, right at your fingertips, probably just a few clicks away from the screen where you are reading these words. Our lives. Organized.
Somehow within that societal structure there are those of us who live as artists of sorts with wide-open hearts. Those of us who prioritize creating moods and cultivating experiences in this weird world that somehow break through that mundane organization and inspire people to feel something. We live to temporarily suspend the clocks and calendars and invite in the swirly feeling of human connection, to crack open those hearts. It can be exhilarating and it can be painful. Sometimes there’s tangible evidence of it left in a painting, a poem, or a film, but sometimes there’s not. Sometimes it’s just two empty chairs and a few dishes on a bar, or a big empty room with a dirty floor. Human connection appears and disappears as we allow it to, just like a ghost.
I sat in church this past weekend & listened to a sermon about the importance of living with an open heart. This is a philosophy I subscribe to quite literally wholeheartedly; but too often lately I find myself wishing I could close off my heart a bit. It’s a constant choice for us all. Being open or being closed. Living with an open heart or choosing to be consumed by fear. Being open-hearted is a lovely, brave, and extremely tiresome way to live. I am having a hard time in my life right now discerning between self-preservation and trust. These past few weeks my heart has been a bit of a 24 hour buffet; people have been waltzing through whenever they feel so inclined and just helping themselves to pieces of it. When that happens, at the end of the day, there’s nothing left of you, and there’s nothing left for you.
I was in the airport last week, and I turned to take off my shoes at the TSA checkpoint. I noticed a woman maybe three people behind me, tears streaming, puffy face, just beside herself. Right there within the ultimate place of clocks and itineraries, she was consumed, and she was not ashamed. Because it happens all the time within the confines of our calendars. We feel things at the least convenient times. I caught my breath and I turned away. I loved her brave unabashed emotion. I almost hugged her. I probably should have. Airports are funny places, I thought to myself. Emotions run high.
Thirty-six short hours later I found myself again at an airport, ready to return home, and this time it was me that was consumed at the TSA. I cried that morning for four straight hours, every one of them in public. Humbling. A few things had bubbled up for me in my time away, surprising things, personal things. A lot of questions and feelings surfaced about the way I have chosen to live my life and the way I manage those valuable human connections I create in my life. Questions and feelings about mistakes I'd made and about who I am as a woman, as a mother, as a friend, as a leader. It was a hard cycle of self-criticism and it was very nearly unbearable.
I am chasing that ghostly human connection. I am sometimes distracted and sometimes weirdly jealous. I am an artist. I am so lonely. I have a deep longing in my open heart for refuge. I wish I could be less concerned, but as a woman, as a mother, as a friend, as a leader, I am struggling. The weight of my responsibility may be too much to ever allow me that refuge. My heart cracked wide open in that airport security line. I will not be ashamed.
Self-criticism. Emotional missteps. Hurt. Struggle. Forgiveness. Love. They have all showed up in my life and they will continue to. A wide-open heart is one that’s been broken, all within the confines of our schedules and responsibilities. Stay open, my friends. I love you.