<this post is a featured guest blog from my beloved friend, Deva, who is traveling from Georgia to Lebanon>
Open. It’s a very physically descriptive word that has a whole lot of metaphysically descriptive meaning. The physicality of, say, a simple open door is what we’re greeted with on this plane. But when we dive deeper into all that open door can stand for and allow for, well, there’s an infinite realm of possibilities to explore.
And I do want to elaborate on that open door in this moment. As human creatures we can more easily discuss things that are tethered to this tactile world. Openness as a state of being may be less relatable in moving through. Secondly, I want to discuss that door as our very own door, again, not to make it otherworldly and distant. It is our door right here in this moment. Thirdly, we can’t speak of closed doors without reflecting on states of distrust and when we speak of open doors we are also speaking into trust.
In first considering the open door in relation to ourselves, consider the world and the inflow of the world into our open door, into our lives. There is verdant growth and tragic wars and endless waves crashing, and these things carry on outside our doors, so to open our door can lead to welcomed beauty just as easily as it can to unwanted misery. Do we trust to open our door to all of this? Sometimes it’s not even about trust, the door just slams open and in comes a surprising windfall or an unwanted atrocity, or both packaged as one.
How do we get to the place of trust where we’re ready to let the world in through our open door? Well, that’s enough for another essay. But, yes, trust in self, other and source, as dear Amy always says, is a great place to start.
As I write, I am in Lebanon and here, and all across the Arab-speaking world, you greet people coming into your home with ‘marhaban bikoum.’ ‘Marhaban’ is the ‘welcome’ part of the greeting and ‘bikoum’ is essentially ‘you’ in plural form. This plural you is used no matter whether you are welcoming one person or many.
When I first studied classical Arabic in Fez, Morocco, my teacher told us that the plural you is always used. This is because culturally they recognize that everyone on this planet is walking around with two angels. Your good graceful angel on one shoulder and your dark little sinning angel on the other shoulder. No matter which one happens to be speaking into the ear of your guest, you welcome ALL into your home. When you can say ‘marhaban bikoum’ to any guest, you’ve built the just right amount of trust and courage to go through your open door and out into the world.
But if the world is too much, stay a while longer inside. Be tender. Be patient. Brew or stew. Do what needs to be done or undone until the world is not enough. Then the hunger and confidence and trust are all overflowing to the point you’re ready to burst. Then go be out in the world.
I like how if you let your eyes go soft and blur across the word ‘OPENNESS’ it almost reads as ‘ONENESS.’
That’s the second part of what our open door allows for; it doesn’t just let the world in, it also releases us into the world. We can show ourselves – any version – and grow tall as the eucalyptus in the sunshine. Or slither under a dark casino table. Going out through that open door often requires a full belly, a loudly thumping heart and fists full of courage. But it can also be as simple as sleepwalking, youthfully tumbling out with your lover’s palm in yours. Or a daring leap over that threshold. You certainly don’t want to be dragged out that open door. It can happen but if we’re not ready, it’s too raw and intrusive. We’ll go right back in, likely slamming the door closed behind us until trust can grow back again, if ever.
As with all things, the open door offers us a metaphor. It is both two converging and two opposing forces we are constantly dancing with. You can choose to see all negativity with going out into the world, and also see all negativity with eternally staying inside your dear door. Every moment we find ourselves with one foot in or one foot out, and then pivoting endlessly. And, in the end, it’s likely that there’s door after door, after door, eternally, not just the one. Realms and multiverses of them, enough for a Harry Potter-Inception hybrid brain explosion. Phew!
But navigating the eternal state of openness, whether easy or hard, with whatever angel on your shoulder is loudest, is best done, in my opinion, with trust in one hand and courage in the other.
~ M. Deva Jebb-Albaba
Wednesday, June 22nd, 2021
Here are some more ways to connect with this beautiful soul, Deva:
Here’s her LinkedIn profile linkedin.com/in/m-deva-jebb-albaba
Join us each Wednesday on Instagram Live for our weekly Pause. Breathe. Reset. https://www.instagram.com/amyelizabeth.gordon/
PBR is a 10 minute breath practice. Here’s one from the past. https://vimeo.com/manage/videos/461123829
To see my most recent recorded discussion with Deva, check this out: https://vimeo.com/536994662