My grandfather used to say, “When one door closes, another opens.”
He was a very wise man, and a horrible cabinet maker…
Okay, so MY grandfather never said that, but I have heard this simple phrase many times in the rooms of various recovery-based fellowships.
What does it mean when one door closes, another opens?
Is that always true?
Certainly more than one door can be open at a time… Right?
If you live in a drafty house, maybe closing doors open others or vice versa?
Or maybe you just have ghosts messing with you?
Okay, I can see this post is getting off track (if it ever was on track).
As is my yoozh… we shall embark on a rant about ye ancient principle of letting shit go.
That, my dedicated readers, is what I mean about this door opening/closing business!
What is This Door You Speak Of?
Before I rehash the benefits of letting things go, let’s first talk about what the hell this door business is all about…
From what I can tell, when someone glibly proffers the platitude about one door closing and another opening (usually when you’re feeling stuck or in crisis), they simply mean to let go of what you’re holding onto and remember, something better is coming.
Sometimes, it feels like said sage advice is a fancy way of saying, “Get over it.”
It kind of is and isn’t.
So, what, exactly are we trying to “get over?”
In my experience, I have (at times) become attached to the way things are in my life, or at least how I perceive them to be.
For instance, at one time, I identified as an arborist (tree nerd/climber/trimmer). I owned a business for several years and around town (in Oregon), I was known affectionately as “the tree guy.”
I was so invested in that business that I WAS the business. Being the tree guy was my identity.
And when that business subsequently failed, I went through a small (huge) identity crisis.
I was no longer the tree guy.
The business was gone.
The door was closed….
My job was to let it be closed.
The more I held on to my identity as the tree guy and resisted the reality of the business’s failure, the worse I felt.
Granted, it did not feel good letting go of that business.
It felt amazing letting go of that business and identity.
Allowing the door to close opened me up to a deeper appreciation for who I am and what’s really important in my life.
I had to feel the pain of that door closing to begin healing and growing into who I really am.
So, at first, when the door is closing, it can feel very wrong and painful, and you may resist it with everything you have.
I promise you, if you allow the door you are feverishly clinging to to close, and let that chapter in your life be done, you will find the freedom to move on…
Remember the Trapeze?
I realize I just used the analogy of the trapeze artist last week (see post https://greenleaf4life.blog/2022/05/27/let-old-things-die/)…
But… It’s a good one, right?
In case you did not read (or listen to) the Parable of the Trapeze referenced in my May 27th post, the whole point was you need to let go of the trapeze bar you’re used to in order to fly to the next one.
Surrender your attachment to what is in order to feel freedom.
Yes, it can be scary as hell and painful.
And at the same time, rewarding and worth it.
As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, part of my journey today includes swimming through the dating pool… [insert half-hearted “yay”]
It just occurred to me that part of my problem could be my attitude about it.
I’d really like to just meet my match and partner and be done with it.
At the same time, I surrender to the process and trust the Universe is guiding me to attract the right person.
In the process of this, I did meet someone, and I thought we hit it off pretty well.
Granted, things did not align as much as I’d hoped, and there were some minor red flags, but all-in-all, I thought things were going well.
I noticed a change in her level of contact with me. It appeared that perhaps her level of enthusiasm or interest had waned.
I understand she has her own life, and I am certainly not the center of it.
However, the difference in engagement was stark.
At first, I felt disappointed.
I realized that maybe I was more interested in her than she was in me.
Regardless, once I felt the initial sting of disappointment, I realized I was holding on to a door that seemed to want to shut.
My job at this point was to allow the door to shut.
I refuse to force doors to stay open in my life.
I trust the flow of life and generally guide my actions to avoid resisting reality.
I find I’m a lot happier when I “cease fighting everyone and everything” (AA, pg. 84).
If someone is not as interested in me as I am in them, there is nothing wrong with that.
I am not going to take extra measures to convince them otherwise.
This is a dance of equals, and I want a partner who will meet me half way.
So, I’m allowing that door to close.
It may reopen, but if I refuse to let it close, I may miss the opportunity to find a better door when it opens because I’m so focused on the closed one.
Whether the phrase “Open Sesame” refers to opening a magic door (“Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves”) or the opening of a sesame seed, (or both), there is treasure to be found inside.
When you shift your focus away from the closed door and look to the open door, new opportunities for happiness and growth await you.
The questions is, will you allow yourself to enter the newly-opened door?
What the fuck do you have to lose?
The other door’s already closed.
The open door holds promise of greater awareness and compassion.
Your dreams may be behind that new door.
There are no mistakes in life.
No effort is wasted energy.
All things contribute to your growth.
Practice having courage (heart) and face your fears.
Embrace the new adventure.
Look at it as an experiment.
Maybe what you’re looking for is not behind that door.
But you will never know if you don’t go inside.
When I made the decision to close my tree service because it was no longer viable, I opened myself up to pursue a career I am truly passionate about.
Don’t get me wrong.
I LOVE trees and it was good money.
And, I love being a social worker and counseling people.
Had the business not closed, I don’t know if I would’ve pursued my passion for helping folks recover from trauma.
Now that it’s all played out, I can see I was born to do the work I am doing.
I found my Sacred Calling by losing my old identity.
All I had to do was walk inside that door.
I decided that since the woman I had briefly been dating seemed to be doing other things, I am not going to wait around.
I reiterated my intention to the Universe that I will attract the right person.
She and I will align in similar spiritual beliefs, practices, and interests.
I don’t have to make it happen… it will just come.
However, my job was to shift my focus and open myself up to that reality.
So, I did.
I met another person.
Granted, we just met, however, we seem very spiritually aligned and have a lot in common in our recovery journey.
I am very happy I met her, and we will see where this goes.
The important part is, had I not allowed the other door to close and not entered the new door, I may not have found this new person I may be more aligned with.
Time will tell.
It’s an experiment.
And I am choosing to walk through that door.
And I am glad that I am.
Sometimes, when one door closes, no other doors open…
And when all the doors appear closed, you’re in the hallway…
Sometimes, in life we feel like a chapter has just closed, we quit the job, break up with someone, graduate from school, and NOTHING appears on the horizon…
What are we supposed to do?
When you are in the hallway, it’s important to remember, don’t panic!
You don’t have to figure out the next door immediately!
A new one will open and you will know what your next step is.
You may feel stuck right now.
Trust that being in the hallway is part of the process.
More will be revealed.
It ALWAYS is!
My new friend asked me an incredible question last night that I think many people in recovery grapple with…
And I’ll share it because it’s relevant to the hallway topic.
She asked, “How do you know when you are following your Higher Power’s will? And what do you do when you don’t know what its will is? What do you do in that in-between time?”
That “in-between time” is the hallway.
I told her that I think life has a flow to it, and when I am resisting how I feel or where life is taking me, I am not following my Higher Power’s will.
When I surrender to what is, I am in the flow of my HP’s will.
Conversely, when I don’t know what my HP’s will is for me, I pause.
In that pause, I ask the Universe for guidance and trust in the affirmation that everything I need will be provided at the right time.
Then, I go about my business of doing the next indicated thing.
Maybe that’s pray, meditate, journal, exercise, call a friend, write a blog entry, do my job, take a shower, take a nap…
You get the picture.
Let go of finding the next door and forcing it.
Do what’s right in front of you and trust the process…
Trust the Universe…
It is a generous place with impeccable timing.
You’re right where you’re supposed to be.
And even though it feels like a hallway
You’re being led to your next door.
One of my favorite concepts is from the poem, “The Dark Night of the Soul.”
At times in our lives we feel we are just walking through darkness without direction.
If you’ve experienced any significant loss or depression, you know what I mean…
The concept that has sustained me from that poem is that although it appears no light is guiding you through the dark night of the soul, there is a light within you that knows where it’s going.
The light is not at the end of the tunnel.
The light you crave is within you, leading you forward through the night.
The light inside of you will traverse the hallway to find the next door.
Trust the light inside of you.
You have everything you need inside of you.
Your intuition will guide you.
Pray for the next indicated step.
And take the step.
You will find your way.
In fact, you’re already there…
When you think of life like breathing, it makes it easier.
Each new experience we breathe in…
And when we are done with it, we breathe out…
You cannot breathe in the new breath if you do not let go of the old one.
Each breath nourishes and sustains you… for the moment you breathe it.
Learn to embrace each breath (experience) and then let it go.
There’s a flow to allowing doors to open and close in your life.
Trust the hallway.
The hallway is not a punishment or a reflection on how good or smart of a person you are…
It’s just the passage between embracing and letting go…
And it’s where you learn to trust in the flow of life.
Fear not the closed doors and hallways in your life.
You are right where you’re supposed to be.
And every door that opens to you will awaken awareness and compassion if you allow it to.
Step away from the closed door…
Feel the feelings of its loss…
Be grateful for the experience…
And courageously step into the next chapter of your life.
It’s where you’re meant to be.
It’s your Higher Power’s will.
If it wasn’t, it wouldn’t be happening.
Trust the process…
Thank you for reading today’s post. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Follow, like, comment, and reach out. I offer Life Coaching services. If you are sick and tired of feeling sick and tired, reach out and we’ll get you on track!