Because we don't live with any of these people; because they rarely get in our way; we stay open in their presence.
From time to time, however, we feel the need to shut down our natural, open way of being. Occasionally, something that another person is doing or saying has the potential to sting if allowed to enter our person.... in reaction we recoil in self protection.
We shut down to survive
It may seem dramatic to make it a matter of survival but I do believe that there must be a pretty good reason to make the shift of shutting down our openness.
When we are young and have very little power it's easy to see lots of situations as potentially dangerous so we learn to shut down early and do it often...... hence, our other seemingly natural way of being...
So, how do we sort all this out?
It follows the same pattern of expansion and contraction.
Once, I made a vow to myself to never ever cry over my partner again. I wrote the vow to myself to document the decision.... some time later I wrote this:
now, i feel stuck...so stuck and bottled up.
yes, i am not crying over xxxxxx as i keep the vow,
but i feel stuck about everything.....
this is a high price. the price for keeping my tears in is becoming too high
oh xxxx it.
i will cry over xxxxxx.
i'll cry over xxxxxx for who i am and not for who he is
as i cry my tears for me, not for him
I learned that the energy of shut down is highly destructive to me. I learned that as I tried to remain closed to my partner I was closing myself off from my own expression. In trying to withhold my acceptance and unconditional love toward him, I was unable to feel it for myself and I was literally starving myself of life force. I was affecting myself far more than I could ever affect him!
I recognize that there are moments when I lack the strength to remain open sometimes. But it would be a fatal error for me to think that this shut down should be my new way of being. To try to live long term in shut down would be like trying to live without water. Human connection and the exchange of lovingkindness is the stuff of life..... without it we will surely feel dead.
At times we may be worn down from the continual cycle of relationship...it is long, very long and we all have our growing up to do.
Being willing to repeatedly re-open to life just as the sun continues to rise each day can sometimes feel like it may kill me..... but then I remind myself about the time I tried to close down and wait for the end. It really wasn't better. It was way worse.
There is so much sweetness in life that is here for the taking and I have such a love for life really.
So here's to staying in the game....
to play is to win....