"Rather than knowing more, I think I've got more open-minded."
- David Bailey
I have been quiet on here this month, but that doesn't mean that I haven't been exploring the wide spaces of openness and open-mindedness, and understanding what this means and getting to know intimately the personal stops and gaps in my own path of being open and accepting.
This month has been busy. Busy, but inspiring - on a global level and on an inner landscape level, specifically when it comes to being open-minded. What I have discovered is that being open-minded is being conscious of everything, it is being aware at the wider scope of difference and also the minutia of the self, and multitude of selves that we cover and peel back and cover again.
Who are you?
Who am I?
These are the two "real" questions that have popped up this month.
These questions stem from the openness I have actively cultivated. And it has been tough, and so where do I start, how do I catch you up on what has touched me, blown my mind, and ultimately created a desire to open even further to that which is life and life-giving.
I have been on two trips this month - Canada and Ireland.
Was a long felt for visit to a friend who was there for me at one of the toughest times of my life. T is so important to me, a kind of sister-figure that is here to challenge me, that is a reflection of the parts of me that I want to develop and grow. Spending time with T was like communing with the open-minded angels on a deep, fun, joyful, intense level.
Canada was also attending the IPPA (International Positive Psychology Association) Annual Congress. The biggest illustration of open-mindedness, on an intellectual and global scale, made itself apparent here.... THE POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY COMMUNITY IS QUESTIONING ITSELF!
What became apparent and openly discussed was the acknowledgement that not all positive psychology interventions that appear to work work for all people. What became apparent was that science is not perfect and should not be treated as perfect, and yet it should be respected, because of its ability to question itself and evolve, question itself and evolve, question itself and evolve.
(perhaps us humans should take note - question ourselves and evolve)
(the ultimate in being open)
Was the return to a deep spiritual relationship with music. U2 have been a band for me that evokes such strong emotions and feelings, ever since I was a child. These strong emotions burst into feelings of the sublime and joyful, wild abandon, to the physical manifestations of goose-bumps and tears.
(I know not all love U2, and even find them pretentious.... so I've been told *wink wink* Each to their own I say, if you don't like them that is fine with me, there are musicians much loved in the world that I am not a particular fan of, and guess what, that is fine as well! Remember open-mindedness includes being accepting of others likes and dislikes)
To see U2 perform the Joshua Tree album in all it's glory, to play their classics, their iconic songs of the 80's and 90's, it bought me back to being fearless. Why fearless? Here's a story:
Years ago I went on exchange from my university in Australia to Leeds Uni in the UK. I had a hell of a trip; I was supposed to arrive in Leeds before lunchtime on that particular day, my flight into Heathrow was on time, but there were gale force winds, and my quick nip of a flight from Heathrow to Leeds/Bradford airport was cancelled. I remember feeling sick, that familiar feeling of tingling liquid ice seeping through my veins tickled my consciousness. British airways told me they had organised a bus to take the passengers to Leeds. What should have been a half an hour flight ended up being a 10 hour bus trip filled with nightmares. We trundled into Leeds/Bradford Airport at 11pm, I had no idea where the security office for the university was (if you arrived to the uni late that is where you could find your key and instructions on how to get to your accommodation), I had to trust the taxi driver knew where to go. He did.
I got to the security office, on the verge of tears, exhausted, nervous, scared, not knowing what to expect. The security guy must have looked at this messy, smelly, sad looking body of mine and said "I have your key, if you can wait a few minutes for my colleague he can give you a lift to your house." By the time the other security guy got me into my house the other students were already in bed. I stumbled, almost blind with a strange feeling of grief and sadness, into my allocated bedroom, dropped my bags, and foolishly used my mobile to call Australia. The moment I heard mum's voice I burst into tears, as quietly as possible, I didn't want to disturb anyone who might be sleeping - absurd considering there were walls and hallways separating us. I sobbed into the phone I clutched tightly in my left hand "Mum I just want to come home, why did I decide to do this?" I could hear the worry in mum, I didn't mean to worry her, but she was my mum and it was inevitable.
Mum's solution to getting through the night: "Get out your Mp3 and put your music on. Listen to some U2, they always make you feel better."
When mum died two and a half years ago I couldn't listen to U2. It took me well over a year to be able to listen to most of their songs; there are some songs I still can't listen too without descending into a fit of grief and tears.
My grief is still there, but going to the concert last weekend? That sense of the awe and the sublime is back. That inspiration is back. That connection to the meaning of their songs, on a wider, global and universal scale is back.
I am open to the music again.
I am filled to the brim with openness.