We Cannot Open a Door if Both Hands are Full
“We cannot hold on to things and enter. We must put down what we carry, open the door, and then take up only what we need to bring inside.”
– Mark Nepo, “The Book of Awakening”
At long last, I finally got around to ordering “The Book of Awakening,” by Mark Nepo. I love it!
If you haven’t read it, it’s a daybook…whereby each day of the year has a different idea to ponder and perhaps meditate upon. The book is full of insights, “All of which speak about spirit and friendship,” explains Nepo, “about our ongoing need to stay vital and in love with this life, no matter the hardships we encounter.”
Staying in love with life…I like that.Are you in love with life? Are you in love with YOUR life? Click To Tweet
In the foreword, Jamie Lee Curtis describes the book beautifully: “It’s simplicity rests in the profound distillation of ideas, thoughts, and stories often offered as another sage’s concepts, words, or actions. Mark takes the wisdom of great thinkers and then writes a homily that unfolds and evolves those beautiful precepts from long ago.”
One such story, near the beginning of the book, is comical. Nepo shares the experience of a friend who was so excited to get started painting the family room a vibrant new color, that when he arrived home from the hardware store, even though both his hands were full – holding paint cans, brushes, and a step ladder – he didn’t want to take the time to put something down so he could open the door properly.
Instead, in his haste, he tried to open the door and hold on to all the items.
This, naturally, ended in disaster. Let’s just say the poor guy – not the walls – was the recipient of the barn red paint.
“It’s such a simple thing,” writes Nemo, “but in a moment of ego we refuse to put down what we carry in order to open the door.”
As perhaps you have discovered in your own life, this tends to be true, especially when we are ready to open a new door – a new chapter – in our life.
Sometimes in our enthusiasm to start the next phase, career, project, relationship, etc, we get so gung-ho to open the door and get started, that we forget the importance of making sure every step is done properly…including that ever-so-important pause.
“It is a basic human sequence,” writes Nemo, “Gather, prepare, put down, enter. But failing as we do, we always have that second chance: to learn how to fall, get up, and laugh.”What might you need to put down for a little while, so that you can open a new door? Click To Tweet
Are you trying to rush something that may, in fact, require you to slow down first?
For me, the recent relationship I was in for six months has been put on hold. It may, in fact, be over completely. I’m not quite sure. But I do know this: the guy I was dating wasn’t able to open a new door with me because his hands were full, trying to start the next (unplanned, courtesy of COVID) phase of his career.
Now that I have had the chance to reflect on our time together, I realize he had the wisdom to put down one of the things he was holding – me – so that he could fully focus on going through another new door (a time-sensitive and energy-intensive one) that he had to go through.
Likewise…I, too, have had to put several things to the side during this pandemic, so that I could properly focus on opening the door to the next chapter of my work life.
We cannot do it all – and carry it all – at the same time. We only have two hands. And that is more than enough 🙂
Take care, stay well & thanks for reading!
Maryanne Pope is the author of “A Widow’s Awakening.” She also writes screenplays, playscripts and blogs. Maryanne is the CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and a Director with the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. To receive her blog, “Weekly Words of Wisdom,” please subscribe here.