A couple of weeks ago, me and one of my best friends decided to travel to London for a few days. I’ve been feeling drawn to that place for about 2 years, and it felt awesome when I finally had the chance to make this trip a reality. I did not know what to expect, I just felt destiny calling and I was excited to figure out what this was all about…
When I got there, it was as cold as back home in Denmark, of course, as it is not so far apart. We spent most of the day exploring London, (with the help of the subway). Camden Town was definitely the most interesting place I’ve been in a long time, so much culture in a seemingly small part of London, it almost felt hidden and secret, and I really liked that. It was great for exploring.
Later that day we decided to go to our hotel and rest a little. We went to use the subway again. It was actually much easier finding our way around, than what I had expected. I felt safe using it. When we got on a train, we were both feeling tired and we sat in silence for a while. I started to look around, observing the people around me. I started to notice how none of them were smiling or making eye contact with each other. No one was talking. The only sound was the noise coming from the train, otherwise there were complete silence. It started to remind me of home.
Danish people have been known for being very closed off, not talking to strangers or even meeting them with a smile. Of course this is a very general statement, but I absolutely do agree with it.
On this train ride, I started feeling that London was my mirror, that coming from the outside, being a tourist, this pattern of being closed off from one another, is the state most of the world is in currently. As I thought more about this situation, and felt into this energy in the train, I started feeling nauseous (I do that sometimes when I feel into certain energies). I started to feel how my heart and every cell in my body wanted to constrict and close off from the world around me. I did not feel safe. I felt invisible and like I didn’t matter, as Im sure most of the people on that train felt as well.
I didn’t want to constrict, and I tried very hard to keep my heart open, even though it did not feel good in the moment. I silently asked for a sign of some sort, to help guide me in this situation. A few seconds later I looked up from the ground and I noticed a valve. Underneath it were the words “close” and “open”. It referred to the valve, left for closing it and right for opening it, but to me the meaning was much more significant. I was giving a choice, something I already knew and battled with, and that was to stay open or to constrict and therefore shut down, not letting anything in or out. It felt safest to constrict, and it was also the easiest because I did that without even thinking about it, it was a reflex. But the thing is, that would just add to the energy that surrounded me, the energy that has caused me to feel nauseous. It was an energy of loneliness and isolation. As I looked around me, I did not see one person looking happy. I did not see one person smiling. What I did see, was a lot of people looking down, either on their phones, but mostly on the ground. They were tired from a long day at work, and they probably just wanted to go home. They had already decided to close down, unconsciously I assume. It made me feel depressed.
It feels like we only choose to open up in very limited circumstances, and that it is only in these circumstances that we allow ourselves to actually smile and be happy. We do this unconsciously, and therefore we do not stand a chance for lasting happiness.
This whole thing has made me very conscious of the fact, that I do not want to live in a world that is constricted. I do not want to live a life where happiness is only present in a few moments throughout the day, depending on where I am and who I am with.
A desire was born in me that day on the train. A desire that, instead of automatically constricting ourselves, we automatically open up to each other. A desire to live in a world where openness is the impulse and is what feels safe to do. A desire that we see each others uniqueness and that we are capable of holding space for one another without judgement, and where we do not fear to see and feel into each other, and for others to see and feel into us.
My short trip to London was fun and it felt great to explore and experience a new culture with so much history. To my surprise, I did not resonate well with the city, but I did learn something of great value. London provided me with the mirror I needed, to give me further answers of what it is I truly desire in my life and in this world. So I am happy with the outcome of my travel, even though it was different from my expectations. I know now, that my practice in this time in my life, is the practice of openness. It is to consciously open up my heart space whenever I feel it constricting. I want to see this change in my life, and so I will start with myself.
The choice is as always in life, do we choose to live in state of fear, or do we choose to live in a state of love? As terrifying as it is opening up, to a world that is trying its hardest to shut you out, in the end, it will be worth it.
It takes strength to make this choice, and it demands of us to be brave enough to trust, that staying open in a world where you constantly feel the need to constrict, and the fear of what will happen if you don’t, is what will give you the opportunity of lasting happiness and a life that is actually worth living.
So the question I feel all of us will benefit from asking ourselves is this; do we choose to stay closed or do we choose to open up to life?