Open To Life


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?

Friends 2

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  1. Perfect timing for this post, Sascha, as I am currently struggling with the same choice, and have made the same decision. Kudos to both of us. And thanks for sharing your adventure and lesson so eloquently! 😀

  2. Dear sacha. Yesterday evening I went to bar here in Antwerp. I was to late for the live music. The night was not a loss. I stayed until 2 or 3 in the morning talking the some people. Maybe connecting with another through the energy, consciousness and hearing a bit of her thoughts concerning me. I had a dialogue with the man next to me about people. It was difficult to put in to words what I wanted to say. I started talking about it using economy, but that puts up the right or wrong of the economy. That was not what I wanted to talk about.
    No. What I wanted to talk about is not exclusive to the economy.
    We are al in roles. a treadmill. The Stanford University prison experiment shows that. Every role puts blinders on. The blinders makes us zombies. Blind to what we do. Only seeing the seeming need that it needs to get done. Our fellow humans fall by the wayside. Ourselfs falls by the wayside.

    As a child we question not our parents over what they give us. We question not our teachers. Our parents do not question what they give us. Growing up we are told , taught, disciplined how to life. Step outside that how and they retaliate. Besides that we also have desires and talents.Which we inherit. We are brought up in a world where all those that are not family have to pay. A friend may get free access or discount.
    Why ?
    You wrote it. Hierarchy of openness.
    Why is that ?

    The problem is deeper than humans. Deeper than mammals. Maybe deeper than plants.
    All animals have that hierarchy of openness.

    solutions: escape,hide,shield or fight,struggle or solve. Only the full truth solves it ones and for all.
    Humans we are. One can only start from where one is. Solving the problems of our society ones and for all is to solve ourselfs.

  3. I noticed the same when I visited London. It was quite shocking as it’s not what I’m used to. I live in the Caribbean, and while everyone is usually in their own worlds, you still feel a bit of warmth when you go out.

  4. Great article, thank you for sharing this story with us! In America it is very similar. Most people keeping to themselves, not smiling, closing themselves off. I personally struggle with this as much as anyone. But a few years ago I started to see people in a new light and it has started to show me the best in people. I used to think of people as just self-centered and rude, but now I see that people are hurting and truly want to open themselves up to each other, but can’t find it within themselves to do so. People smile at me more often now and they talk to my randomly, which never happened before. Not sure why I’m telling you this, other than to reciprocate and share my experience with you 🙂

    1. Thank you for sharing! Im happy to hear about your experience, and that you see a positive difference in this aspect of your life. I absolutely agree with you, that most (well all) people really just want to connect. And when we start with ourselves we see this reflection of openness around us, it’s really amazing ?

  5. Nice post Sascha……the real good thing to do is to open up to life……cause life has so much to offer….so much good and happiness exists…..:)…..if you come to my city Calcutta in India, you will find a complete different aspect of what life has to offer……beauty in chaos and madness…..:)

  6. Yes!! Be open to life. And be joyful!! Do not be afraid to reach out to those others even if it is only one perhaps your openness and joy for life can ignite a spark that can fan into flames a greater number of somber souls. Thank you so much for writing and reading about the Servants of Charity.

  7. Nice post! Just curious if you have ever visited Ireland and if you had the same experience? I think if you visited smaller towns or rural areas your experience would be that locals are more relaxed and friendly! I make a point of smiling at people or making eye contact and saying hello as I pass people in the street. Some respond to this and I often remind myself that it is possible I might be the only human interaction they had that day.

    1. Thank you! I have not been to Ireland. But Im sure you’re right! Great to hear you’re doing that, I am actually trying to do that myself. I think that’s a great place to start ?

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