Staying Open

This post is a part of our weekly email called “Presence+Practice”. You can have early access to this weekly content by subscribing to our newsletter. 


By default I am an optimist. I have found this to be both a wonderful strength and sometimes a dangerous weakness. On the plus side, I see possibilities and usually interpret “obstacles” and “closed doors” as new opportunities. I generally feel pretty good on the inside. The downside is that I can minimize struggles, ignore important details and suppress “negative” emotions. Aside from driving my family and co-workers crazy on occasion, this can also manifest in tiredness, irritability, and back pain. Honestly, I have learned that when I pull my lower back, it’s a clue that I’ve minimized or suppressed some stressor in my life.

Instead of denying or repressing (not a good long term solution to anything), I am learning to be present to whatever arises… allow myself to feel the “negative” feelings of anger, insecurity, anxiety, etc.. Instead of batting the feelings away, I allow it so simply be. Instead of overwhelming me, I find the feelings usually dissipate relatively quickly and there is always a treasure, a new insight, underneath the emotional flow. Through opening to the moment, practicing receptivity, I am learning that everything belongs, the light and the shadow, the positive and the negative (a challenging lesson for this Enneagram 7). This weeks featured practice is a perfect on-ramp to cultivating the experience that everything belongs.


During a training session, Sandra Smith, an Enneagram teacher and coach, said to our Second Breath team that the development of our receptivity as individuals and as a team was a most important component of our spiritual growth. She told us “everything comes to us that belongs to us if we create the capacity to receive it.”

Our capacity to be receptive is in direct relationship to the alignment of our three centers of intelligence. When our minds are quiet and receptive; and our hearts are authentic and receptive; and our bodies are grounded and receptive, we open ourselves to what God has in store for us. This week’s spiritual practice, called “Staying Open”, helps us grow in our ability to receive what is offered to us.

Click below to access the app and try it out.

(To access the app and try out this week’s Featured Practice, click here on your iPhone and here on your Android.) 


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Remembering Optimism

The fact is we are also surrounded by wonder, blue sky, blue birds, miracles and there are small acts of kindness and compassion all around. We are immersed in beauty and, in the words of Gerard Manly Hopkins, “The world is charged with the grandeur of God.”