When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us. – Helen Keller
Reading this quote led me to think of how, in midlife, we begin to feel the unease of change and the belief that too many doors are closing. Each time I read it, I get an immediate visual of someone looking longingly at a closed door, looking backwards at what’s done and gone. It may be that she’s not ready or willing to face what’s ahead. Or perhaps she’s not even aware that there is another door beckoning.
That makes me sad.
When life hits us with challenges and changes it certainly feels like doors have closed and options are evaporating. And sometimes we’re too tired to go searching for the newly opened doors. I get that. And, while it may not always feel believable, what I do know is that we always do have choices, also known as doors.
Ignore the open door. Or continue to believe that there are no open doors for us. Feel sadness and despair.
See the door but feel fear about walking through it. Do nothing. More sadness.
See the door. Or doors. (There may be several.) Pause and step through with understanding.
That pause in the last option is a rich one.
A Potent Pause
A pause can be minutes, days or longer and here is what I have found to be true about it:
- A pause is a rich time when we listen to our thoughts, observe and feel our way to choices. Because there are always choices. We can make them actively or passively, but they are always there.
- It’s a period to process and integrate what has passed. When we do so, we can regroup, refresh and reorient ourselves to what lies ahead.
- For me, pausing enables me to set aside my impatience and be objective and observant. I have aha moments and my body cues me as to the best direction.
What I’ve learned
As we listen deeply during a pause, we begin to understand that the first attempt might not be the final and that’s okay. At the same time, we know that inaction is rarely good. I’ve learned that life is full of trial and error and that we always have a second chance (or a third or fourth!) until our time on earth is over.
Life has taught me this many times. It’s why I pause. It’s how I remember what I know. When I believe there are open doors, they appear. When I trust my inner voice, I make wiser decisions. Those decisions are always the best for me at the moment. It may not always be what I expected. I leave myself open to wonder and surprise and I know there will be more doors.
Are you working through changes and looking for open doors? I can help you with that. Contact me and together we will shine the light on the door that has opened just for you.
The references to pausing landed with me. We need time to process change and possibilities.
I liked the visual image of the door opening and I personally have kept the image of the effect of opening a door of a darkened room just a crack to let even a small amount of light in, and the dramatic effect that creates.
Thank you for sharing this.