I know we have all heard that saying – “When one door closes, another opens.” And while the saying is intended to give people hope in times of despair, usually when someone recites it to us we are not very receptive to its meaning.
Going through difficult times can be really tough. Especially when we are cast out from our ‘comfort zones’ and changes are occurring in our lives and we feel we have lost control. As humans, we find comfort in familiarity and routine, and when those familiar things are disturbed for whatever reason, it is easy to find ourselves anxious and in a panic regarding our situation.
When looking up the origin of this phrase, I saw an interesting variation of this quote by the great inventor Alexandar Graham Bell that I thought I would share.
”When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.”
Did Mr. Bell nail it, or what?
Leave it to a creative “genius” (whom had many, many doors close throughout his lifetime, I am sure) to give this wonderfully poignant extension of these words that were meant to both comfort and give promise that better days are ahead.
Bravo, Mr. Bell! I like you better just for reading that!
So many of us fear change. We find what we call our ‘comfort zones’ and dig in with our heels and fight with all the energy in our beings to keep things as they are in certain circumstances. Many times, we aren’t even happy with the situation that we are fighting so hard to keep. There are bad marriages, unfulfilling jobs and other situations in our lives that perhaps aren’t damaging us, but are holding us back from reaching our potential. Perhaps we are just going through the motions because even though we are unhappy with the situation, in our own minds it is better than the black abyss of unknown that lies ahead should we choose to change.
I think Alexander had it right when he spoke of longing regretfully for the past – so deeply that we are blind to all the wonderful opportunities that are available to us. And for what? Because we fear what we don’t know and ‘what may be.’
But how, I ask you, are we ever to improve or grow if we don’t change? If, say, we don’t like our job or current situation, how are we ever going to expect our lives to be any different if we don’t try to change things and make things better.
We simply can’t.
The way I look at it, life is a journey. We travel from place to place and learn and grow and encounter new things each and every day. When we stop traveling, we stop learning and experiencing and at least to me, I would think that life would become stagnant and unfulfilling and pointless.
Many times we long for the past. Sometimes we long for it even if it has been destructive or detrimental to our lives. But just like Alexander Bell said, we sometimes waste so much of our time longing for our past, that we are blind to all the wonderful things that the future holds for us ahead. Some people just don’t know how to let go.
I am currently going through some changes in my life. At this time, I am not completely comfortable with the changes and I do fear the unknown that lies ahead. I admit this because I am sure that from the outside looking in, people are not aware of this. There have been some areas in my life that have become too comfortable, and perhaps even stagnant. Even though I thought I was doing “OK” in them, in my heart I know that I can do better. I deserve it. So it is time to make some changes that are not very comfortable to me, but necessary to keep me happy and fresh and growing as a designer.
Like many, I have held on to things long after they served me well. Even though I know that not only are they no longer beneficial to me, but they are on the brink of being downright destructive.
Also, like many, I have allowed this to continue because of my fear of the unknown, and what closing that door would mean to me. I have been blinded by that fear and I have been so obsessed with it that there has been no room for growth or even considering what the other doors have to offer.
But I am past that now. And with reading the above quote in the context that Alexander Bell placed it, I realized that this applied to ME and my own situation. It labeled and identified how I have been thinking all along. And it validated my own feelings.
I am moving now, and not allowing the closed door to dominate my thoughts. I no longer wish to give it that undeserved power to do so. The ability to let go is something that we all have within us, and once we learn to use it to our advantage, it can be one of the most significant assets we have. We only have to have the courage to use it.
There are so many new opportunities are before me. Many are those that I have considered in the past, but not had the initiative or courage to explore. I no longer fear the changes in my life, I look forward to them as exciting new adventures that will lead me to the path that I need to follow. I may take a wrong turn once in a while, but we all know there are many paths to a single destination, and the destination of happiness and fulfillment is no different.
I will find a way.
I wish you all a wonderful Tuesday. Don’t be afraid of opening new doors.
PS – I just noticed as I was typing that Ms. Debbie posted her interview she did with me for the Lumberjocks Newsletter this month. It is an honor to be selected from the over 40,000 members for this interview. I can never repay the kindness, friendships and guidance that I have received from the Lumberjocks.com web site. I highly recommend it for woodworkers of all types. You will not regret being part of this great community. You can read the interview HERE. Thank you so much! :)
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"