There are only two ways to live–Open or Closed. Put another way, there are only two spaces to come from: Love and Fear. But I kinda like the terms Open and Closed, because I can feel them.

When I’m Open, I feel energy coursing through my body, I feel alive, grounded and receptive. Closed feels contracted, shut off, heavy, small and dark, and I experience the energy in my body as static or blocked. I physically experience these as two distinctly different states. When I’m closed, it’s because I’m coming from a place of lack, wondering if I’ll have enough money, whether I’ll get hurt or if I’m doing the “right” thing. Embarrassment, anxiety, weakness, jealousy–it’s all fear; it’s all Closing Down. Open means I’m coming from a place of knowing, connection, freedom and presence, which equals joy, energy, strength, love and authenticity. And I’ll take a supersize order of THAT, por favor!

Cue twinkly music:

And now a word from our sponsor…

Allow me to garden-path here for a sec (like you can stop me): for years I’ve heard the concept that all emotions are only renditions of Love and Fear. I sort of vaguely had an idea of what that meant, but always questioned, “how can anger be fear?” I get it now, and here’s how–for any of you who ever had the same query: Anger is a reaction to something that attacks or challenges some idea of ourselves–or a response to an invasion of personal boundaries. Anger —-> Fear can be explained by the Transitive Property (who said we’d never use H.S. math ever again?!):

The truth is that anger is an ego response to a situation in which we feel threatened. A perception of threat is fear of part of us or something we identify with being unacknowledged, taken away, harmed, or extinguished. Anger is Fear.

     If A=B         and       B=C   then         A=C

Anger=Threatened, Threatened=Fear, Anger=Fear.


  • If I’m angry because you called me a liar, it’s because my sense of self is threatened. If I have no fear of loss of my sense of self because I understand that sense of self is an ego concept and not who I really am, no anger arises when the “liar” arrow is throw; that emotion is simply not there.
  • If I’m angry because you showed up at my house unannounced and interrupted my work, it’s because I fear that I have no power to simply tell you it’s not a good time and I’ll hit you up later (and allow true acceptance of your response). If I’m confident in my ability to say no to whatever I need to say no to, anger does not arise when you knock on my door.
  • And the toughest of them all: If I’m angry because you hurt me or someone or something I love, while beyond obviously triggering necessary defense of our physical selves, it’s because I identify with whatever is threatened and I fear pain or loss. My understanding that this person who threatened or hurt was acting out of either Fear, ignorance or insanity extinguishes my anger like a wet blanket on a spark. I still address what needs to be addressed (locking up a perpetrator, for instance, or putting away the china when Aunt Meg visits and instructing a child not to pet the dog so exuberantly), but I don’t take it personally.
And now back to our regular programming.

It’s not “Fear Bad” and “Love Good, ” or “Open Good,” “Closed Bad,” though obviously most of us prefer one over the other. In reality though, they are not actually polar opposites, they’re one. But we experience them in our lives as duality, as different. One is not to be avoided and one romanced, although that’s the way most of us live our lives. A revelation: when we fight one, we limit or eliminate the other. We cannot feel joy and not feel pain; we cannot eliminate pain and still feel joy.

Lemme say that again:

If we want to experience joy in our lives, we must also be willing to feel pain.

There’s no getting around it, so let’s stop fighting! If we aren’t blocking our experiences and we’re feeling, we’re feeling both Fear and Love. If we’re shut down to feeling, we feel neither, or feel one only to the degree we’ve limited the other. Love and Fear are both part of our life experience. As we realize more and more of who we are, our emotions rise and fall less and less with circumstances, but discomfort on any scale alerts us to areas in which we’re operating under misunderstandings and imagined limitations.

How to dissolve those misunderstandings and imagined limitations? Well, keep diving into yourself any way you can, routing out those false beliefs through whatever means bring you back to the here and now, back to the present. And a huge part of that? Embrace everything you feel. While it’s easy to accept what we label as “positive” emotions, how about bear-hugging “negative” ones? More of a challenge, but doable–and once you get the hang of it, you realize that embracing them all actually transmutes Fear into Love–the elixir of life. Which is, I might add, the ultimate alchemy (rub hands together, throw back head and emit cackling laughter). Muahahahhaa. LiveLove&BU

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