Why OpenMind?

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Hello and welcome. Thank you for visiting OpenMind, a lifestyle approach to well-being. Let me take a moment to introduce myself and this new initiative. Ok, so, why Open Mind? It took me awhile to land this overarching concept for my studio space. I had started with “explore” and then felt the movement to explore and then discover. But there was something more foundational. I wasn’t interested in just any random exploration. What was the underlying context for my studio explorations?

We were living in Shanghai and had said goodbye to our 13 1/2 year-old Great Dane who had traveled with us from the Virginia to Europe, to Hong Kong and then to Shanghai. She was a magnificent being who loved us unconditionally. She had taught me patience, tolerance, happiness and forgiveness. She loped alongside the 4 of us, my husband and twin sons, while we biked miles and miles through forest and fields. She was our great protector, the big black dog our boys boasted about in their first grade report, as they introduced themselves to their new classmates.

We had said goodbye to her with our immediate family of about 30. The boys had come home from high school with about 30 of their closest friends to say goodbye to Turbo. She was a huge presence in our lives and she was greatly missed. Later and awhile afterward, I was away at a training when I got the text, “So his name is Buck”. Our boys’s friend had a neighbor who was a Chinese gymnast. They had gotten a puppy that had grown into an unruly and unwelcome guest in the cramped quarters of their apartment. He needed a home and my boys needed a new companion. Adopting this new dog with boundless energy, my boys were ecstatic. Where so much of what they had know of Turbo as our Grand Dame and gentle matriarch, Buck was in a category all his own! (And yes, this is coming to the point of why OpenMind!)

Buck let nothing stand in his way to greet his immediate experience. If a door was closed, he would open it. If a visitor was outside the front door, knocking to see if we were home; and we weren’t, he would open the door by raising up and banging his paw down on the lever to open the front door to a very surprised guest!

So back to OpenMind. Buck taught me “welcome”. Welcome in the whole sense of the word. He met his experience straight on, direct, immediate, and responsive. He was there in the moment, engaged open and welcoming. This led to more than a few adventures that I could tell, and Buck is still alive at the time of this writing, happily waking up with our grandson and family.

I’ve encountered welcome and not-welcome. Walking Whiskey n Tango (yes the family has grown!) around our apartment building, I’ve had neighbors shake their finger in a very unwelcoming stance, (even though my dogs were on leashes, by my side, at our home, and simply smelling the birds’ scent of springtime nesting). I’ve seen the not-welcome places in our society, the ignored, the homeless, and the prejudice that exists.

Encountering “not-welcome” highlights its contrast with welcome and open mind. A not-welcome is the result of a closed mind, an appraisal based on natural brain bias that narrows the field of perception, ruling out any additional, possibly more necessary and clarifying information.

So for me, the space of welcome, the space of an open mind is my starting point, my foundation, my ending point. It is the encompassing sphere of relational engagement and collaborative exchange. The space of unequivocal openness to receive, to feel, to meet, and grow in the space of learning and unfolding of human potential.

Welcome to OpenMind and look for my new audio series “Habits to Live with”, where I will explore well-being: elements, qualities, connections and the ways in which lifestyle impacts well-being – our sense of being whole and human. Maybe it will get more professional with background music and real editing, and maybe not. Either way, I’ll have an open mind.