For the last three years I watched one of my best friends, after his divorce, actively, consciously, clamp down on the relationships in his life.  Deciding that certain types of experiences and connections were not to be participated in, actively denying them, closing himself to them, walking away from them. Vulnerability and the process of emotionally connecting were on his blacklist. Through this process, I also saw him struggle through a variety of business ventures, that albeit provided good experience, but were never flowing at the level they  have or could for him. This affected other areas of his life as well.

The other day, of one my amazing mentors reminded me of Brene Brown’s research on vulnerability.  We were discussing how you cannot clamp down on one experience/emotion (vulnerability) and still bring in the experience of another (joy).  The acting of shutting down, closes the door to the gamut of emotions/experiences.

My buddy, in the midst of a very difficult time, recently chose to (slowly) make himself vulnerable (as such difficult experiences often do).  Opening himself and connecting emotionally with a woman and laying the foundation for a long term ‘relationship’.  The most interesting thing has happened, I see his life flowing now in a way it hasn’t for many, many years.  His business is flourishing, he is turning away clients at this point, all his relationships are fuller, more alive.  He is healthier. There is  a true flow happening in his life.

You can’t clamp down in one area of your life and expect the others to flourish.  You may be looking for change in one area of your life, but denying yourself these shifts by shutting down in another.  When you actively, consciously, choose to close (or not open – same thing), you shut down the entire flow of life that would normally move through you and for you. To deny this inter connection is to disallow yourself the opportunity to experience all  that you desire.  If something isn’t flowing in your life the way you want it to, in your work, your health, your relationships etc, where in your life are you clamping down?  Rather, where in your life can you consciously, actively choose to open against your own closure? or to your own vulnerability? Go on, take a breath, have a little trust.

As I connect these dots, I see how my own choice to actively clamp down on my creativity for the past year has bled into other areas of my life. In refusing to be creatively vulnerable, time and time again, I have prevented myself from experiencing the entire flow of life, the joy of not only writing, but working, connecting, loving etc.  It’s slowly bled into the other areas of my life preventing any sort of flow from taking place. Such is the nature of flow, it is expansive, all encompassing,  linear and non linear at the same time. The very concept of flow is meant to circulate and move and reach.  If you put up a dam, you’re blocking the entire gamut of entries.

Where is the dam in your life that may be preventing flow in other areas? Can you choose to create a small opening to allow life to into it?