The Openhanded Life

Openhandedness

“Hold on is what they say
But I say open up your hands and let it fly away
Until the day it comes back and it was meant to be
Take a look at the lovely gift the world has sent to me
Don’t suffer you got to maintain
The rougher the storm gets the more they complain
They don’t aim
They shoot sporadically
Panicky and so dramatically
He ran frantically
Summarized by the look in his eyes
He couldn’t hold on after one too many tries”

– Aceyalone

Do you feel the need to clutch onto everything you desire?

Most of us do. We’ve been conditioned that we must grab what we want and hold onto it for dear life. This applies to everything, from our identity, to our goals, to our relationships, to money, and everything in between.

What if I told you that life is more about letting go than holding on? Well, that is if you want to be happy, fulfilled, present and at peace. If you want to cause yourself more suffering, feel free to stop reading now.

Enter: Openhandedness

Openhandedness is characterized by releasing that fearful, egoic clinging to everything, letting go, generously giving and cultivating the ability to receive.

An open hand can both give and receive, while a closed fist can do neither. If we look at the two basic motivating forces, fear and love, openhandedness is based in love while a closed fist is based in fear. Fear is constricting, an inhibitor to growth and a creator of unnecessary barriers. Love is opening. Love is growth. Love is freedom.

Openhandedness doesn’t necessarily mean walking around with your hands out 24/7 like you’re a Jesus figurine or something. It’s a metaphor for your general mindset. If you’re always so constricted and closed-off, you’ll never have the opportunity to give or receive. A closed fist is also used to cling onto things. And so many of us desperately cling to every part of our lives, for fear of losing whatever it is we’re clinging to. This is absolutely exhausting and completely driven by fear and scarcity.

“Let go or be dragged.” – Zen Proverb

What happens when you cling to a person too much? They feel suffocated and push you away. What happens when you cling to your money? You drive yourself crazy worrying about it, poison your relationships and cut yourself off to making more. What happens when you cling to your identity? You end up pigeonholing yourself and block any spontaneity or change from coming into your life.

This is the mode that most people live in, especially in modern western society. I was completely controlled by this mentality myself until fairly recently. It’s a byproduct of being possessed by the ego, living in fear and not trusting the process of life. That’s a miserable way to go through life.

Yet a magical shift happens once you allow yourself to let go and trust the process of life. That which is meant to come comes and that which is meant to go goes. When you live an openhanded life, you give generously, receive often and joyfully flow with the unfoldment of each moment as it arises. Good things come and go, their beautiful fleetingness thoroughly enjoyed. Challenges are adeptly addressed then let go of. Situations come and go. People come and go. Those who remain in your life remain because they truly want to, not because you fearfully cling onto them. The openhanded life is beautiful, free flowing and rooted in unconditional love.

Lupe Fiasco has a brilliant reference to openhandedness in his song They. Resurrect. Over. New, saying “It’s a new year, every time I open my hands.” When you live an openhanded life, you’re rebirthing yourself in every moment. You’re effortlessly allowing life to spontaneously unfold and dynamically change.

Note: Openhandedness is not synonymous with inaction. When you’re openhanded, you align your actions with the flow of life. You harmonize all aspects of your being instead of letting your ego try to control every situation.

The Main Characteristics of Openhanded Life

Generosity – Giving with an open hand. Giving freely and without expectation. Loving openly and wholeheartedly.

In giving more you receive more. How do you receive more love? By giving more love! Now you might be saying, “This doesn’t work for something like money. You can’t get more money by giving more money.” Well, here’s the thing; if you give more in every aspect of life, you will cultivate a life where you do have more money (and more abundance in general). If you give generously, provide value and help people, you will inevitably find yourself in opportunities that make you more money (professional connections, entrepreneurial opportunities, job promotions, a better job…etc.). So while it may not be an exact 1:1 ratio (ex/ giving $50 and getting $50 the next day), be open to your giving and receiving coming in many forms.

Being Open to Receive – Knowing that you’re worthy of receiving (we all are). Being open to things, situations and people coming into your life when you least expect it. Receiving with gratitude.

Letting Go – Releasing your fearful vice grip to everything. Practicing the power of surrender. Allowing things to unfold as they may. Living motivated by love and without attachment. Remember, attachment is based in fear.

Abundance Mentality – Having an abundance mentality as opposed to a scarcity mentality. The belief that you will always get what you need and you will always be provided for. The belief that there is enough for everyone. The belief that love is an infinite resource.

Faith – Faith in the process of life. Faith in the universe. Faith in your intuition. Being able to trust that things will come into your life when needed.

“It’s a belief: Life is always happening for us, not to us. It’s our job to find out where the benefit is. If we do, life is magnificent.”
– Tony Robbins

Harmony – Harmony is being in alignment. There is no discrepancy between your desires, your intuition and the flow of life. All aspects of your being synergistically work together. When living in closed-fisted fear, the ego attempts to control every situation, which as many people find out, often does more harm than good.

When you intuitively live and act in harmony with the flow of life, life takes on a level of beauty and serendipity that you never could’ve imagined from the limited viewpoint of egoic fear. This sounds like overly poeticized rhetoric but I know it to be true, both from personal experience and the stories of many, many other people.

Spontaneity – Flowing with life, dynamically adapting to any situation. Sailing with the winds of change. Not clutching onto what was or how things could be. Living fully in the present moment and truly enjoying life.

Now that you’ve read about openhandedness, it’s time to apply.

Live that #openhandedlife

Much love.

– Stevie P!

The Selfish Reason Behind Giving

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While hiking Mount Washington a few months ago, my girlfriend (at the time) and I got into some intense philosophical discussions during our descent.

In the midst of this mobile symposium, she asked me the most revelatory question I’ve ever been asked…

“Why do you like helping other people?”

Coming from an experienced psychologist, this wasn’t a question asked just for the sake of asking a question. Not at all. It was a friendly yet firm demand for genuine truth. She would not accept a vague, dismissive or even lightly dishonest answer. She wanted me to recognize the core reason as to why I enjoy helping others.

The only answer I could honestly come up with was this: I like helping other people because it makes me feel good.

“For it is in giving that we receive.” – Francis of Assisi

As humans, we’re inherently social beings. We thrive off of connection. And giving is an essential element in cultivating a sense of connectedness with others. That’s why giving feels so good. The research even shows that giving actually makes us happier than receiving.

In his book The Hidden Gifts of Helping Stephen G. Post writes:

“As the saying goes, ‘if you help someone up the hill, you get closer yourself.’ Whether the group is focused on weight loss, smoking cessation, substance abuse, alcoholism, mental illness and recovery, or countless other needs, a defining feature of the group is that people are deeply engaged in helping one another, and are in part motivated by an explicit interest in their own healing.”

This concept of helping yourself by helping others sounds paradoxical, but so do most profound truths. Giving is such an essential part of our nature that it transcends duality.

I feel good when I help others. That’s why I do it.

I help people because, in turn, I help myself.

When I give advice, it’s not only to others, but to myself as well.

I write, not only for other people’s betterment, but for my own improvement and cathartic realization.

Giving is the ultimate win-win situation.

Be generous, because you too will reap the benefits.

Much love.

– Stevie P!
 

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