One of my favorite informational resources is an unabridged two tape audio of the book One Door Closes, Another Door Opens, by Arthur Pine. The book is read, very speedily, by Wayne Dyer. It is an inspiring and encouraging listening experience to hear story after story, all true, of people who had opportunity doors slammed shut, thought they were sidelined, out of the game, or seriously set back, only to have new doors of opportunity open for them.
Listening to another audio, by Bill O'Hanlon, titled "Let Your Soul Be Your Pilot," about how to detect what you are meant to do, which I downloaded from his site a few days ago, and the apparent dilemma of someone I know who is faced with a seemingly closing door, set me thinking about doors, walls, obstacles, and options.
When I began writing my first book, Woman Be Free, on the controversial subject of equality for women in the church I had great fears and doubts about the project. Not about how important it was, but because it was important and I was inexperienced, and as they now say, had no "platform." That is, nobody knew who I was, and hardly anyone would have had reason to think what I'd say about anything was worth reading.
However, I had a strong push to do it, a divine urge, a conviction that it needed to be done, and that I was to go ahead and do it even if I was unknown and unaccomplished. The conviction that it needed to be done, and the doubts about my fitness for doing it fought back and forth until, one day, in my writing space in the basement of my Chicago suburban home, near the furnace, sitting on my five dollar chair at my five dollar typewriter on my five dollar desk (Did that make me a five dollar writer?) I took out one of my blank sheets of paper and wrote down all the taunts that filled my thoughts: "Who do you think you are? Nobody will publish it. No one will read it. What makes you think you can write? You're wasting your time. This is foolish. You're unqualified," every fear and haunting doubt I had.
When I'd written them all, I looked over the page, considered it for a long moment, and announced to me, "I am going to do it anyway," wadded up the paper and threw it away.
Walking through that open door presented other doors, some painful, some lovely, some for me, and some for others in my family.
My husband eventually faced the closed door of employment at Moody Bible Institute, fired as a result of a complex set of circumstances, but if I'd not written the book, he would not have been out of a job, sitting in the big wing back chair feeling depressed and almost hopeless. He did not know that there was an open door coming up, one he would not have knocked on, or dreamed would present itself, unless the other door, the one to doing what he loved most, teaching, had not slammed in his face.
Sometimes the actual closing of one door is the opening of another, in disguise. For example, the closing of the door that I witnessed and experienced, of service in the church for women, was, in disguise, the opening of the door to write about it. And my going through that door opened opportunities not only for me, but for many readers, as they let me know from time to time, even now, over 25 years later. Someone reading this may find too that the actual shutting of a door provides a writing/action set of opportunities along with the motivating fire to set the words alight.
Open doors are sometimes not noticed at first, and in fact, may seem like they aren't open at all, but, a gentle nudge will reveal that they open slightly, and then when action is taken, a bit more. It's important to know that you do not need to leap through an open door without peeking inside, and need only go as far and as fast as you have ready resources to take you.
Sometimes going through a new and open door is frightening, or looks like big, bad WORK. But, taking it slowly, and putting one foot into the open space, and then, carefully, another one, can let you know what you need to do next. I'm reminded of what Michael Neill said in his book, You Can Have What You Want. He said he's found that if he focuses on the benefits of what he's doing and not the process to get there that it transforms his experience.
My suggestions, when a door seems to be closing, or has obviously closed:
1. Take a deep breath, a nap, a vacation, if you can, and allow yourself to mentally and physically regroup.
2. Just be curious, a very useful state, curiosity, about open doors that may present themselves, whether disguised or obvious ones.
3. Notice when open ones present themselves, and seriously consider them, even if they are astoundingly different than what you would have sought on your own.
4. Just because the door opens doesn't mean it's right for you, or that you should step into it. And, stepping into it doesn't mean you have to keep on going. Be free to change direction again, if you want to or need to.
5.Respect and honor your own needs. Take care of your physical and emotional needs. Don't sacrifice you or anyone else to step through an open door.
6. Consider that you may have more to you than you've realized, and that a new direction, new career, new way of expressing your own thoughts, of contributing to the world what you have been gifted with is not at all unreasonable.
7. Enjoy what you do, where you go, how you contribute from who you are.
8. Take the good from where you've been. Don't leave parts of yourself behind, unless you can also take them with you.