When we place too much focus on one goal, our path can seem narrow and full of closed doors. But if we can learn to let go and truly open ourselves to the unexpected, we may find possibilities we didn’t know existed.

We miss so much when we live closed off to the world. Think of your fist – when you shut it tight you can carry a handful of sand for a distance. But if you spread your hands wide, the entire desert can pass through your fingers.

Being open means you are receptive to the universe and changing circumstances that can affect your daily experiences. You are not abandoning your goals, or desire for success; you are simply creating more room for improvisation if the first path does not work out.

How open do you view yourself? Is your life a series of narrow passes that you must squeeze through, exhausted when you reach the other side? Or do you feel that each new challenge is a wide archway that you walk beneath comfortably?

Visual imagery can be a great tool for meditation, inspiring you to look at your thoughts in new ways. Here are some more ways to visualize openness, which may inspire you to create and contemplate your own imagery:

  • A satellite dish: open to all the signals of the universe
  • A sapling: stretching to reach the sun and rain
  • A whale: huge mouth open, swimming through the krill
  • A magnet: attracting that which is opposite to you
  • The child version of yourself: knowing that everything is possible

Being open is hard when we spend life rushing from one serious task to the next. Breathe, slow down just a little bit, and don’t forget to smile.

Visual imagery meditation from the book Quiet Mind: One Minute Retreats from a Busy World.