Over the last few days, I’ve not been in a state of mind to journal. Most of my mental attention has gone to client work and an interesting new project I was invited to engage in—perhaps planting the seed for a next chapter in my business journey? I also went for my third chemo session on Tuesday, and while it’s no drama, it does lower my usual energy level; so, when not working, I dawdled… with self-compassion.
Planting seeds is something I’m good at. Not the kind that grow into plants; no, I’m not graced with a green thumb. It’s the metaphorical seeds that when cultivated grow into new callings, opportunities, and adventures.
But on second thought… hmmm… maybe it’s not anything I actively do. Maybe what I’m foremost good at is being in a persistent state of “openness”—open to seeing the next open door that life presents me… and not being afraid to walk through it.
Having challenges in your life open doors for you.Payal Kadakia
And when I stop to look at it, I perceive and appreciate that my life has involved the opening and closing of a series of doors, some momentous life-pivoting, others minor, yet not insignificant to the whole journey. Let me today recount a few of the weightier doors.
As you read my brief account, you may imagine it’s all been a straight line for me, from one closed door to another open one; I assure you, it’s been anything but.
Some months after having been called to the Bar of British Columbia in 1984 and not feeling in any way inspired to practice law (a closing door?), a totally unexpected—and life-changing—door was opened for me. By next spring, I found myself on a slow boat to China, fell in love with the place (still can’t explain that; it was like coming home), and put my heart and soul into becoming-then-being a China-trade consultant.
So much learned; so much experienced in the next handful of marvelous and eye-opening years. Circumstances beyond my control ended that chapter. Although sad for a while, I remember being surprised by my own adaptability in accepting this closing door.
When one door closes another always opens, but we usually look so long, so intently and so sorrowfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one that has opened.Jean Paul Richter
The next big door I walked through landed me (with my honey) in the Philippines as country manager for an American giftware company. I’ve always considered those next six years (1990-96) as my MBA practicum. Again, so many more skills picked up and lessons learned, about corporate ways, leading a team, business processes, human nature, and much more. And again, that chapter ended through circumstances not in my control. Yet I was fine with that door closing, too; it was time for me to move on.
Over the following decade or so, doors of entrepreneurial opportunity opened up consecutively for me in the international supply-chain for home décor, other consumer goods, and equipment, each one leading to another interesting one…, until the last door slammed shut.
I could never, ever, in my wildest youthful dreams have imagined I’d one day be shown a door leading to using my business and leadership skills to co-develop a business model for migration services and then executing that model in a small Eastern-European country called Moldova. And yet there, too, the door suddenly, unexpectedly, and firmly closed.
We returned to Manila end 2017, with me on the look-out for the next BIG open door for me to walk through and sink my passions and skills into. I nurtured a few business ideas and have developed a meaningful coaching/consultancy firm.
Then, out of the blue and not welcomed, the door to cancer opened. And yet I will remain fearless. Let’s see where this door goes. So far, nothing too disruptive.
My other doors remain open.
Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.Joseph Campbell
How about you? Has life shown you consequential doors? Have you seen them? Opened them? Walked through?
Or is there another metaphor you would use to describe your life journey?
[…] My 30th birthday marked the beginning of a new phase in my life, the international business phase. But even within that three-decade phase, there were many doors that opened and closed. […]
[…] One general interpretation I read a few times was that floating in air points to a new beginning. That’s possible, although not having recorded my dreams, I can’t say when I had them. I’ve surely experienced plenty of new starts (see my recent post on doors). […]
“Life is what happens while you’re making other plans.” – John Lennon
“If you want to hear God laugh, tell him your plans.” Old Yiddish Saying.
True for me, Lable. Maybe the reason I never was much good in life planning. Now in business, quite another story. 😂
I really like this way of looking at life as a series of opening and closing doors. It’s interesting looking back and identifying my own doors.
Glad that metaphor resonates with you, Ihor. Yes, I can see you’ve passed through diverse doors. 🙂 Thanks for sharing. 💮🙏💮
You had an interesting life which brought you to so many countries and cultures. I am sure many other doors will open and close for you.
Although I don’t enjoy change I just went with the flow of life. I prefer to not use the door metaphor as no door was closed or opened. I prefer to say different chapters/stages in my life.
I never liked the end of any of the chapters (I enjoyed most of the chapters and if possible I would have stopped time).
Not sure if this make sense.
I would say the mood has always been like in the poem ” Le Lac ” by de Lamartine.
The French version is so much better than the translation.
Both versions in the link:
You make good sense, Sidney, and each of us experience our journeys differently. When we say, “this too shall pass,” we typically think only of bad times, but it applies equally to good times. Everything changes all the time; nothing stays the same.
In my case, I too often felt it involved the slamming shut of a door, as the effect was often hard, immediate, and total… no softly gliding on a lake type transition (although I can point to times I was the one who imposed the terms of the door shutting).
How we differ, perhaps, is that I don’t typically hold on to or pine for what I know is over, no trying to slow down inevitable change or to retrieve a time lost (the poem). And neither do I have any regrets for what was.
Live in the present. Indeed,
“Let’s love, then! Love, and feel while feel we can
The moment on its run.
There is no shore of Time, no port of Man.
It flows, and we go on.”
But I don’t mean to imply any one way is better than another. Thanks for sharing. 💮🙏💮