Ep #8: Open Your Hand

Unlock Your Life with Lori A. Harris | Open Your Hand

A few years ago, I was going through a difficult time. I was reluctant to ask for help and was looking to other people to do what I wanted them to do in order to feel better. It was frustrating. I would look at my hand and notice it was clenched in a fist, and to remind myself not to be so stressed, I would make a conscious effort to open my hand.

The same can be said when it comes to making a change in your life. It is important to remain open to different ways of seeing and approaching things and therefore opening your hand to releasing attachments to a particular way of thinking.

If you have been doing something the same way for years and getting the same results that you are not happy with, opening your hand can change everything. So join me this week as I explore what it means to open your hand and how doing so can release attachment to ways of thinking that you are stuck in. I’m showing you how to accept a circumstance for what it is and move towards making a major change in your life.

To celebrate the launch of this show, I am giving away a soft, cushy Unlock Your Life hoody to 5 lucky listeners who follow, rate, and review the show. Click here to learn more about the contest and how to enter – I’ll be announcing the winner on an upcoming episode!

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • How to release what is no longer working for you.
  • The importance of being open to another way of seeing things.
  • How to step into a more expansive worldview.
  • Why you should ask for what you want in life.
  • How to make a major change in your life.
  • Why being attached to a certain idea or way of thinking isn’t serving you.


Listen to the Full Episode:

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Full Episode Transcript:

You’re listening to episode eight of the Unlock Your Life podcast. On this episode, we’re talking about opening your hand. Let’s take a look at attachment. So stay tuned.

Welcome to the Unlock Your Life podcast, a podcast for highly successful visionary women who want more out of life. If you feel that ache of unfulfillment in your soul, you’re in the right place sis. Join life mastery consultant Lori A. Harris as she teaches you how to stop living for others and finally put yourself first. Let’s dive into today’s show.

Hey there. Hey. What’s been going on? So for me, I’ve been reminded of the concept of if there’s something you want in life, ask. Just ask. I was driving down the freeway the other day and my car that’s fairly new to me sounded an alarm. It went, “Ah! Stop the car! Add coolant. Stop the car! Add coolant.” So I did. I went and parked the car and got into another vehicle and continued my ride.

The asking part comes in when I called the dealership and told them what was up. They said, “Oh, it’s not a big deal. Just take it by an AutoZone or something.” I have a friendly neighborhood mechanic. So I called him and said, “Hey, I have a car. It’s new to me, and it recently sounded an alarm. It says it needs new coolant. Can I come back?” He said sure. Will it take a long time? “Absolutely not. Come on by. I’ll be happy to help.”

So I drove up. Eli popped the trunk, looked in, said, “Oh yeah. You don’t have any coolant.” He topped us off, and I was back on the road. I said so what do I owe you? He said, “Oh, it’s no problem.” I love that. So in less than 30 minutes, my needs were met only because I asked. Which doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, but there’s a part of me that’s often very reluctant to ask for help. I can do it myself. I would traipse stuff to AutoZone or Pep Boys and try to do it myself. It would have been an exercise.

Could I have done it myself? Absolutely. Did I need to? No. So I was glad that I took that lesson, and I was back home ready to continue with my coaching business within less than 30 minutes. It was a beautiful, beautiful thing.  So I remind you. If there’s something you need, just ask. There’s probably someone willing to help.

So thinking about help, a few years ago I was going through a very difficult time. As I’ve told you, there’s a part of me that’s reluctant to ask for help. This occasion was no different. It was a hard time for me. I was frustrated. I wanted my conditions to change. I kept looking to others, to outsiders, to other people to do what I wanted them to do in order for me to feel better. So I was managing quite a bit of frustration. In order to remind myself not to be so stressed, I used to as I was driving—a place where I do a lot of my thinking—I would sometimes just look at my hand and notice that it was in a fist. I would make a conscious effort to open my hand.

There is an ancient Chinese story, and it’s brought to us Mark Nepo in his daily meditation book called The Book of Awakening which is what I use frequently for my morning practice. At page 80, he says there’s an ancient Chinese story that makes a very clear point. It stems from the way that traps are set for monkeys. A coconut is hollowed out through an opening that is cut the size of a monkey’s open hand. Rice is then placed inside the carved out fruit which is left in the path of monkeys.

Sooner or later a hungry monkey will smell the rice and reach its hand in. Once fisting the rice, it’s hand can no longer fit back out the opening. The monkeys that were caught were those who refused to let go of the rice. So as long as a monkey maintained its grip on the rice, it was a prisoner of its own making. The trap worked only because the monkey’s hunger was the master of his reach.  The lesson for us is profound. We must always ask ourselves, “What is the rice that is keeping us from opening our grip and letting go?”

I love that story, and I love using it in my coaching programs particularly with groups. Oftentimes when you’re working with a group and you share something like this open hand lesson, I will notice that each person within the group will get something different from the teaching.

The beauty of being in a group coaching program at least working with me is it’s like a pyramid. You have the foundation of a curriculum. That’s the basis of this pyramid. On one side, you have this vision that the client has created. On the other side, the other leg of the pyramid, is the support of your coach and the other members of your group coaching program, your mastermind sisters, your partners in believing, your mastermind sibs. In the center of all of this is you. You are the most important thing. You are the very best thing as Tori Morrison said in her book Beloved. You are the very best thing.

So we go about the business of learning and supporting one another. What I love about opening your hand is that this story teaches us that there’s more than one way to approach a circumstance, situation, or condition. When you hear a story like that, you’re going to get the message that is meant for you in that particular instance. What could you do if you opened your hand? What assistance might be available to you? What could you think about in a different way?

Sometimes our lives get stuck in the mire of our conditions. Sometimes we find ourselves a little bit frustrated because we get attached to an idea or attached to a method of doing something or attached to a way of thinking. Sometimes when we’re in discussions with the people that we care about, we become attached to feeling like we are right, and we want to make sure that the other person knows that they are wrong.

When we’re operating in the area of our relationships, it’s important to remember that as we discuss things with the people that we care about, there’s always more than one way to see things. The way that we’re seeing it doesn’t mean that it’s the right way or it’s the only way. It’s merely one way to look at a situation or a problem. It’s on us to enhance our relationships to remember to be open to maybe that’s not true. Maybe it’s not correct. Maybe I have some flaws in my thinking.

So when we’re in that situation if we can remember to come from love. If we can open our hand and not be attached to a particular way of thinking and thereby, we release ourselves from the attachment and we release ourselves from the trap.

So what do we do in those situations? Well, it’s beautiful if we can remember to come from love. To look across the room, look at the phone that we’re holding, consider in this exchange of information and ideas that this is someone that I care about. That I love. Perhaps there is another way to look at it.

I once had a client, and she was kind of my special sacred client who helped me to grow quite a bit. Because she came to the teaching, came to the coaching with a certain idea of how things were going to work. So I would share something with her, share an idea, a concept, a teaching. She might say, “Oh, I know that already.” The truth was she came to me for coaching because her life wasn’t really coming together the way that she wanted it to. So she would say, “Oh, I know that already.” Or she would say, “This is just the way that I am. I’ve always been this way.” Rather than considering the teaching from the point of view of how might I use this?

The truth is wherever you go, there you are. So you can go from coach to coach or from therapist to therapist, but until you’re willing to release certain ways of thinking and just be willing to consider, you limit yourself and you limit the area of possibility. So the universe works the way that it works. There are laws. There are regulations. We can’t fight the law of electricity. We can’t fight the law of gravity. In fact we can’t fight the ways of our personal exchange of energy with the universe. It works how it works. It’s upon us to open our hands and to release those things that are no longer working for us and go towards something new and different.

Now sometimes you will feel challenged when called upon to take on a new concept, a new way of thinking, a new approach to doing or living. In so doing, you will feel almost like you’re dying because you’re stepping outside of your comfort zone. In point of fact, a part of you is dying. The part of you that wants to stay small. The part of you that wants to stay attached to a particular way of thinking. The part of you that wants to close off your heart and not make yourself available to love or to friendship or to connection.

So you can argue with the way things work or you can get in the flow and by like way. Be part of accepting any circumstance, situation, or condition. That doesn’t mean you can’t move towards making major changes in the world, but you first have to identify what it is. It is what it is. So you look at that situation, circumstance, or condition and accept it for what it is. Then you can look at well what am I telling myself about the situation? What am I causing myself to believe? From those beliefs and thoughts, what actions have I taken or am I refusing to take? Because that will be your results.

So open your hand. If you’ve been doing something for umpteen years the same way and getting the same results, results that are not pleasing to you, results that you don’t like, give that up. Get in the flow. Open your hand and watch what happens. Now, that’s one way to look at opening your hand when we think about having an attachment to a particular way of thinking or being when we’re in relationships.

Another way to receive the message of open your hand from this teaching story is what about considering being attached to a particular identity? Perhaps it’s your career, your job, or your identity in relationship. Releasing that attachment to that identity and considering a more expansive view of what you are and what your life might out picture and represent.

So is there a part of you that knows that there’s more growth available to you, but you’re so attached to this particular job or a position or a title? You won’t release and just consider the thing that’s bubbling up inside of you that’s knocking on your heart, your heart strings of desire indicating I think there’s more for me. I think there’s more for me to do.  So perhaps you open your hand and release your attachment to an idea about yourself and identity.

A third way to look at the open your hand analogy or teaching story is to consider are you attached to a mechanism for getting stuff done in your life? Perhaps you’re working towards a goal, or a dream and it hasn’t been coming together for you. Rather than stopping, reflecting, coming back to yourself and asking questions about what else could I do, you’re so attached to this particular mechanism that no other mechanism can be revealed to you. You can’t hear good ideas. You can’t hear good offers. You can’t get any assistance because you are attached to this is the way it’s all going to come together for me.

So is there a place in you that is willing to open your hand and receive? Receive new ideas, receive unexpected assistance. Is there a place for you to be open to another way of seeing things? Another way of looking at things? What about it? Open your hand.

So we’ve considered opening our hand from this Chinese teaching story. We know that when we open our hand, we can release our attachment to mechanisms and ways of thinking. We can release our attachment to a method of behaving. We can release our attachment to I must do it myself. I have to do it all by myself. I’ve got this.

Finally we can release our attachment to an identity and be willing to step into a bigger more expansive world view of ourself. All of that’s going to require us to open our hand and become available to a new way of being and a new way of thinking. Then attaching it to a new action step. That’s how we get things done. We have a dream, and we take an action.

Well, you’ve done it again. We’ve reached the end of another Unlock Your Life podcast. I’m so happy to have you here. We’re still celebrating the launch of this show. I still have soft, cushy Unlock Your Life hoodies, and I want to share them with five lucky listeners. So there’s five hoodies for five listeners who rate, follow, and review the show. I’m looking for your best thoughts and insights on how I can make the show even better. I’d love to hear from you with your five star review.

So visit loriaharris.com/podcastlaunch to learn more about the contest and how you can enter. I’ll be announcing the winners really soon in a couple weeks. So get in while you can still fit in. Thanks for listening to this episode of the Unlock Your Life podcast. Remember, it’s your life. Make it a great one.

Thanks for listening to this episode of the Unlock Your Life podcast. If you want more information on how you can transform your life and do it quickly, visit loriaharris.com. See it on the next episode of the Unlock Your Life podcast.

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