Opening Your Heart
In doing the reality TV show, I knew I’d have to honestly be willing to open my heart or Robert, the other suitors and eventually the audience would see right through me. I did not know how that would feel. I had literally forgotten what it felt like to have a wide-open heart. It’s exhilarating. I also knew that I could fall in love, or, at least start falling and to do that in front of others wanting the same outcome as me, is a mind trip. It’s scary, frustrating, confusing and requires a lot of faith that it can feel as it opening one’s heart is the greatest risk we can take, but more true is that not opening one’s heart is the greatest risk we don’t take. I knew that know matter what the outcome was that I would have the opportunity to open up in a way I had never done before, especially since I was convinced that this was my love story.
How did I open my heart? First, I had to realize when I had not had an open heart. I could access compassion and even passion, but I couldn’t access the floodgate of warmth that flows in and out of your chest region, energizing your whole experience. In being intentional about having an open heart, you do not have to wait for Prince Charming (in fact, it’s best if you don’t) because by the time Prince Charming has come around, you might not be as secured in the feeling of love and you may mistake that love feeling with one special person. Love is indiscriminate, if you’re in love, suddenly the world is brighter, employees are kinder, humans are more precious. This happens not because the right person has come around, but because we have believed that having an open heart is the only viable route to long-lasting love, with or without Prince Charming.
In practicing kindness and happiness as a spiritual path, it was my goal to keep my heart open while in the house and on set. In doing so, I got to see where, not just I, but others were experiencing a sense of adoration and brotherly love for each other. Love did not discriminate and was suddenly available between roommates and men who otherwise might have clashed. It was absolutely true for me. I was not someone who normally walked into a room or woke up each morning swelling with light, full heart, but it was a deep intention for me and I was able to get there with the other boys more often than not. In doing this, I knew that one of two things could happen: 1) I would enjoy myself regardless of the romantic outcome, and 2) we all would be at our best for love to find us and for this to be a unique but whole expression of what gay men could be for each other, even if just for one conversation, one Black Tie Affair, one meal hanging in the kitchen.
Having an open heart is jumping out of the plane, opening your parachute, and never believing there is a reason to close your parachute, even if you aren’t going to hit your target, the parachute and your gut will carry you to where you are needing to land.
Three Myths About an Open Heart:
- That you will fall for the wrong person: an open heart makes it impossible to fall for the “wrong person” because an open heart would never find love to be cornering. When we try to direct, control and manipulate love, we are then no longer working with an open heart, an open heart would literally allow things to come in and out of our experiences without us closing in on it. An open heart is natural and the intelligence of the Universe is wiser than our trauma-filled lens of our own experiences. Trust an open heart.
- That you will be hurt because you will not be protected: the popular swan song for the show was “protect your heart,” which is a generic, well-meaning statement but does nothing to actually protect anyone from anything. It implies that opening one’s heart could subject them to anything but love. It assumes that to give love a chance offers you up to the cutting block of rejection and heart break. However, the true heartbreak is never opening up. I don’t mean this in a Disney dreams-can-come-true way, I mean this in the way that to have a closed heart means to hold yourself off and trap yourself in. It means to keep at bay what is loving and powerful and to hide from the love that is inside of you. We do not hurt because we open our hearts, we hurt when we believe we have a sufficient reason to close it.
- That you will lose yourself: having an open heart, in today’s mythology, means we have the potential to fall so directly into someone else that we lose the sense of us. However, having an open heart does not make you fall, it stands you up, it’s the sense of finally letting yourself out. Those who fear they might lose themselves, have not truly understood from where the true self lives and how it’s accessed. Open-heartedness turns on the light in you. In the house, I had an open heart from day one, I knew this because I had experienced more joy than normal and felt lighter than normal. My open heart was not the result of Robert, it was pre-Robert. I was tilling the field of my emotional life so that I could be ready to receive love from others. This is what an open-heart does. With an open-heart, you feel more yourself because your true self is love and your true role is joy, anything other than that is an illusion or an ego-scheme wanting you to believe that you need the ego to manipulate people, places and things to get to happiness and love. But, when there is no resistance to love, it comes. When there is no resistance to joy, it just comes.
You will not lose yourself to an open-heart, on the contrary, you will not find yourself without one.