Early in 2018, as I was envisioning what the year would bring me, and what I will bring the world, the word Apertura fell into my lap. I have fallen in love with it, and now it’s become the name of my business, and of my mission.
The word “apertura” is Latin (as well as Italian and Spanish) for “opening.” It means the space in the center that allows light in. This feels like the essence of my work (and my personal passion as well): to explore our openings and cracks, and to let light shine into and through and from us.
We experience opening when we fall in love, when we discover a new hobby or passion, when we are in a beautiful place, and when we feel deep connection with others or with our surroundings. Our hearts feel expansive; our bodies release; our minds soak up new information. These openings are delicious, transformative, even healing; we relish them.
How do we deepen and expand these life-affirming openings? Community and creativity. We can turn outward and tell our stories, allowing a personal experience to illuminate not just our own life, but also others’ lives. We can also turn inward, tending to the richness of our sensations and insights, then anchoring them through words, images, movement.
What about the other kinds of openings, the ones that feel unwanted, difficult, unexpected, even traumatic? The ones that accompany big life changes, transitions, crises, and losses (such as divorce, death, serious illness or injury, career change, relocation, relationships ending, childbirth, betrayal, and financial problems), and thrust us headlong into the unknown. In the midst of these ordeals, we may say we are cracked open, unraveling, shattered, falling apart.
These openings are ones we often try to avoid, resist, or suppress– perhaps through pretending we’re okay, or by hurrying to “get back to normal,” or by immersing or numbing ourselves with work, alcohol, drugs, sex, social media, video games, etc. Those around us may get really uncomfortable witnessing us struggling to get through difficult times, especially if it means we are changing in some way; they may encourage our unhealthy ways of coping or try to fix or save us.
In my experience, it is precisely during these times of challenge, uncertainty, and transition that we have an opportunity—a necessity even—to shift aspects of our life that may not really be working for us, such as our habitual patterns, our belief systems, or our ways of relating to others. Taking time to slow down, reflect, and integrate big changes (rather than trying to avoid or rush through it), is one of the most healthy, helpful, and healing things we can do.
Again, I believe that community and creativity are the beacons that illuminate pathways to expanding self-love, to more fully knowing who we are, and to restoring ourselves to wholeness. Let us tell our stories among compassionate, curious, affirming listeners. Let us rest and nourish our bodies. Let us dance, meditate, make art, and write in order to make sense of what is happening to us and within us.
This is not easy, as cultural and personal belief systems may tell us that it’s not important or that it’s selfish or indulgent to make time for introspection and creativity. “Hurry up and get over it,” may be the drumbeat you (and those around you) become hypnotized by. It can be a radical act of self-love and courage to prioritize your spiritual, emotional, and physical well-being. It takes commitment, creativity, and community to traverse and transform the dark, shadowy, and scary places that chaos, uncertainty, loss, and intense change bring us to.
For me, Apertura holds all this and very much more. It means, at its core, co-creating a space that magnifies the light in our lives when we most need it. A place and a way to allow, to acknowledge, and to honor the openings and cracks, no matter their origin, in shaping who we are and who we are becoming. We never know where the journey leads or ends, but we can illuminate the step right in front us; let’s do it together.