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OPEN Door Policy

In the 80’s in corporate Toronto, the company I worked for introduced a strategy that would allow the management team to engage more with our staff; we were encouraged to adopt ‘an open door’ policy.  It was believed that by opening the doors to our offices, we were indeed opening up the lines of communication, encouraging people to come in through those doors, to participate in conversation, share ideas, and to feel more connected. For me, this was an easy one… I had staff that reported to me, but no office and no door, and I worked in a cubicle that was open to all, so anyone and everyone could wander in and I welcomed their visit.

Life has not changed much for me, at least, in terms of the door.  I left the corporate world behind a very long time ago, and my home is now my office, but my ‘open door’ policy has never changed.  In fact, my door has at times, not only been open, it’s been off its hinges. I do however, recognize, that there are times when we must keep our door, not only closed, but locked.  We rely on our space to be a ‘safe place to land’ and that safety comes with the ability to shut others out and to find a way to stay within our own walls and our own psyche, so that we can survive, regroup, relax, turn off, or even heal. But for all those other times, when we are feeling strong and safe, and we have the room to let others in, I would encourage you to open the door, and to open it wide.

We have been receiving invited guests, neighbours, travelers, students, loved ones, and even a few strangers into our home and our hearts, for as long as I can remember.  Over the years, we have opened our arms and welcomed many to our table, to lay down their head, and to celebrate with us. And while our visitors have relayed the benefits to us, I would argue that our harvest has been so much greater.

By opening our doors along with our hearts and our minds, we have enjoyed so many wonderful conversations and shared stories and been able to learn and grow from our connections to ‘community’.  These times have helped us widen our perspective and experience new viewpoints and we have learned so much and so ‘different’ by leaning into what others have to say.  Holding time and space with others has heightened our sense of belonging, our trust in what it is to be human and our understanding that we are all in this together, no one is ever really alone, and we are not so very different.  It has increased our awareness of the lives that others lead, of the goodness there is in gathering, and we have been part of the most personal and private of times, loaning shoulders and hammocks as needed.

While I have enjoyed everything about keeping our door open, what has been the best part for me is the love that has floated through our space, has landed in our laps, and has stayed long past the visit.  So while I understand and appreciate what it is to have time alone, to have private space, and to enjoy your solitude, I would encourage you to invite others in, and to remain ‘open’ to the possibility and to know that we are absolutely connected to each and every person, inside and outside of these walls.

open door policy stars imagePhotography credit: Andrew Chambers Photography (andrew.chambers@live.ca)