The first I did a heart-opener, I burst into tears.

I was at Esalen, which is a spiritual retreat center in Big Sur, and it literally is, hands-down, my most favorite place on earth. Nestled into an expansive property overlooking picturesque cliffs of the Pacific Ocean, against ginormous mountains, Esalen is a little slice of heaven. Adjacent to the inviting lawn area is a well-tended garden and at the far end of the garden is an indescript statue with arms outstretched.

I walked up to the statue staring at the ocean and mimicked the pose. I stood, still and silent and outstretched my arms. And I burst into tears.

I realized that I had spent most of my life shielding myself, keeping myself closed off in self-protection, living in a posture in which I kept myself hunched, insecure and fearful. When I opened myself up, when I literally expanded my chest and opened my heart to the Universe, I felt an opening and expansiveness that I had never before felt. Tears poured down my cheeks with a soft and gentle reminder that now that I opened myself up, I could never fully be closed again.

I felt free. I felt like I was becoming myself.

And so, it began that I started a daily practice of doing a heart-opening.

I literally wake up, place my feet on the floor while still sitting on my bed to ground myself in my intentions, stretch my arms out, open my heart, look up and say aloud what it is that I want to bring into my life. I am open to receiving. I am open to giving, I am open to myself and others.

No longer am I closed off or shielding myself from my true self (I now only shield from bad vibes from others; we always need to shield from bad vibes of others!). And it’s amazing how my life has changed since I made this shift – there’s been so many countable ways.

And each morning when I am in this heart-opening position, I say the words (sometimes even aloud!), “May I be open to all the gifts the universe has to offer – all the experiences, opportunities, and people who come into my life to help put me on the path that I’m supposed to be on. “

I invite you to try this practice. Do it daily. Be intentional in your posture and words. And watch to see how being open will allow exactly what you need to come into your life. Believe you are worthy of receiving it. Believe that you are the only roadblock in your own way, and be grateful that you are now getting out of your own way.

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