I used to date a man who had old world manners to accompany his old world charm. He always held the door for me, both in the world of walking and when we rode in a car. When I complimented him on this, he told a story of his best friend whose boyfriend repeatedly complained that she slammed the car door when she got into his passenger seat. She asked my then boyfriend – “so is he right? Do I slam the door when I ride with you?” My friend smiled and replied “have you ever touched your own door handle around me?” And she realized she hadn’t. When she rode with him, he opened the door, waited patiently until she was settled inside, and then closed it, softly, behind her. No slamming involved.
I love it when a man – or a woman – opens a door for me. There is something about that moment of mindfulness, that attention to detail, that little pause, that feels wonderful. I feel acknowledged, cared for. And I feel as though there is hope for the planet. Okay, that may sounds like a bit of a leap, but seriously. It feels as though there is hope for the planet because one person is pausing to do something kind, something thoughtful, something courteous, for another.
In the choice to hold a door open for someone, we are literally and figuratively putting them first. We are holding back on doing what is convenient for us, which is to simply walk through the door ourselves, and acknowledging that they, this other person, has the same desire to be happy that we do. They also wish to pass through this door. So in a simple act of altruism, we affirm that humanity is common, that we all wish to be happy, and that your needs matter to me as do my own.
And if we could increase little moments of meaning in an exponential way, perhaps every moment would be meaningful. Oh c’mon, its just a door, right? No. It is a moment of connection, a forging of a relationship with another. Often it is a kindness offered to a stranger. It is a chance to give something and a chance to receive. In that doorway we transition from one moment to the next. By opening the door for another, we can transition mindfully, heartfully, and well.
So this week, consider adding this simple ritual of connection to your routine. Whether you are getting into the car with your sweetheart or racing into the bank on your lunch hour, pause at the door. Smile at this other person. And hold the door open for them with a quiet breath of gratitude for being alive, and being part of the web of connection.