Openness and A Life of One’s Own


We each come into the world with a natural and unique way of being, endowed with gifts, talents, and abilities.  In Human Design, we refer to this as our definition, shown through the colored centers, gates and channels in the bodygraph. In contrast, we have undefined or open areas – windows through which we see other ways of being and doing in the world.

We can see openness in any of the centers, gates or channels that are white in the bodygraph.  Through these windows, we take in these other ways of being in the world. The definition, the uniqueness, the naturalness in us is consistent, inflexible and relentless, always operating through us whether we are aware of it or not. In addition, we are naturally endowed with an essential knowing that there is goodness and rightness in us, a natural sense of “it’s good to be me.” But then we encounter pressure through the material and relational forces around us.

Through the open windows (especially if we are not seen or supported as children in being ourselves), we get pressured or seduced into taking in these other ways of being, seeing and feeling.  To make matters worse, we begin to absorb, amplify and strive to become these other ways of being. This is what we refer to as conditioning in Human Design. We may begin to live out the openness, striving and amplifying those around us, while the naturalness in us hides or squeezes itself into the spaces where we can afford to be ourselves without being judged, ridiculed or ignored.

Daily life, families, relationships, institutions and the general culture around us give us many opportunities to experience this dilemma. This is the quintessential hero’s journey: to feel the essence, the nature of oneself at odds with the outer world. And the dilemma becomes: Will I remember myself even if the other does not see or validate what I am? This may be what Ra meant in saying, “Love yourself.”  It is as though the most loving act toward oneself is to remember what we are. The alternative is to become the other, to live out what we are not.

Regardless, the true self lives on, no matter how hidden, how unseen, it remains alive and unbroken. It is the essence in us where there is nothing to fix because nothing has ever been wrong. As we see this in ourselves and in others, the true natures unfurl, begin to take up more room, awaken from the dream (or nightmare) of the game of living out the conditioned self – a game which we can sometimes win for a while, but that ultimately never brings us a sense of real fulfillment or freedom.

And when that true nature awakens and unfurls, there is no problem. Things may be challenging or intense but there is no problem, because there is a sense of ownership of one’s life, warts and all, a sense of being the protagonist of one’s own life. There is nothing to fix or heal or rehabilitate in the true self, rather an awakening to the experience of the life that is here for you and only you. This is one way of experiencing a true invitation that feels so precious to me. It is the sense that I am being recognized in this moment, there is an opening for what I am to unfurl and flow and an incredibly touching sense of “this is mine” or “this is for me”.

I have worked with a teacher who would say that when you go in to help or heal or be an ally to someone, “See only perfection.” Human Design actually gives us a way, a technology through which we can do this. See only perfection in the definition, in the design, in the dilemmas, in the openness and also in the adapted/conditioned self.  After all, it is the conditioned self that found a way to survive the pressures and heartbreaks of the world and still managed to get itself to this moment to find an ally for the true self.

When I look at a chart, any chart, I can see the challenges and yet when I really go deep into the experience and contemplation of what someone is, of what the gifts of the definition are, of what the wisdom and potential of the openness is, it is so beautiful. And then yes, the openness is there with all its possibility and wisdom and pressure, but the beauty and the uniqueness of this particular being and the elements that come together in it, is stunning. And then with each question and further contemplation, everything keeps weaving back into the beauty and the perfection of this being.

The journey into Human Design can be a process of awakening.  Not spiritual, conceptual awakening, but real, in the body, alive, waking up to seeing and experiencing life as it is. Because it’s not that you have a reading or you learn about your design and then your life changes. It’s a process of relaxing into the the body, the vehicle, not allowing the conditioned mind to drive and fight with something that is moving the way it’s going to move.  Instead we can let our nature lead, and notice where it takes us.  Even if nothing has changed on the outside, what we see, what we are aware of and awake to, and what we receive from it make the experience entirely different.

Following Strategy and Authority is the basis of everything in Human Design because it offers a way to tether ourselves to what is stable and true in us.  Our openness is not equipped to handle what it takes in. It is what we are, our definition, the color in our bodygraph, the gift of life force as it moves through us in the moment, that can handle whatever we take in. We can then look out the window without falling into a dream and awaken to a life that is truly our own.