Open mind, open heart, ‘open sesame!

April is the fourth month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian calendars. It has 30 days and is commonly associated with the season of spring in the northern hemisphere. Since we live in the Midwest, we beckon April, hoping for milder weather and beds full of lush, colorful flowers.

Wikipedia quotes its Latin meaning:

“The Romans gave this month the Latin name Aprilis but the derivation of this name is uncertain. The traditional etymology is from the verb aperire, ‘to open,’ in allusion to its being the season when trees and flowers begin to ‘open,’ which is supported by comparison with the modern Greek use of …anoixis …(opening) for spring.”

I am utilizing the concept of “to open” by correlating it with the magical command “open sesame.” The World Book Dictionary states that the phrase means, “a password at which doors or barriers fly open. It was also a mystical incantation that made the door of the robbers’ cave fly open in ‘The Arabian Nights’ tale of ‘Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves.’” As a noun, the word “sesame” means a free or unrestricted means of admission or access.

In context, “open sesame” connotes that, with the right combination of words, we can unlock the treasures of life within our world. Or, in another way of putting it, our thoughts, imagination and visualizations are the keys that open the great secrets of our own personal universe.

“For where your treasure is, there will your heart will be also…”
—Matthew 6:21

When I learned to practice and teach yoga, I learned that we have seven chakras, or subtle energy centers, within our bodies through which vital life energy flows. The word “chakra” is taken from Sanskrit and is based on Tantric tradition. Within this perception, the heart chakra is located near the heart and at the center of the breastbone or sternum. It represents higher consciousness, compassion and love, and acts as a balancing point for all the other chakras. This chakra also is responsible for how we interact in our relationships with people.

Interestingly enough, the heart chakra is considered to be our fourth chakra, as April is the fourth month. When the heart chakra is open and balanced, we are in acceptance of what life offers us: opportunities, challenges, relationships, different perspectives and changes in ourselves.

“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.” —Joseph Campbell

Many people think they know how to follow their hearts and their bliss, but speaking from experience, it can be a very challenging thing to do. It can also take great courage to do so, since we live in a world where things outside of us strive to delegitimize the real treasures within us. It takes courage, conviction, risk and commitment to locate your inner treasures and learn to enjoy them. As a therapist, coach and consultant, I have all too often seen that our humanness seeks the tangibles: proof first, results later. But in following one’s heart, we have to put our faith and trust in our inner guidance. That is part of the magic formula that opens doors where only walls once stood.

“Belief creates the actual fact.” —William James

Hah! Belief! This is a very hard concept for many of us to grasp, and it is where we bring in the concept of having an “open mind.” Another challenge is to remove mental constructs of limitation — the thought patterns that block any chance of opening ourselves to greater life experiences and change.

“Old, but I’m not that old. Young, but I’m not that bold. And I don’t think the world is sold. I’m just doing what we’re told…”
—“Counting Stars,” One Republic

As human beings, we most often live according to our belief systems. Our preconceptions usually supersede what lies in our hearts. From a young age, we are usually told to do things that most of us end up doing without really questioning. It becomes habitual, learned behavior to us. It also sets us up for fear and doubt that can counteract any vision or dreams we may have for our lives. Dreams become overpowered by the energetic force of “doing what I am told” and that blocks any creative energy moving within us.

Many quantum physicists believe that our thoughts create our reality. Though experts within the field of psychology do not agree on the etiology of “beliefs,” it would be safe to say that beliefs are mental and form within the mind. Having an open mind then would entail finding and taking the measures to do so. Combine this with the dreams and visions found within our hearts and — voilà — the door opens and the magic begins!

Jill E. Greinke, MSW, LCSW, SAC, is a holistic psychotherapist and transformational consultant specializing in transformational counseling and coaching, group coaching, workshops, teleconferences, presentations, speaking engagements and consultations. To get her free report, “Five Steps to Miraculous Living,” visit


This article originally published Natures Pathways Magazine  April 2014


  1. It does seem amazing that when the mind and heart is open that everything else seems to magically open up as well. I love the quote by Campbell. It really does pay to follow your bliss. I think it’s put inside us for a reason; dare we ignore this. No. Listen and follow, for one never knows where it will take you. Thanks for sharing Jill.

  2. JIll,
    Thank you for this insightful blog and loved all the history you shared..

  3. As I read your blog post, another Joseph Campbell quote came to mind – “The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure that you seek.” ~ It reminds me of the “conditioning” that we all receive in our lifetime – that moves us further and further away from our bliss. And as you so beautifully pointed out, “Many people think they know how to follow their hearts and their bliss, but speaking from experience, it can be a very challenging thing to do.” ~ This is because we’ve moved so far from it. Through our “heavy conditioning” – many of us forget what our bliss really is. So we have to be gently led back into it, unearthing what we really feel and connect with – underneath all the rubble of “conditioning.” ~ I say, “Open sesame!” I’m ready to rediscover my bliss again! 🙂

  4. Great post Jill! I love how you connected the Heart Chakra with the 4th month of the year and how it means “to open”.
    You’re so right, following our hearts can be very challenging and requires courage, conviction, risk taking and a great amount of faith and trust in our inner guidance. We learn to be conditioned by so many different things that we tend to put following our hearts on the back burner. Thanks for such an awesome post! 🙂

  5. Such a creative post Jill! I agree – “It takes courage, conviction, risk and commitment to locate your inner treasures and learn to enjoy them.” It is an ongoing process to follow our heart, to stay open to all of the unknowns and learn from our experiences so we can continue to expand and open as divine human beings.


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