After reading all three exercises, I tried the 3rd one on in my mind. I imagined saying yes to my experiences today, and felt a turning away, like it was difficult. I immediately felt the closedness of my heart/chest and wondered about it. Later on I tried Exercise 2 and again investigated the closed chest feeling. Here's what came to me as I examined it and experimented with softening, opening up my heart/chest:
* It initially feels so much more comfortable to remain closed
* My heart/chest feels closed/protected, and turned away to the left
* I am aware of how I trip from thing to thing during my day - sometimes subtly wanting to get things over with, and almost all of the time not really sinking in
* I'm afraid life will feel way too overwhelming and I feel how necessary it was for me to do this (protection) as a child.
* I want to focus on softening/opening in this area
* When I soften, it paradoxically feels safer, because my body isn't giving me the message that things aren't safe. Perhaps I just won't experience life the way I did as a child? Perhaps the feeling of overwhelmingness just won't come - it's JUST A MEMORY! I realize.
I conclude that these are things one can only learn through doing - learning it conceptually is only the first (bare) step.
Doing it physically is really the thing - then practicing it.
If I'm softened, somehow I feel more self-contained, calmer
The closing/protection is only a habit (albeit a quick, strong one) - it's not the truth now of what I need to do.
I'm going to keep on practicing this.