There is no possibility of truly loving with out that same love being prepared to be vulnerable. There is no true courage until we can walk through our vulnerability.
Beautiful vulnerability – be careful what I write. Releasing me from safety, never knowing, as safety has a harsh dance too, she reminds me to be ever careful, never to take risks or to dare to escape into the fire of adventure. Inviting my vulnerability may seem like a gentle and sweet exploration of my soul and my inner child – yet it rocks my boat and throws caution to the winds of time and illusion – reaching into my stress, one layer after another into that song that once sang a deep gratitude for all that is in my life.
To find now the gratitude for being thrown into the thunderous waves of life, like a small twig cast from a precipice into the torrents of mighty rivers – I draw in my breath.
To wander in and out of lightning struck head games and eat from the tables of natures hurricanes, I am daunted by what is yet to follow. Yet if gratitude persists in the knowledge of vulnerability and safety sits on the shelf and simply observes, then the mystery welcomes me into its storm, into its whirling midst where I can dance in its stillness, letting the stress take care of itself. The eye of the storm takes me further into my own gentle and unfolding garden and the storm passes over the landscapes leaving a trail of words and sentences, poetry and prose for yet another tale of outrageous ridiculousness on the merry journey of life.
Would I remain on that shelf and sit side by side with dear Safety – maybe for a moment – to ask her how she is and is life exciting her enough? Is she ready to risk putting a toe into the storm or a finger tip into the currents and yell that rebel yell, ‘to hell with it all – I want to dance freely’ Risking all of the need to remain with one story of love and of being at home, home with the nest of many and curled into comfortable illusions and dreams of a perfectly nice existence. Breaking loose of any idea of mundanity opens from the cracks in the walls and stains on the carpets, the unfinished jobs left too long that create a stench of ‘her rightful place’
Never no more it sings from the garden wall, time wasted on the endless cycle that goes round and round creating harmonious tremors like forty days of washing up and unswept floors. Emptying out, it is time to let go of that home, that never ending cycle and leap into the boundary-less world of expanding vulnerability letting its waves meet with different shores in a world that will greet it and meet it one wave after the other as fresh and new ideas tumble into the dunes and grow fruit from the expanding consciousness of its receiver.
And Safety holds my hand as she leaps off the shelf, in fear of being left behind.
What is being vulnerable? It is about being able to feel into our own emotional being. To listen inside the body to the stirrings of our hearts. It means paying attention to the vibrations of sadness and grief. To the underlying fears that we would prefer to ignore. It means speaking out even when we are deeply afraid of doing so, daring to allow the possible shame and humiliation that might ensue. Taking a risk to really feel. It means meeting once more with the beast that rocked our boat, that took away our innocence and wild spirit, and without fighting back, standing, facing or leaning into and seducing kindness and gentleness to be our ally and friend.
Some people prefer never to look at the shame they carry. There is a stigma that says ‘it is shameful to be ashamed’. This is confusing for the innocent being who is experiencing that level of shame. Others may feel that to be jealous, envious, angry, regretful or fearful are also shameful to feel too. So they cannot admit to those feelings and prefer to assume they must be about some one else.
Yet to be fully vulnerable, we need to acknowledge all that we feel and be prepared to face what ever unfolds along the way. Pure honesty is called forward.
Having to admit that one is vulnerable takes courage. Interestingly the flip side of vulnerability. Two sides of the same coin. We cannot be one without the other. We need courage to explore our vulnerability and we need to be vulnerable enough to step into true courage.
A man going into battle knows there is a possibility of death. He must face that possibility and have the courage to stand strong in what he believes in. A woman giving birth knows there is likely to be pain and an opening up of her body, she prepares herself to face this. There will be no new baby without it. She can choose not to feel by anaesthetising, but risks not having the full experience of birthing her child, that she may hope for. The baby may be drugged and the strong bond between mother and child may be at risk. So to open ourselves up to experience rather than hide through anaesthetic, drugs, food or alcohol becomes a route to experiencing vulnerability and a way to address many levels of shame, guilt or grief that we might feel.
We can remain in denial, but denial is a trick created by the mind. Sometimes a useful trick that enables us to wait till we are completely ready before we embark on those mighty seas of transmutation. If we are able to swim out into those great waves and we still choose to deny our feelings, then chances are some one else will get the brunt of our stress levels and projections.
If we are brave enough to take courage, swim from those shores and at the same time face our shame, we open up possibilities of incredible creativity. We invite it in, to show us who we really are.
So I am on a journey as I write these words to see and feel into my own vulnerability and the shame that might be buried there.
I’ve allowed so much of my vulnerability to be present, to dance with it and explore its many avenues, not always knowing what it means and what the hidden story is but none the less, I have put myself on the firing line by doing things that I feared.
Often the fear is there because I do not want to feel humiliation and shame. Better to stay small and quiet, not speak out than have to face some of those unbelievably painful issues. The red blushing face, the feelings of being humiliated by others, the gossip that may spew forth. The deadening sensations in the pit of the stomach even the sensation of near vomiting.
Then the hope that no one has noticed this shame, as the face distorts while trying to hide the truth of what is being felt. But it is too late, those feelings begin to seep into the consciousness like a wave that empties itself out of the ocean depths.
We may try to force that inner child to be still, to sit quietly unseen. We know the one, the one who embarrasses us whilst other people tut and quietly look in the other direction, nodding heads of disapproval, knowing the parent just does not have what it takes to discipline its own child; does not know how to prevent the unseemly acts of naughtiness.
So in those moments of feeling shame, I have reached into my pocket and found the totem, that little reminder of home, of something that I love or maybe an animal guardian who instills courage in my heart.
And I have to own up to that vulnerability, to that shame. Forcing it down will not help the situation. I must speak up of my embarrassment. I must name the part of me that feels so deeply. It may not be appropriate to speak of it to others in that moment, but I will need to acknowledge it in myself at the very least.
Imagine that moment for yourself, that time when you spoke out or took a risk to be seen. And then felt criticism, displeasure from some one else. A put down maybe, or some one simply saying you had got it, or done it wrong!
What does this scenario then become for us? For some of us we may need to keep trying to force down the feelings of shame. We may become incredibly angry with ourselves for letting ourselves down, by being stupid and allowing ourselves to take a risk. We may judge the other person or people, making them the problem. We may shrink ourselves away, determined never to speak out or put ourselves in any kind of vulnerable state again.
Next time you feel this discomfort, I suggest asking yourself, what’s beneath this? Rather than dismiss it or make it feel like its about something other than yourself. Simply feel into its energy. Let it begin to move through you. Find an expression of it, let it cry, let it feel its disappointment. Let it wail if it needs to. Dance the staleness through your limbs and offer it up to a dance. Ask the fire to burn a little stronger and release what no longer serves into the atmosphere around you.
It’s too easy to make it about something else. Or worst of all about some other person. I had a teacher once who used to say, take everything personally! Once we make something become about another person, then we take away our own ability to heal, as well as possibly send some rather nasty vibes towards another innocent being. Even if they weren’t so innocent in the first place. We cannot know what is going to trigger another, we can only be true to ourselves, we all have different histories.
from The Circle, The Fire & The Phoenix by Caroline Carey