21 Day Challenge – Day 20 – Vulnerabilities

sky IMG_2143For the past three weeks I have had the opportunity to witness bravery on a level I have never known. No one has saved a drowning child, run into a burning building to save kittens or lifted a car to rescue a person pinned beneath it.

But many of these women have jumped off cliffs without knowing if a net would appear. They have laid bare their deepest insecurities to be ridiculed or shunned. They have openly loved strangers with words that bathe the soul and tears of compassion.

I have witnessed great vulnerability. And it made everyone stronger.

It is in our ability to be vulnerable that we are able to share our authentic selves. This is where we meet the souls whose vibration is a match for ours. Not our soul mate, but our soul sisters and brothers. There is a recognition, a remembrance, although we may have never actually met.

We are taught our whole lives to be strong, take care of things, nurture others before the self. There is wisdom in those teachings, but they are not complete.

From the time I was in high school I was the one who took care of things. I made decisions and choices when others couldn’t or wouldn’t. I took control of situations that had stagnated, reversed course or took wrong turns.

I shared my weaknesses in my humor, sometimes sarcastic biting humor at another’s expense. I sharpened my edges on other’s weaknesses. I needed to feel superior, in charge, important. Vulnerability was the kiss of death. I could not be caught crying at a movie, at a funeral and definitely not a work.

Over the years I have worked to let go of that particular shell. It was very helpful, it took me through many storms and moved me to the top of more than one ladder and I thank it. It served its purpose.

But as the years go on and I continue to let go of the false sense of control I had I am able to see the beauty in perceived weakness.  It happened in steps.

First I had to witness a strong person “falling apart.” I had to see that even though they cried out of frustration, they did not break. They lost no power.

Then I began to play around with the concept crying in front of other people. First I started talking about it. Admitting it. “I saw that movie. Cried like a baby.” No adverse reaction. “Did you see that commercial? It made me cry!” Still nothing. Could it all be in my head?

I would go to the movies with friends and there would always be a crier – never me. Then one movie, I don’t even remember which one, it happened. I cried. My friend seated next to me just handed me a tissue like it was the most natural thing in the world. Because it is.

This was quite a number of years ago and much has changed. It is when I am at my most vulnerable that I feel freest. There is nothing that can be taken from me because I have let it all go, I have given it all away.

My authentic self can never be hurt or compromised or lost. Only covered by fear and pretension. When I am hurt or scared or feeling neglected, it is not me that is being rejected, it is one of the personalities I wear, one of the masks. As I set it aside I notice all those feelings go with it. I am left with peace and an open heart.

Vulnerability is the lens through which we begin to see our own true nature. My true nature is unconditional love, peace and divinity. So is yours.

That field that Rumi spoke of, “out beyond ideas of rightdoing and wrongdoing?” That is where our true natures recognize each other. See you there.

[Photo: Gentle moonrise as the sun begins its decent.]

 

21 Day Challenge – Day 16 – Catch of the Day

trees 2 IMG_1991This 21 Day Challenge is revealing to me my non-negotiables. Those things that I will not only fit in, but make a priority.

At the beginning of these 21 days I was consumed with my task list, at the expense of almost everything else. It was a good lesson. All the other priorities that previously took precedence over me – work, cleaning, grocery shopping – still got done. I managed to fit them in around the new non-negotiables.

It had to happen that way. I could not have reorganized my priorities with pen and paper, I had to live them. I had to take this concept from my head into my body. There was no other way.

While at the gym today I recognized that this challenge, the yoga and the gym especially, is for my mind and my spirit way more than it is for my body. My body is both the problem and the solution.

I have come to see the body as something like a net. Little things that may be annoying or wonderful pass through the net every day. We may notice them, but we can easily let them go and allow them to flow right through us. The bigger things get caught. The argument with a loved one, an illness in the family, a lost job or a job with which we are completely misaligned. The heavy things stick. We have to acknowledge them and break them down into little pieces that can pass through.

But that doesn’t always happen.

These bigger things are stressors, they pull on the ropes, dragging us down. They web up the net making it more and more difficult for even the little things to pass through, so now a hangnail or burnt toast is a stressor.

Some ice cream or wine will put a nice coat on it, softening it so momentarily it takes on a different shape, tricking us into believing we have freed the stress from the net. But we haven’t.

It is clogged, we are heavy – sometimes literally, sometimes energetically – but it feels the same. We drag, we sit too long, wonder too much at how to fix it or change it. We ignore it, maybe it’s not that bad.

If we’re really lucky, or maybe secretly smart, we take a yoga class. Or we go for a walk. Or we have to run to catch up to someone. And something shifts. We feel it now, the weight of the stress, every single molecule glomming up the net, hanging like seaweed and noodles, stuck like wet bread coated with grease.

We know now we did this. Simultaneously we know we can undo it. There’s another class, another walk and pieces of stress begin to dry up and drop off. We leave a trail of energetic waste behind us on each step we consciously take.

For a moment we consider what exactly all this is. What events or people caused this? Then we know it does not matter. Because we are the common denominator. We caused this. We allowed this. This was all accumulated with our permission.

So now we have choices. We can be the net clear of debris for all situations to pass through without reaction, without holding on, or we can continue to collect stories to prove our point and hold us back.

Because it is the mind that got us into this trouble, it is best to leave the mind out of the solution. Get into the body. Move. As we move deliberately with intention there is a lightness of spirit that returns. The net begins to clear.

More tension falls away. Maybe we cry in our yoga class. We don’t know why, nothing is sad. Stored emotions are the detritus that clings to our energy field bogging it down and as we begin to move, we release. It may happen during a run or during a commercial for coffee. It’s all okay. It’s all necessary. We cannot think our way out of this.

Take it to the body. The body is the tool to relax the mind and energize the spirit. What an amazing combination. Relaxed energy.

It is from here we can begin to see clearly.

[Photo: Can’t see the forest for the trees.]