Just the word itself makes me a bit queasy.
Belly exposed :: Stark naked :: Pants down :: Off guard
Each one of these ... an image of vulnerability.
Yet, if we think deeply about it, there is an implied safety when we are at ease. When with loved Ones, we are not on guard. We are safe. There is no threat to which we must be on guard.
Unclothing, be it pants or otherwise, exposes our skin and areas we consider private. When we allow another into our personal and private space of personal grooming or in an act of intimacy, we make ourselves vulnerable in order to demonstrate or achieve closeness. We do so when there is no threat of danger around.
Belly exposed: I think of giving baby massages. Fond memories of gently massaging my baby’s belly in a clockwise fashion helps to facilitate and ease digestion. On a more whimsical note, images of rolling on the floor, belly laughs and uncontrollable giggling are my visuals.
At any given time, with our belly exposed, we are subject to the whim of The Other. Whomever this Other is, has yet to be decided.
Letting our guard down and becoming vulnerable is a courageous practice we must all consider if we want to coexist in a world that encourages connected, conscious, open-hearted living.
To be vulnerable is to be close to or intimate with; allowing ourselves to be vulnerablec or close to something is an act of courage. It is to know undeniably that we are grounded in our Truth, regardless of what another’s version of reality is.
I know we live in the day and age where school shootings seem to be a norm; where our personal property is confiscated if we attempt to bring anything liquid aboard air travel; where, sadly, metal detectors stand guard at every important public entrance to safe guard our people.
This is precisely the reason we need to bring the idea of vulnerability and safety home to heart and integrate it in our personal practice.
We MUST All Contribute
We have a long way to go from the stark reality of where we are (and where our society is) to the safety of utopia, no matter what your ideals are. If you stop to truly contemplate this, you’ll realize that to get from here to there, it is a collective effort. AND, it all starts with each person making an individual positive decision to begin.
As the world becomes smaller by the advances of technology, so, it seems, do our hearts. We have become fearful of being hurt, of being exposed, of being truly known, and thus vulnerable to attack.
We have become a people on the defensive, whether due to choice or circumstance, or both.
For ourselves, or our children, do we really want this (to live defensively in a combative stance) over connected, conscious, open-hearted living?
I’m guessing that with human nature, there is always a degree of defensiveness as it is part of our evolutionary make up. But surely, as we evolve, grow and mature, there must be an acceptable adjustment - a more evolved way of being.
In how we relate to each other, and our world, we must be present to how we have unconsciously become defensive. This defensiveness is a reflection of how we feel unsafe to be ourselves.
Patterned Behavior to Take Notice
- In what ways are you defensive in your relationships? Think about the myriad ways of how you go on the defense in your relationships:
- When you date, how are you defensive?
- As you relate to your parents, birth family, relative, clan, sorority or friends, how are you defensive?
- Do you feel the need to shield yourself from attack?
- How do we hide our true feelings from others, and more importantly, from ourselves?
To guard against our vulnerability of being “acceptable” to the public, we might apply make up to improve our appearance. We may dress a certain way to look the part. We may even behave differently, adjusting our verbal accent and speech.
It is indeed part of our norm to fit in and go with the flow. We must deem what is appropriate action, or way of being to each circumstance. Adjusting to norms is a very human behavior after all, and considered healthy.
The ability to confirm to norms and to behave appropriately is healthy unless:
... unless we get caught up,
... unless we think that these minor adjustments really improve us,
... unless we believe and buy into the lie that we are not good enough JUST AS WE ARE.
Little nuisances that we practice day in and day out eat away at our self-esteem and our self-worth. Rather than to see ourselves as a miracle of creation and life, we get caught up in thinking about what and how others perceive us.
Rather than living a life of joy, exploration and meaning, we trap ourselves in the prison of our own making. Our ideals of isolation, defensiveness and wall building go beyond our national politics: it has infiltrated our phyche.
This way of thinking and behavior naws away at our ability to see ourselves as the magnificent splendid creatures we are.
It robs us of the hope of being a people of peace, of unity and of rising above AND beyond our circumstance.
Normalizing What We Can’t Seem to Control
Most all of us would surely say, “Well, that’s the way things are.” We may throw up our hands, shrug (or whatever), and go about our lives as though we cannot make a difference.
It does seem overwhelming doesn’t it? That we, little ol’ us, have the ability and power to turn the tide, to counteract the mass norm of wall building on our nations borders, and on our own most sacred, precious hearts.
Peace Begins From Within
Just for a moment, let’s shut out the news. Let’s allow the bad news bears to pass us by. Let our eyes not move toward the tabloids as we pass the racks to pay for our groceries.
Just for a moment, let us become still.
Still to the noise of the outside world
Still to the traffic
Still to the life that swirls around us
Let us become still to vulnerability - to listen in safety, what our hearts are (and higher consciousness is) really saying.
What if we were still to simply watch, to witness the life that we live, the life that happens around us, and the life that happens within us.
On Sacred Ground
What will you hear, dear One?
When was the last time you stopped listening to reply or respond? What would it be like if, instead of listening for how you are going to reply, to simply listen, without judgement (or the conversation in your head) so you can hear?
What would it be like to truly hear what The Other is saying, and to believe them?
In order to be present to another, we must be willing to be present and vulnerable with ourselves.
Be it physical, emotional, spiritual or energetic support, I am a firm believer that you can’t give what you don’t have.
We must be quiet enough to hear what our heart wants over the noise of the outside world, and most certainly, to the voice of our ego.
Trust me, the practice of being quiet to hear your Soul Self is a process. Discerning the various voices in our head is an art and a practice I call The Journey Home.
There are numerous Steps. The Journey Home is a practice to not simply be still, but to be present. In doing so, one awakens to the sacred purpose of being, and may come face to face to our vulnerability, our own fears, and our shadow side.
From the Christian tradition, the journey may be equivalent to Daniel and Fiery Furnace (so we can truly grasp the divine meaning and message meant for us). From a Buddhist perspective, this practice may lead you to your Dharma (your intrinsic nature & work on the world).
Becoming still and vulnerable for the rest of us would simply allow us to live an honest life, true to our hearts calling. It is to stand firm to the integrity of our soul without flinching, apology or excuse.
This awareness provides a pathway to see what our patterned behavior is. It is to identify areas where we have the opportunity to grow as a human being, taking different behaviors, and a soul on a path to recognize itself.
The Journey Home allows us to be alive, alert, awake, enthusiastic about our life so that we are comfortable in our skin.
This deep awareness and congruency in body, mind, and spirit becomes the foundation to live in alignment with our highest ideals and principles.
The 6 Mindful Steps to the Practice of Vulnerability
If we are to feel safe without putting up borders, we must dare to do the seemingly impossible. It is noteworthy that the words “impossible” and “I’m possible” are composed of the same letters, the same number of characters, and in the same order.
The process of becoming vulnerable and to simultaneously feel safe is a transformational process. At first, the practice may feel as though it is against the grain. Over time, you will find its value and worth as an awakened, kind-hearted, gentle way to positively build a future for our children.
Beginning from the inside out, we train ourselves to be the hero in our own story. We come face-to-face with the One we are waiting for: ourself.
To create a controlled environment to practice feeling, being with, being present to, and being one with our own vulnerability, I recommend the following five steps.
These five steps to vulnerability should be practice beginning with 5 to 10 minutes each day, and increasing the time for each step as it feels comfortable for the practitioner.
This practice should be honored at least 21 day intervals to create consistency and momentum fostering deep insight..
Mindful Practice # 1. Create a Space
To create space is to set up the environment for practice. If we were in a restaurant, we would call this ambiance. If we were gardening, we would prepare the soil so that it is fertile for growth.
Set yourself & your environment up for success. To create optimal space for growth through processing, breath. Relax. Allow yourself to touch the sacred within before you start. Light a candle, use essential oils, whatever you need.
Ask for guidance, open your heart.
Mindful Practice # 2. Arrive at Stillness
Being silent and still allows our energy to settle. Physiologically, we may feel grounding as we cease movement. As we allow ourselves to arrive, body, mind and spirit, we are no longer coming to and fro. Rather than a series of transitions from one thing to another, we simply arrive. As we arrive to The Silence we become present to the rhythm of our own being. In stillness we are present to our physiological processes. We not be our breathing, the tingling in her fingers and toes. We come to presence from wherever we were to the current moment.
In allowing ourselves to settle down, we may find that the space we created in step one is amplified and expanded. Our groundedness allows us to expand awareness and consciousness like a ripple effect of when a rock grazes the surface of water.
Mindful Practice # 3. Open Inner Ears
In this expanded space, we begin to listen. Without judgment, commentary, or rebuttal we listen to the many voices that arise within us. Either one by one, or all at once, you might face the fact that the silence is the loudest place in all the world.
In honoring these voices, we become insightful by recognizing what’s is ours, and what is not. We may see these various voices and their births, the stories we’ve told (or told to us) and from where they have come. We might see how we’ve adopted them because we needed them. And in the infinite wisdom of our being, we may also recognize what no longer serves us. As such, we may present to the grief of what must be released.
Mindful Practice # 4. Observe
Watch Objectively. Be a witness to your glorious life. Watch. No words. No judgement. Be present, only to understand. As an observer, practice non-attachment as you witness your own unfolding existence. Do not take sides when the voices in your head start a conversation. Be neutral. Just listen; watch; observe.
In the practice of awakening presence, we may extend gentle compassion and understanding to the various voices, stories, and ways of being within our own soul. Our job is not to make judgment, deeming it right or wrong. Our job is to simply watch, witness what arises and take notes.
Mindful Practice # 5. Identify The Path
In the low hum of a crowded room, we might hear that which resonates deeply with us. The voice that overrides all others and speaks firmly to us reverberates deeply in our soul. The message and path we are to take calls to us.
Christians recognize this as the still small voice, ever gentle, ever true, always loving. Taoist call this “The Way,” With no exact words, I will describe this as the flow of the universe.
Regardless of theology, religion or upbringing, when we become silent and still, open to the inner wisdom that guides us, we invariably come to the choice point of making a decision. What is ours to do is discern the right and perfect path for ourselves at this given point in time.
Mindful Practice # 6. Take Guided Action
After making a choice, we must take action. We take guided action by repeating steps 3, 4, and 5 as needed: to listen, to watch and to discern. We either choose to practice vulnerability so we can feel safe and expand awareness, or we continue to build walls and disconnect. We can choose to create a larger, inclusive existence, or we can create an exclusive "we are better and we do not need them any way" kind of world.
Will we continue to live being fearful of hurt, of exposure, and of truly being known? Shall we continue to live on the defensive, and point the finger to circumstance, or need.
Do what we want for our children and future inheritors of our human race to be the gift of Unity and a world that works for all?
If so, we must recognize that we truly are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are it. We are helped when we help ourselves.
Note to Readers: Vulnerability is a radical practice of epic courage. Check in with yourself. If you are not ready, you are not ready. Remember that your path is a sacred journey and where you are is exactly where you need to be at the moment.🙏🏼💗
We Are It: We Are What’s Possible
Indeed, we are the ones to initiate love, and possibility. Each one of us is the possibility and hope to create a world that is connected, conscious, and open-hearted rather than disjointed, at war with and in alienation of one another.
Each decision leads us down a path of glorious unfolding. As we accept the hero’s journey we are all already on, we become one with our souls intention and we fulfill our purpose in the world.
May we all reach courageously and deeply within to realize that our sense of safety is in direct proportion to our ability to be vulnerable, both with ourselves and with each other.
* * * * * *
Please Raise Awareness and Share The Love ❤️
How do you feel about being vulnerable? When was the last time you let your guard down?
Who do you feel most safe with? What makes you feel safe? How might you use the energy of safety to create a safe space for all?
Are there walls on your heart that you might want to consider removing? Have you called your mother today? 😉☺️
What do you need to feel safe when you are scared?