“Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.” ~ Brené Brown
Though some may shrink back at the thought of laying bare for the world to see, for the past couple of years, I have cautiously chased vulnerability. The ability to know myself and walk proud with my intentions, beliefs, and character has been the goal. The food, the emotions, the weight, the fear, the imbalance of all of the above are significant and also superfluous to the core of the hitch. I believe that, no matter what the issue at hand is, whatever the thing is that needs to be healed, what lacks is the source’s inability to open. Any mechanism, maladaptive or not, is built to protect: the precise opposite to vulnerability.
In my work to accept, I have had to stop working. Allowing things to lay as they may has been the most difficult job of all. It has meant trusting the process in every form, trusting the body, trusting the mind, trusting time, trusting others, trusting the world. Vulnerability has equaled surrender. For this very reason, so many struggle with the concept. Control is a largely overused term when outlining eating disorders, across the board. It is not the need for control that typically charges those struggling, but it is in the form of taking back the control which makes recovering so challenging, for those of us who struggle with food and those who suffer in any other area.
We, as humans, look towards patterns. When a thing we do is so ingrained and we wish to change, we look for a replacement. However, vulnerability does not give the same fix. When something is driving us and we want to take back the wheel, it feels counter intuitive to throw up our hands to the universe and trust. It is the exact place where we need answers that we must believe there are none. The fix does not exist.
Trusting has been arduous, giving up to a me I didn’t know came after countless attempts at trying to manifest one that couldn’t subsist. It meant trying it my way and realizing that didn’t work, and then still trying it again and again and again. It meant falling hard…on my face…more than once. It meant picking myself up, throwing a few punches, missing, and then, finally, putting my hands down and realizing I didn’t need to defend. It was exhausting and it had to be in order to redefine giving in as different than giving up. It was worth it.
In trusting, I have learned that there is more fear in the unknown the more it is left unknown. I have found that showing up as I am is more welcomed than any other mask I could wear. I have discovered that every power is held within myself, no energy exists without my mind allowing it to be so. I have recognized that openness is a life-long commitment as I continue to change and welcome the evolution. I have uncovered the truth behind, “it is better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all,” and I have hurt all the same. I have unfolded all of these things and still chosen to give the world and my people in it power. I have been happy with some results and disappointed with others. But, I wouldn’t alter any of them. I have become vulnerable.
Last week, I took an acro-yoga class in Venice with a couple of my friends at the Love Dome. Acro-yoga is a partner yoga that incorporates acrobatics, yoga, and therapeutic massage with one individual on the ground as a base and another balancing on their feet as a flyer. The integration of communication, learning, and, of course, trust between the two makes the experience much different than an individual practice. Instead of solely strengthening the relationship with oneself, it allows those practicing to understand their movement, that of another’s, and also the movement of the unit, as a whole. As I allowed myself to be held by another, I gave space for the imperfections and the chance to fall or rise, not only based on my own body, but on the actions of another’s. Subsequently, as I carried my partner, I let in the power of knowing I had been given that person’s self to care for without resistance. I was important and occurring in the now, free of expectations. I had purpose and was very much there to witness with thanks to vulnerability. Plus, we got unbelievable home-made ice cream after. Win, win.