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Good morning Pilgrim. It’s Wednesday morning…I neglected to visit here yesterday. I see that you were not in this space either. So I am hoping that today you will see this message.
I pray you are well and that this new day will bring with it an awareness of God’s Presence and Love. Just this morning I listened to a much-needed meditation from Tara Brach on self-compassion. In this meditation she takes you through the acronym RAIN: Recognize, Allow, Investigate, Nurture. It was a balm for my weary spirit.
~Om Shanti friend 🙏
I was out walking early the other day and nearly stepped on a snake near some bushland. I just stood still and after what seemed like an eternity, it moved on. It was an Australian eastern brown which is one of the most venomous snakes in the world.
scary looking one too. man I bet your heart was racing.
For me it is knowing I can not control or always fix things for my loved ones. I am vulnerable to fate in that moment and my faith helps me endure what might happen next. Hope will help me get thru the difficult situation.
Somebody very close to me recently asked me for some feedback on our relationship. I worked incredibly hard to remove any blame from my response. I was as honest about myself, my shortcomings, and my needs as I could, and I gave this person credit at every opportunity. I have not yet gotten a response, but I am hopeful that this might be a breakthrough of sorts for us.
While it’s possible that I have shifted difficult situations by being vulnerable. Nothing comes to mind right now. I will say, that being vulnerable with people that I trust, has deepened our relationship every time. It allows the other person some space to express their vulnerability. The hard part is being brave enough or fearless enough or surrendered enough to go first.
Years and years ago, I was running away from home. I was 16…and had my dog with me. I had to get to New York State to ask for help from family members. I lived in NJ…the only way I could go was by train. I begged and I do mean begged the train conductor to let me on with my dog…(the dog was about 40 pounds)…Finally the conductor said OK…My vulnerability was very clear…and I will never forget that man’s kindness…that day was the start of a wonderful new life. My face tells it all…I would have a hard time trying to be something that I was/am not.
One of my favorite movie moments is from The Peaceful Warrior that directly answers this question for me, “Absolute vulnerability is the only true courage”. I am doing my best currently to stay open to the grief from losing my wife of 37 years. One of the things l learned so far is to try and become “heart centered” versus “concept centered” in my relationships with everyone. No easy tasks as many of you know but needed if I want to help myself and others. Long road to walk for sure but vulnerability to “what is” it seems lead the way. The movie is based on a true story. See the below link to the video of the short clip:
The word vulnerability can mean different things to different people. “Showing vulnerability” strikes me as ego driven. True vulnerability is not something that I decide to show. It is something that I’m called to be. It is not manipulative. It just is. It’s another way of saying I choose love. I see my job as willingness. My SOP is open heart/open mind. I began writing a poem on vulnerability several years ago but never finished it. It needs some work but does explain my thoughts on the importance of vulnerability.
We rant and we rave
and we judge and we joke.
We laugh and we cry
We jab and we poke
To feel is scary
Because we have been told
it is weakness
because it requires
Being vulnerable is challenging
feeling our wounds
and loving our fears
So I come to the foot of the cross
on which vulnerability hangs
I hear the words
“Father, forgive them”
“They know not what they do.”
I know my job is willingness
I know the willingness
to be vulnerability
could change his Passion
Let those who have eyes to see
and ears to hear
Be that compassionate vulnerability
to a troubled world.
thank you for your poem– it opened a door for me
this part “ forgive them” “They know not what they do.”
It reminded me too of when I was met with unkindness in reaction to seeing that I was was wearing a leg brace.
This was my mantra.
the last 2 verses– inpsiring
My spiritual advisor says to “open the heart but keep one hand over to shield it.” I take this as: keep heart open in all relationships but meet people where they are and not where we want them to be. Test the relationship to see how deep and full it can become and use that learned wisdom with skillfully means to guide acts and words within the relationship. This strategy is in contrast to living wide open hearted and getting hurt over and over leading to hurt heart and closing it off to many. Sounds straight forward but obviously very difficult to put into practice.
So powerful Carol! Thank you for inspiring me!
Ana Maria, Thank you for the compliment. It is appreciated.
When recently I thanked someone for his precious support he once offered when I really had felt vulnerable and unable to deal with the situation at hand and then was able also to speak about why from my side, due to chronic fixed imprints, some circumstances had made me react inadequately rough in certain moments towards him, realizing only then what I had left in the other and felt very sorry and apologized from my heart for the hurt I had caused, for the first time some communication about difficult and hurtful moments was possible, which I obviously had caused even repeatedly. I don´t know if this will help make things heal again. It felt that a first step has been taken. I am deeply grateful for this moment of really meeting each other and I hope that this might help leading to healthy communication and friendly encounter.
Wonderful first step and admire your courage!
I am currently living in a communal setting while in treatment for breast cancer. So often in the past, I’ve been the strong one people sought out in their times of need. Now, living the grace of acceptance & the vulnerability that entails is having suprising results.
I am amazed & deeply touched by how others are reaching out to, encouraging and supporting me in so many ways. I start each day being deeply grateful.
Some 25 years or so ago I was shutting off the headgate, (a gate along a river or creek that facilitates diversion of water) and a farmer that at times was difficult to deal with asked me what I would do if he cut the lock, opened the headgate and stood guard with a shotgun. I told him if that is what he really wanted to do that was his choice. I then told him he would be greeted by the Sherriff, who was paid to carry a gun. I was inwardly nervous, I remember. Later on that day I went to check if he had followed up on his idea but he had not. I must say I was very relieved.
Showing vulnerability, such as asking for help, only proves that I am human and deserve the same respect as others.
I’m struggling with this question today … my immediate thought went to Ukraine and their people. The war is still ongoing, they are vulnerable and are still in a difficult situation. I’m sure the saying ‘and this too shall pass’ needs to come sooner than later. enough already.
I was never one to allow myself to be vulnerable in front of most people, particularly on the job. But I’m glad I did this past spring. My management role was sucking the life out of me, and I felt like all of my waking hours were spent at the store. I wasn’t getting the support I needed and was not happy despite being told what a good job I was doing. Realizing a particular position that I already knew was open, I told my boss I wanted to step down and take that role. She discouraged me, but I let it all out and told her I’d have to leave if I didn’t have her support. It was hard and felt very uncomfortable, but I knew I had to be 100% honest to maintain my sanity and sense of self. And 6 months later, I’m enjoying the buyer position I’m in.
Good job in both ways Sunnypatti. My job was to manage the budget for a large company. Sometimes people would come to me asking what to say to their boss about a problem with their budget. I used to say, “What is wrong with the truth?”
Yes! The truth is always the best option!
How showing vulnerability impacts a difficult situation depends on the moment, and the situation itself. Today’s Daily Question, as I read it anyway, seems to imply that being vulnerable is a good thing, and that it will help shift things to a better outcome. But that door sometimes swings both ways. There’s a time to be vulnerable and time to be anything but.
I once was asked to check on a faulty heating system in a Quaker meetinghouse in a nearby city. It was four o’clock in the morning when I pulled into the unlit parking lot. As I made my way to the building’s entrance, I was suddenly confronted by two very large and very drunk men who were cutting across the property. One was particularly angry for some reason, who was egging his companion to, as he put it, “Knock his lights out,” meaning me. I thought about running, but they were younger and seemingly stronger than me. Instead, I looked directly at the bigger man’s face, who was the closest to me, then stuck out my arm for a handshake, and said, “Good morning.” A few tense seconds followed, as his buddy continued to urge the bigger man to strike me. But instead of shaking my hand, the bigger man grunted something under his breath, made a fist, then gently fist-bumped the top of my outstretched hand as he, and his smaller friend, brushed by my shoulder as they both walked away. Was I being vulnerable, smart, or foolish in that moment? I really don’t know.
Wow. How scary, and how brave you were. Following the teachings of your faith.
Thanks, Linda, though to be honest I can’t say that I was being mindful of my faith in that moment. I was stunned, a bit sleepy still, and kind of went on auto-pilot. Thank you for sharing your words with me.
Kevin, I agree with the others…you were very brave. That was a very difficult situation…and you my friend (if I may say that?)…seem to be a excellent example of your faith. It is always a pleasure to read your words of wisdom. Thank you.
You chose to respond instead of react in a very vulnerable situation. You chose love and apparently your aggressor new it at some level. Bless you, dear Kevin. I’m sure that drunk man benefited from you action that day.
What you did worked so I am saying you were wise. It could have been so different. Times are getting scarier.
I feel you were practicing your Quaker Faith Kevin.
You were being brave Kevin, brave.
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