Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Vulnerability and the One That I Am

My heart hurts for a friend, who opened her heart to another and the other chose to walk away. She gave completely, he took completely, then left. Left, I suspect, because, in his woundedness, he didn't know what to do with this precious gift. He may not have recognized it. My prayer is that she not take this upon herself or vow never to open again.

Vulnerability is difficult, even in the safest circumstance.

In our culture, we layer so many filters on top of our True Selves that we forget who we are, how we are. Much of the burden is the armor of our woundings, also our human need to feel in charge. Visually, I think of Adam and Eve in Paradise, naked, unburdened, content. That is how we are meant to be. Not clothed and hiding in darkness.

I remember in junior high all of the snickering when we watched films from a couple who traversed Africa. We were embarrassed by the nakedness. Even that young. The blatant, unassuming nakedness of Africans going about daily business. Perhaps we yearned for that same freedom.

Wouldn't it be simply energzing to strip ourselves and walk around with nothing to hide? It takes impossible amounts of energy to cloak our True Selves. Behind masks, material things, feelings, emotions, experiences, expectations, failures, mistakes, attitudes, stereotypes, roles and anything else we can latch onto.

Offering/pastel & paint on paper
One of the most courageous people I know has gone to great lengths to be who he really is, who he has always known he is. Assigned the wrong sex at birth, he eventually came to terms with his True Self thanks to a wise therapist and family support. He has taken extreme, but honest, measures to become more of who he is. He is a guiding light of exposing himself, being vulnerable.

That's one of the greatest lessons I desire to each my daughters: Be who you are! Not who I want you to be, who you think I want you to be or who anyone else feels you should be. With two teens, I observe them struggle to work this out. They're not even sure. Why should they be? Neither am I about myself.

Except I know for fact that that's all God really wants of us: to be our Truest Self. Vulnerability is one of the hardest destinations on the spiritual path, but the best introduction is to begin in prayer. In that quiet silence, I can remember who I am and, layer by layer, undress and give my naked self over. When I am really still, I unwrap my heart and offer it to God. That's all she wants from us.

Yet, complex as we humans are, we have to muck it up, draw it out and make it darn near impossible. And so often, when we give in that way to another person, we are wounded. Or, at least, we see it that way. Usually, it has nothing to do with ourselves, our True Selves, but the other, who can not accept or reciprocate.

When my girls were babies, I loved taking a bath with them, then holding them skin to skin, naked to naked. That's exactly how Spirit likes us, naked to naked. Nothing between. 

How amazing is that when we can also do that with another human? And, if we are burned, we have to do it again and again. Otherwise we lose who we truly are.

• When am I most vulnerable?
• How have I experienced acceptance of that?
• When was I wounded as a result?
• Have I let that fester or air out and heal?
• When am I naked to naked with Spirit?

so heavy
the accumulation

of waxy buildup

molten together
in an awful
swampy color

and the stripping

until the
lightness is



the one
I am

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