It has been a week of introspection and integration of a fantastic workshop last weekend with Kate Potter in Sherwood Park. A minor breakdown would also be accurate. I may be writing more about it later. On Victoria Day, I spent the day hooping with Lori in the park with new and old friends and whoever wanted to join in and spin a hoop under the glorious sun. I was hooping with a boy, let’s call him P, because I didn’t find out his name and I don’t know how to contact him to ask if it’s okay to share it. He was hooping several hoops at once, like 4 of them around his body. So I tried too and was losing hoops at a rapid rate to gravity. The lessons learned during this week of integration can be summarized by what the young boy, P, said to me as he saw me struggle. He says,
“Keep going whatever you do. Even if it feels weird, keep going.“
This small thing came to mind this morning as I finished my yoga practice. I am so grateful for my yoga practice. I had to make myself step onto the mat and get into my body. It felt so right to embody strength, beauty and grace and fire to quiet and pacify the whirling mind. This week, I engaged with vulnerability of starting a new friendship and the deepening of another and speaking my truth. At times it definitely felt weird – actually uncomfortable, embarrassing, fearful, certain, uncertain – but as I kept going I also felt joyful, connected, inspired, validated, seen and heard. And waves of weird would follow elation and vice versa. There were a lot of voluminous sometimes awkward, sometimes insightful emails sent to someone trusted who knew what to do with them. Which was listen with a compassionate ear, respond with empathy and at times highlight the good parts that surfaced and tell me not to give up. In the end I came to resolution to claim my own worthiness of love and connection with all my weird insecurities, just as I am.
To stay with all the weirdness that comes up with vulnerability is so worth it. I completely identify with Brene Brown’s stories of her own journey from avoiding vulnerability to learning to lean into it and being a champion of the power of vulnerability. I just started reading her book. I have found her storytelling about shame and vulnerability to be a touchstone to my own journey. I was convinced in my head that what she was saying sounded true. But this week, I was there engaging with vulnerability like I never have before. And tethered by the compassionate regard of two friends, I turned and looked at my own niggling doubts and fears and voice of shame and they lost some of their power to stop me. I know now that what she is talking about is true in my heart and gut as well. I thank my yoga teachers, especially those like Kate and many others, who teach from a place of practicing yoga as a spiritual practice with a physical component. I have felt so grateful this week for all those who practice with me. Through yoga, I have gained enough inner strength to start to be with vulnerability with courage and equanimity and tolerate all the messyness that comes up with all the gifts, instead of trying to operate in control, predict and perfect mode or avoidance.
“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, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead
Favourite Brene Brown videos about vulnerability and shame:
- The first video that went viral, 2010 TEDx Houston – The power of vulnerability, including the story of her “
- What we lose when we avoid vulnerability, 2010 – TEDx KC: The price of invulnerability
- How she found the “man in the arena” quote – Why your critics aren’t the ones who count
- The story of her vulnerability hangover and others, 2012 – Listening to Shame