Caution: f-bombs below!
I recently wrote about having done enough of you own work to not have too many “hooks” or dramas left to play out with the world.
Amongst some very interesting feedback and comments, there was from a friend suggesting that I am not great at being vulnerable. Since this has been said to me before, I thought I would sit with it and see if it has value.
Many years (and epiphanies) ago, the words “surrender” and “vulnerability” would send shivers down my spine. They were concepts that had so many huge red buttons and locked doors and chains attached that I thought I would never be able to sit comfortably there. After all, what tough modern woman wants to go down the pathway of “surrender” or “vulnerable” where there is only weakness and helplessness and, ugh, even worse, “girly-ness?”
I have done a little bit (okay, a hell of a lot) more introspection since then and am pleased to say, these words no longer give me the horrors. I won’t bore you with the details of my various and lengthy inner journeys, but suffice to say, both surrender (more so) and vulnerability are now key words in my heart.
However…I have still been told—mostly by men—that I am not willing to be vulnerable. I am not sure if anyone else is experiencing this, but it seems like this expectation is something that is being thrown at strong and resilient women. Not showing vulnerability (or being vulnerable) makes me feel like I’m somehow failing “Spiritual Woman 101.”
So, I asked one of my favorite success teachers about this, and I loved his answer. He said, “Vulnerability is a state of being in touch with your authenticity. Feel into your heart and be open and be discerning.” He suggested that vulnerability could be an inner experience, that not everyone is at a level to hold your vulnerability, so you can be discerning in where you share.
What a relief to finally be told that I can feel something inside and yet not have to share it with everyone! What a relief to be told that I am not lacking because I am not willing to engage with someone else’s need for me to rip open my dark corners in front of them. To be supported in my assessment that, in fact, that person is not yet ready to hold my raw self.
And so, here is my real message for today (besides the catchy headline!)—find teachers who truly support you walking your journey, at your pace, in your truth. More than one shaman and guru have told me that I am being resistant or closed off when I question them telling me I have to be a particular way or do a certain thing. I have even been told that my strong instinct against doing a particular process was just me being controlling.
No guru or teacher should ever override your instincts about yourself.
Even if your instinct is fear and avoidance, that is where you are at. They should hold space for you to step forward, but you should never be told that you are lacking or resisting just because their method doesn’t feel right to you. I am not saying the method is, in fact, wrong—just that it is not suiting you at that time. And that should be honored as your current reality.
I have been in a situation where I signed up for a (very expensive and long) meditation course and then found myself completely at odds with the directions and demands of the teacher. I am sure she found me very resistant and difficult to deal with! I found her rigid and unwilling to acknowledge that my process was sometimes different from her script. I am pretty sure I left the course early. The funny thing is that a few years later, I found a teacher doing a similar mediation process and absolutely loved the work, dived in over and over and credit that method with some of my biggest growth!
Here was the difference…the second teacher allowed me to journey within my authenticity. I was encouraged to follow what felt right for me. Wherever my meditation journey went was valid, instead of having to follow the script and the set processing questions.
And so I say, fuck vulnerability. Fuck surrender. Fuck letting go.
Fuck the expectation to be happy or deep or connected or any of those other so-called “spiritual” things.
Be authentic. Be what feels right for you right now. This may just be vulnerable or happy or connected, or it might not be. Your intuition might be telling you to not connect with a particular person, no matter how much “spiritual” jargon they use and how lovely their white fisherman’s pants are.
Follow your heart. Do what feels true for you in any given moment.
Authenticity demands no script.
Author: Tui Anderson
Image: Mallory Johndrow/Unsplash
Editors: Renée Picard; Yoli Ramazzina