There is a place in me that is always raw and will always be raw.
My rawness is always craving something to ripen it—some delicate moment that is sweet and soft to be a band-aid. Maybe it is some soothing words or touch—maybe some calming, loving thoughts or bright, sunny sky to massage melt into.
A meditation teacher recently opened a vortex in my mind with the statement: vulnerability means you have something to hide. You want to get to a place where you have nothing to hide. In that place you will find true freedom.
There is a place in all of us that wants to hide—because perhaps it feels ashamed of just feeling vulnerable.
Perhaps it says, “I’m sorry, I just needed your approval to feel okay just feeling not okay.”
In that place we can find our deepest freedom.
In that vulnerability, we can melt and discover we are not alone in that craving, yearning, burning urge to simply be seen, heard, adored by life.
I’ve been vulnerable so many moments upon moments of my life. In those moments, my heart sinks. My stomach flutters. My throat closes. A dark shade gets pulled down in my mind, turning my thoughts into dense clouds. My external world somehow starts to vanish. My internal world begins to run the show.
I’ve been vulnerable so many times, and each seems to have lasted for an eternity. Why? Because I fight it. I fight what I am feeling or I feel ashamed of it. My inner self feels like a cyclone. I don’t like cyclones. So my instinct tells me: run! Find a way out!
I’ve recently said no to that fight or flight response. I’ve recently invited my vulnerability to tea. Our tea parties have been quite delightful, even roller-coaster-ride exciting. I’ve learned a lot about myself from these experiences. Sometimes it’s just me and my journal and a warm beverage. Sometimes I share my vulnerability with a friend, family member, coach or therapist. I am all about support. When I decided to shift my relationship with myself last year, all of my relationships shifted. I found a love for psychotherapy by meeting someone I really connected with. My personal relationships shifted from one-sided interactions (often me listening to a friend share their heart without getting a word in edgewise), to equal give and take exchanges. And those that didn’t make the cut faded away, which opened doors for new and powerful connections to enter.
Being vulnerable means being messy. I am human. I am raw. I am not an enlightened being who has no secrets. I am still wading through my story and finding moments and years that my psyche stored away. Those secrets are still in me. In moments of rawness, I feel their residue. And in that feeling, I share. I write. I talk. I do yoga. I express that sh*t so that I can undress my sh*t. I don’t need any extra layers. I am discovering the freedom in being nude, being raw. I’m showing the bits of cellulite that make up my shame and discomfort and fear and insecurity.
If I show it, maybe you will show it too. Maybe we can all have this party where we undress in the dark and let the lights be turned on. And in that light we can see that we are all the f*cking same. We all have bodies.
We all have skin and brains and hearts and eyes. And we don’t fit into a unified human mold.
Our raw, vulnerable, love-seeking selves are looking for something to connect with; they are looking for a home. Let’s tell them they found one—let’s tell them that this world has space for them. Let’s turn the lights on and dance naked together, cellulite and all and tell them to turn the music up. Turn up the music because we like to dance.
And dancing brings this sh*t up and out. It needs to come out so it can breathe.
Let it breathe. And when you do, have a tea party with it. Will you? For me?
Maybe we can have a group Google Hangouts vulnerability tea party! I’ll be there. Will you?
(And I’m serious!)
Before I go, I want to offer up a mindfulness practice for your raw self tea party.
Take a deep breath and listen. Close your eyes or gaze softly at an object like a candle or something in nature. Get relaxed in your mind. Make sure your body is in a comfortable position. As you relax your gaze, go into your heart space. You can take both palms face down on the upper chest—this is a mudra that opens your heart to your own love.
Taking your hands on your chest, ask yourself this:
What do I need right now?
If it doesn’t come or you still feel stuck, envision yourself as a little child. Whatever age comes to you is just right. Imagine your inner child sitting right next to you. Look your child self in the eyes and ask, with the gentle, nurturing tone of a mother, “What is it that you need right now, little one?”
Stay present. Breathe. Connect with your feelings.
Sometimes this is when emotion bubbles up. If so, express it. Get that tissue out or have a good laugh or even a primal scream!
Sometimes you want to write. Maybe you want to just sit and breathe and get immersed in the experience you are having.
Whatever happens, just go with it. Go and go deep.
And when it feels complete. Thank your raw self. Thank that child if you called it in. Do a ritual to complete the tea party. I love self hugs, just wrapping my arms around my chest and shoulders and looking in the mirror and smiling at my reflection. Do something that feels celebratory.
I also like to light a candle and when I’m complete, blow it out.
Celebrate your self-expression. Honor yourself in some way. You just did what most people spend a lot of their lives avoiding. And by taking your raw self to tea, you are encouraging those around you to do it as well. Why? Because we are all connected. When one person shifts a habit, that literally sends ripples out into the collective unconscious.
One person’s growth expands immensely into the quantum field.
So, let’s keep growing. Together, you and I can change the world!
I end with my favorite prayer:
May all beings be happy, healthy and free from suffering!
Author: Sarah Lamb
Image: Author’s Own
Editors: Renée Picard; Yoli Ramazzina