Are You Too Vulnerable? [episode 42]
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Welcome to another Unleash Your Power Session!
So, let’s explore the question “Are you vulnerable to success?” And while my question to you is perplexing, I want very much for you to consider the role that vulnerability has played in your life.
About ten years ago, I had the chance to do just that. I had just left a very unhealthy marriage. I left my job, my home and my beautiful garden sanctuary. But above all, I left behind my identity as a wife and caregiver. Aside from my most meaningful role as a mother, the rest of my life was stripped away in a matter of days. The end of that decade-long relationship was both dramatic and traumatic to say the least. That was a time of annealing; my life in the raw and my painful realities completely naked for all to see.
The annealing process is one by which glass and metal are exposed to intense heat and gradually cooled in order to free the material from internal stress. This is a very necessary process that produces a stronger and more resilient product able to endure the inevitable pressure of external forces.
I invite you to think about how the profound challenges of your life have delivered you unto this same process by which you have been fortified and prepared for what awaits you. For what awaits you is greater learning, and a bigger, broader, and more impactful life. That my friend, is but one perspective on the myriad definitions of success.
But in order for you to grasp that success with both hands and really own it fully, it’s imperative that you be able to make the following critical distinction. That’s the distinction between being vulnerable and being open. And it wasn’t until I finally had the courage to venture out on my own that I ever understood the difference between the two. In fact, I hadn’t even known that is was possible to separate vulnerability from openness.
Striking out on my own for the first time in my life meant leaving behind who I thought I knew myself to be. With those definitions suddenly gone, my life in all its bare glory, was totally available to the loving support of many powerful women who entered into the void of my life almost immediately. I consider these women to be earthbound goddesses; divinely appointed as my guides and sacred sisters. And it’s my deepest conviction that their presence in my life was the result of my willingness to step courageously toward the dark emptiness.
One woman in particular proved to be of great significance in my healing. She was and is both a trusted ally and nurturing mentor to me. It was she who brought me to the awareness that the deep suffering I had endured could be attributed to the ways in which I made myself consistently vulnerable to others.
The word ‘vulnerable’ originates from an ancient Latin word meaning ‘to wound’. In my case, my woundedness came about through my own tacit consent. In other words, I had exposed myself to unnecessary pain through seeking the approval of others. Most of my life, I had been driven to serve, to please and to accommodate the needs of others even when that meant compromising my self. I did it so often for so long that eventually I did it without even knowing it. That pattern had been my unconscious formula for getting the love I so desperately wanted. I held on to that way of being regardless of how much suffering it involved. And I did that because I never knew how to be my own source of acknowledgment or appreciation.
If you live by the false assumption that the love you want exists beyond your control then you’ll naturally feel out of control. Giving away the supreme power to love and revere your self in all your flawed humanness constitutes a commitment to vulnerability.
To be vulnerable is to interpret the actions of others as though they reflect upon your own value. It means assigning meaning to what happens out there and forfeiting your responsibility to provide yourself with what is absolutely necessary to your forward progress and success.
By stark contrast, you may knowingly set vulnerability aside in favor of openness. To being OPEN is to be uncovered, evident, and available. Are those not the very same qualities you seek from success? By remaining open, what you desire from life also becomes uncovered, evident, and available. What I’m suggesting to you is that if who you are is hidden, then what you desire is equally concealed.
Being open is like acting as a doorway. When you are a doorway, the affects of what others say and do are allowed to pass through you and beyond. It means that you repeatedly choose to provide your self with acceptance and encouragement in spite of all the circumstances and conditions that exist in your life. For when you make that choice you enter into the domain of unconditional love. That is a place of healing and wholeness. That is the destination we call heaven.
And now I’d like to invite you within my own private domain by sharing a very personal piece of poetry I wrote in deepest gratitude to the friend and healer mentioned earlier in this episode. This is for Dori:
I know a place where wholeness lives; where the fullness of autumn meets a thousand gentle happenings of spring. And in every moment between your becoming and unbecoming, sweet life and the possibility there dwell.
I know the one who can take you there, on a winged invitation to the unmet self. Hers is the touch that illumines the ineffable and unseen. She is the painter and creator, gently weaving the formless into being. She holds and heals as only the fruit, full and ripe does. She is both giver and gift.
Hers are the hands of friend, mother, ally and sister; raising the summons to alchemy, to heart and light. She gathers a harvest of blazing fire and funeral pyre, bidding you “set free then embrace” in quiet refrain.
She gives ending and beginning, dimension and meaning to the infinite, perfect NOW. Her gift answers softly the call to bring us sweetly and tenderly home.
Here’s my seven-day challenge for you:
Over the next few days, pay attention to those situations in which you notice yourself to be at the affect of others. Use what you now know to identify aspects of your life that currently fall within the definition of vulnerability and then apply your creative intelligence to knowingly shift your self into the position of an open door. Notice your reactions and attachments and also your unyielding power of unconditional love and how that love may transform every single part of your life.
Thank YOU for being a valued part of the Express Success community.
p.s. Have you claimed your free copy of my new book yet?