Vulnerability is My Superpower
Vulnerability is My Superpower
“Open your hands, if you want to be held” ~Rumi
Vulnerability is a very real and human presence in one’s life that is often not given the respect that it deserves. I have written about this often for it resonates with me deeply. I simply love how author, Brene Brown speaks of this phrase.
Do you recognize vulnerability in your life?
How do you experience vulnerability?
In my work I am constantly called to access my most vulnerable side. I in turn challenge those around me to do the same. I admit I am not always successful be it myself sharing as deeply as I can or instilling the confidence and security for others around me to do so. This is humanness at its best.
I found it can truly depend on the energy with another person given the moment. If the surroundings do not mirror the confidence and peace needed, it can be difficult to access the courage to share in vulnerability.
We all find ourselves vulnerable at one point or another in life. We all walk through our own definitions of trauma. And that is ok. It is better than ok, it is heroic.
When we are vulnerable, we are truly living. I need to remind myself of that truth more than I do. We access our brave regularly, but I am going to bet not many of us recognize it or can name it in that same moment of experience.
If I were to dwell in the silence of fear or trauma, I would not be here. Do I doubt the process at times? Hell yes! I do not have enough fingers on which to count the times where I have put myself out there to then question my sanity in doing so. I can even tell you about the many times where I ended up wounded and feeling more desolate. Though I would not take either back or apologize for walking through that specific moment or the vulnerability in my trauma.
When I take leaps in sharing of myself and my journey, I am certain it is for another needing to hear it, needing the support and needing the important reminder to keep going.
I had a recent quite raw and emotional unexpected time when my vulnerability was screaming as I found myself drowning in uncertainty and past trauma. Trauma can be defined differently for each of us. It tends to appear at different moments in one’s life with more reason than we are able to understand. We must not hold or carry shame in identifying it, rather, humility in walking the road to understanding it.
I have found that vulnerability and trauma go hand in hand. When we are able to focus the trauma by placing a name, story, or emotion on to it, it has less power over us allowing the lesson being offered to come forward. When we embrace the vulnerability without shame, it helps us to walk through it with more self-awareness and ease. When this awareness envelopes us, healing begins.
The trauma that sits within anyone is often their unique personal story that is waking within their soul. This is vulnerability at its core. The release happens when the balance in one’s journey aligns as we explore how the trauma has molded who we are today. It is not always easy to define, but when we take the pause, it breathes within our bodies and tells us of that time when trials lifted us up, rather than crushed us.
This humility is what holds us all together collectively. When we speak our stories with each other, we inadvertently could be saving someone else from their shame, darkness, or struggle. Consider this when you are wanting to sit in the silence or fear.
Some days we wear our trauma and our story loudly. We do not always mean to, but there are just moments we simply do not know how to hold it in our hands. It overflows needing us to ask for help to carry it. I know there are moments I find myself too tired after years to hold it any longer. Those are the moments of frustration when I know too much to be ignorant to the challenging work in walking through it. Heroism. I struggle to find my courage most at those moments as do we all. This is when we are most vulnerable.
Though the moments of gratitude are more, the moments of gratitude are stronger, the moments of gratitude are what keep us going knowing there is a good to each word we put voice to and step into as we continue to walk. We must remind ourselves that the gratitude will come when we are in the middle of pain and the gratitude will carry us through to other side.
Can you trust this process?
I continue to write about my journey often over the years, it is what keeps me grounded. I believe in owning our truth. I believe there is always someone who is locked away in their personal shame, vulnerability and fear needing to hear others’ stories to find the light.
When you hide the scars, when you push down your woundedness it only allows you to create more trauma on top of the trauma you already have experienced. When you hide you are not honoring the courage it took to survive. You are not honoring the story that made you who you are today.
I am not afraid anymore to talk about this journey. I learned when I talk about it, it releases the power I once thought it had over me. I learned when I talk about it, I continue to heal. And it allows me to embrace healing as a lifelong journey. This thinking is what sets us free.
I used to think that I could be ‘healed’ completely and move on never to look back. I believe that is what got me into my struggles and battles within myself that would have no end until I let go. That is why in this moment I believe we must remind ourselves as I am doing here of our vulnerability, courage, and humanness.
We need to stop thinking about ‘me’ or ‘I’ and know there is a greater meaning guiding ‘us.’ People need to know they are not alone in the steps they walk. We are walking side by side. We are all a work in progress.
What will your brave look like today?
3 Minute Retreat - Perspective
How do you first view a situation when it first presents itself to you?
Do you react immediately without pause?
Do you fail to see the beauty, the positive or the gift in the situation that is in front of you within the moment at hand?
It is so easy to get caught up in situations that we can't physically change. It is stubbornness at its best. But think about it. You are being given this situation. You can be stubborn and let it get the best of you for it isn't what you had wanted, or you can choose to look at it in a different light.
You can come at it with negativity, or you can choose to look at it from every angle that it presents and find the one that works to your benefit.
When we take the time to pause and look at a situation in a different light, a different perspective, one may just be receiving more than they ever thought possible from that gift. We may find that we are open to change a narrative or perspective and we eventually fall into what is meant to be for us in that moment.
What perspective will you choose?
Blog Thoughts: Living Wildly
How often do we look at others thinking they are living a life we wish we could live? We want to be bold, wild and free! Well, what is real about that statement is that we can do all of those things in smaller simpler ways. We can take risks that are these things to us and offer them to others. We can try to do the one thing that scares us most and see how it brings us alive! What is something you could do today that you have been holding back? Risk adventure and see how it brings light to you and others!
Beneath every behavior is a feeling.
And beneath every feeling is a need.
When we meet that need rather than focus on the behavior,
we begin to deal with the cause not the symptom.
Consider it today.
3 Minute Retreat - To Affirm
Do you take time to affirm yourself?
Think about it for a moment. Do you speak about yourself kindly and with respect?
Most people have an awfully challenging time considering this idea for even a moment. Some consider it selfish or of ego to think of themselves at all. Many often question their personal worthiness. It is a human response, though harmful at the same time.
It has taken me a long time to be kinder to myself, to show myself the respect that I would show others in my life. I have learned that when I am able to see my personal value and truly embrace it, I then can be an example to others.
When we see our value, others see our value. When others see our value, they are able to consider their own.
What will you say about yourself today?
How will you affirm your personal journey?
Blog Thoughts: REEL Love
This past weekend I gathered an incredible group of extraordinary women to explore Finding Your Voice & Embracing Body Wisdom. I was honored and humbled to walk with them on this journey and overwhelmed with this piece of art they created in the process! What does your body want to say? (The original on Social Media has music)
Blog Thoughts: The Company
I love this statement. I have learned over and over in life that you can plan for the journey, you can think about the goals and dreams you desire; but unless you have the support behind you in a good friend, it all means nothing. I am so grateful for my village of friends who are my real family. I couldn't achieve what I believe in without them. Who is your person? Give them a shout out today!
Blog Thoughts: Diversity in Strength
Have you ever noticed how critical we can be of others or even ourselves? We tend to be judgmental before accepting. No two journeys will ever be identical. We each walk to our own beat of the drum, our drum. What looks like a failure to you, may be a small success to me. What you say is weak, could be my strong. The path to living life fully aware is different for each of us. We need to remember that when we pause at any moment to compare ourselves to others. We need to lift others up, support them unconditionally and most importantly celebrate our personal successes no matter how small. I see you doing the best you can today.
If you have walked with me on any of my retreats or workshops, then you know that an Altar is the focal point for our time together. There is a beginning, an end, but most importantly a story.
I was introduced to altars in my 20's and over my life they have grown into many things. I encourage my children who each have an altar that they change out from month to month as well. Our altar holds items that have deep meaning for us, there are items that make us smile or laugh. At various times of the year photos appear of loved ones we want to remember or even destinations that we would love to travel one day. They can be spiritual in nature, while spiritual can be defined in many different ways.
When you are on a retreat, our altar grows within our time together as we discuss different topics, learn about ourselves, and open to what the journey has to offer. But primarily, WE are our greatest and dearest altar. Something always important to remember. Our altar mirrors ourselves.
Take time this weekend to create and altar.
What would you like to reflect on, remember or vision?
What aspects of your altar do you want to embody?
Take this time to build a vision and hold yourself sacred.
Blog Thoughts: Affirmation
Affirmation. I speak of this often. I practice it daily. I create workshops and retreats around it in my work. I author endless essays about the depth of good in an affirmation. Are you listening? When was the last time you wrote an affirmation? Or, better yet, when is the last time you were critical of yourself? I essentially challenge people to turn every critical moment into an affirmation. By turning it around you allow for possibility. By creating a positive you can change an attitude or even a situation. Today, I challenge you to turn any critical thought into an affirmation. If you want to take it a step further as I do, grab a post it and secretly place affirmations anywhere in your day for others to come upon. Watch life unfold!!!
Blog Thoughts: I'm OK
This is a big statement that we all walk through daily. I am certain of this. So often we are standing beside loved ones, friends or co-workers and we have no idea what they are walking through in that very moment. Be kind, be generous of spirit and be aware. We are all just trying to get through this journey.
Blog Thoughts: Step by Step
Some days we look at our to do lists and it is all we can do to get out of bed. There are responsibilities that just can't be passed up, but at the same time we need to face them realistically. You are one person. You can only do so much. Pause, take a deep breath, and just take one thing at a time. It is all you can do in the moment. And remember that the world will not come to an end if you can't accomplish your whole list. There is always tomorrow.
Blog Thoughts: Meeting Our Needs
It is easy to hold ourselves back. Every day we enter the world that is sometimes more overwhelming than we can manage. It takes everything in us to be who we are at our core. We see messages, signs, and constant feedback of how we are supposed to live our lives. This often conflicts with who we are deep within. When we are 100% living our truth, we can begin the journey to feeling content. Be the person who recognizes their voice, their empowered presence, and their needs. Just then, you are offering a gift to those who are struggling in their own darkness to let a small light in today
3 Minute Retreat - Life as an Echo
Have you ever thought about this statement?
Life is an echo.
I think it can be easy to walk through this life thinking only about ourselves and our journey. We get caught up in responsibilities, family, health, and just basic survival that we often forget about the fact that someone is watching us all of the time. You may not know who that person is, but that person is taking a lead from you.
Life is hard enough, we look to others for guidance most times.
What are you putting back into the world on a daily basis?
What you send out comes back.
What you sow, you reap.
What you give, you get.
What you see in others, exists in you.
Do not judge so you will not be judged.
Radiate and give love, love will come back to you.
Be an echo that will improve the world.
Be an echo that will improve you.
Blog Thoughts: Imprints
Here is the thing... people come and people go, but each soul leaves something behind. Do you remember the woman who made your coffee for you this morning at the café wishing you a good day? Or the gas attendant sitting in the box on this chilly morning offering a smile as you went about watching the numbers climb? Then there are the coworkers you pass by at their workstations, everyone so focused forgetting to acknowledge one another. Guess what? They are leaving imprints. We tend to look at the memories and stories in our lives that were monumental how people changed our paths. But the truth is every person has the ability to do that in each moment. I personally have found myself paying attention more when I am out in the world. The masks are off, you can see people's facial expressions and more importantly the desire for connection. Are you missing the window for something special because you are too busy or rushing about your day? Today, I challenge you to pause. Look around you. Find the imprint that you least expect is making an impact on you.
Blog Thoughts: Finding Yourself
Are you looking? Are you taking the time to find yourself? I personally make a point to look for myself every day. What does that mean you might wonder? Our days get lost in the busyness of all that we have to do within our responsibilities. Some moments I notice that I can lose myself. When it comes to decisions needing to be made, often choices are faced with right or wrong, rather than desire or joy that could come from the answer. We need to constantly put ourselves back into the equation of our lives. Keep asking what is missing. Wonder what could bring a little more peace into your day. Don't stop finding you on the journey.
There has been a lot of discussion as of late on emotional sobriety. Two powerful words when just on their own, and yet when we put them together it is like a blow to the mind.
Emotions are a constant divide for most. We are as a society walking through this life often drinking, eating, or running away from our emotions.
To sit with feelings is trauma for many.
To experience one’s feelings can be the significant difference between living in the present and fading away into the past.
We do not want to live in self-negativity, but it is easier at times than accepting the positive. To exist in the positive is to always risk pain. If you live in the pain, one is already moving through the dark and not constantly being re-traumatized over and over.
When we acknowledge the emotions, we acknowledge that we have some sort of responsibility to feel, to embrace, to challenge, to work through them. It is often suggested that if we are to deal with emotions head on then we are less likely to be overwhelmed by them in any steady way. We learn to face them as they come to us.
How often do we qualify our emotions with the quality of the specific feeling? A feeling is good or bad. What about looking at the ability to feel one’s feelings? That is an incredible task and step.
It can often feel like emotional pain can destroy our inner peace, but truth be told, running from those emotions is what will indeed take a person’s life. If they continue to do whatever they can to cover up their emotions, they are in a never-ending cycle of inner emotional war.
What is the fear in allowing yourself to feel?
What is the real truth in giving yourself permission to heal?
I have spent my life carrying my trauma, holding my emotions, and walking the journey with these on my back thinking they were mine and mine alone. But truth be told that with each step I was a mirror to others.
Recently, I have noticed that my emotions have been at the forefront of my days. I believe there are many factors from walking through recent grief, the stress of parenting two teenagers alone, to the realities of life changing before me as I age. As I sit writing I have had tears falling down my cheeks more than once. I know where they are being released from within. The beauty is that I do not stop myself from feeling them in the moment that they are coming.
There was a time that any type of emotion terrified me to my core. I did not understand where my emotions came from. I was afraid of the story that was within me trying to be released through my emotions. I learned early on to stop that process of expression and to cover up my emotional existence with substance, to exercise, to starvation, to self-harm. I lost years of my life in this pattern.
Today, I walk through my emotions with the tools I learned and practiced breathing through each and every feeling that comes to me. I accept that they are coming into my existence for purpose and reason. If I am unable to be in the moment of that particular emotion I acknowledge it, thank it for coming to me and ask it to leave for this moment. I promise to revisit it when the time is right for me.
By doing this I do not allow it to overwhelm me. This is a new pattern for me. I trust that I am still doing the work. I am now doing the work at the pace that my emotional capacity allows for me. I recognize that the only way to heal and understand my emotions is going through them.
I am directly acknowledging my suffering. I am giving myself permission to feel in my own space and time. This is new for me. This is freedom.
My pain has meaning.
My grief is valid.
My emotions serve a purpose.
My emotions serve me.
When I discovered this new way of looking at my pain, I was set free.
The voice that lived in my head since I was a child that told me I was weak to cry; the voice that told that little girl it was selfish to express her feelings was now being embraced by the power of my own voice.
This is inner work.
When we begin to do this work, we silence the inner critic that tells us different.
Why do we need to do this? Emotional sobriety.
When we become emotionally sober, we can walk the path to healing, wholeness, and inner peace.
How do you feel your emotions?
There is no right or wrong way, but there are ways that can help you walk through them feeling empowered. I am so grateful for my many teachers and many lessons that I have learned on my healing journey. When it comes to these intense moments when my trauma comes at me faster than I can breathe, I needed a tool to bring safety and comfort.
I scoffed at the simplicity of the tool offered and ate those actions when I found it to be my guide in trauma. As the nights sky darkens this is the worst time of day for me when my emotions and traumas can take over me trying to take away my balance and power. When I feel all the tension in my body begin to rise, there are basic steps I take to immediately slow my breathing down, calm my racing heart. It is about repetition. It is about human touch. I place my hand over my heart and my stomach skin to skin, and I breathe. I repeat a short mantra that I chose in that moment and remind myself that this is going to pass. The echo of my music repeats and firmly holds me. My mantra radiates through my soul and my memory of empowerment reminds me; I am ok. I tell my trauma that I will return when I feel safe. I walk away. I take back the night from the trauma and the emotional intensity that can drown me when I am not paying close attention.
Are you paying attention? How are you weathering your storms?
I am not saying that it is easy to feel our emotions.
I am not saying that it is easy to heal our emotions.
I am not saying that it is easy to walk through our emotions.
I still feel lost sometimes.
I still feel alone sometimes.
I still feel at times there is no greater meaning to my pain. But I have seen the light on the other side when I have succeeded in staying sober in my emotions, I know there is balance and peace.
So, I do not give up. When I am living my truth, I am whole. When I am whole, I find the peace that escaped me for most of my life. My essential truth is my conscious awakening to self. I have given myself permission to exist.
I am doing my best. Are you?
I am healing in the exactly right pace for me. Are you?
I am doing my work. Are you?
Your emotions serve a purpose, they serve you.
Blog Thoughts: Paths
I came across this gem many years ago. I come back to it often. Life offers us so many different paths to walk at times. It is easy to get caught up in the ones that may not truly support your life but be more attractive for various reasons. Some paths we feel pushed towards for others’ opinions rather than our own desires. While some paths may be the more responsible choice, whatever happened to our gift of faith and trusting in the unknown?" The bottom line is that you know yourself best. When in doubt, do not be afraid to ask if this supports the life you are trying to create.
Andrea creates, builds, and offers her teachings and hands on life tools based on her journey healing her body image after a 14yr battle and life of trauma. Her vision always is to help others live a full life with the journey they are given.