When a turtle sticks its neck (and head) out to eat, the turtle becomes vulnerable to be eaten, too. It must leave the safe haven of its shell to live. And so must we.
Recent world events from hurricanes in the Caribbean to flooding in Houston to earthquakes in Mexico to the great wildfires in the Pacific Northwest to missiles from N. Korea and to the ethnic cleansing in Myanmar expose the vulnerability of us all as a human race. Still, we must venture out and engage life fully.
A baby is born into this world fragile and completely vulnerable with nothing to lose because he/ she had nothing to begin with. The baby will learn to thrive on trust; an important first lesson in living. And at some point we will all take our last breath and leave this world; and we can’t take anything (material) with us. This ‘vulnerability’ is as much a part of life as birth is.
To live is to be vulnerable. We are all going to age, degenerate, be afflicted by illness at some point, and die. But that is life; and to reject that vulnerability is to reject life itself. And that would be sad because life is also about love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, creativity, and playfulness.
We laugh at stand-up comics who dish out the truth, in their witty, observant ways, about other peoples’ vulnerabilities; but we don’t want to be vulnerable ourselves. We are afraid that our own truth is not enough. We don’t feel smart enough or good enough or man enough; or we fret about not having the ideal body or job or marriage and then we feel lacking and believe we are incomplete. We even pass on these expectations to children from a young age teaching boys that they must be strong and independent and that girls should be passive and nurturing. The outcome of this search for constancy, certitude, and perfection is anxiety and shame.
It is no wonder that we are the most obese, stressed, and medicated people in the world. We have an overdose crisis of drugs that are meant to numb us from pain: opioids. You can’t however selectively block-out negative emotions; when you numb shame or pain, you also deaden the ability to feel joy and gratitude and contentment.
It is important therefore to expose and engage, to reveal and heal what you don’t want to face or talk about. It is the only way to connect and be part of humanity. Fall down seven times, stand up eight times; each time stronger and wiser. Let yourself be seen, deeply seen, vulnerably seen. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Cultivate the things that expand rather than constrict your life; the qualities that are harmonious rather than inharmonious. Tend to the garden of self-compassion; grow gratitude and contentment; seed intuition and trust; weed-out the need for certainty and the belief of lack and scarcity; fertilize creativity; propagate calm and stillness; landscape your life with laughter; and frolic in the flowerbed of fruition. Indeed, the Kingdom is within..!