"yeah but what are the habits of vulnerability?" I asked my new friend, who was leading the conversation into the most wonderful rabbit holes while we both waited for our next appointments with life.
We'd been edging around something in the talking, and we both were too conscious to not know it. It felt like a shark swimming too deep to be seen but not to be felt. A day ago I'd discovered this brand new yearning to be more honest, and genuinely satisfied in my relationships and it had felt frankly revelatory to realize that desire. It felt like a revelation because it was one. I didn't know I was dissatisfied with my level of honest engagement in my relationships until I'd reached the point of consciousness that could sustain that understanding.
When he mentioned his love/hate relationship with vulnerability, I had just finished delivering to him a ten minute monologue about the way I felt about quitting my coaching practice; at no point during my speech had I dared a millisecond of vulnerability. The answer sailed out completely from my mental understanding of the situation and therefore the conversation skittered side ways, parallel to itself for a while. I felt the oddness of this when I finished because while he was wonderfully teasing me to go deeper with him on this subject, I had simply used the conversation to deliver aloud the speech I was giving myself on the inside.
On the drive home I thought about how beautifully vulnerable I feel on my motorcycle. I'm at the mercy of the elements and my own alignment and ability to focus intensely for long periods of time. I like the way everyone can see all of me when I ride. I like the way that sustained period of focus, combined with feeling profound appreciation for the beauty I fly through like a dog with her head out the window all the time, often results in motorcycle fueled epiphanies.
You know how conversations continue on long after the two people are finished speaking? In my mind I tell him that upon further reflection I actually agree with his passionate assertion that "we've got to do something uncomfortable" (even though at the time I told him that him saying made me uncomfortable. But as I sail along on the motorcycle I find myself agreeing. Often the motorcycle is not the most comfortable or easy choice, but it's the funnest and brightest about 1000% of the time, even when I find myself on long chilly rides after the sun goes down behind the mountains, or even when my brains are being slow-boiled in a sultry summer traffic jam, the ride, the awakeness, all put me on my personal edge, a state of being where it's natural and inevitable that I'll be vulnerable - it's my brand new, it elicits wonderment, curiosity, unknowingness, perhaps even the shyness that is such a necessary party of vulnerability.
But most important of all I want to tell him, (how did we not address this most essential thing in our long talking?) the essential initial step in vulnerability with others is daring to be vulnerable with yourself. When I return to the conversation, well, mostly monologue, that I had about leaving my coaching practice I realize that I was scared to fully face and own up to my next evolution as a human because it makes no sense to my mind, even to my most private self. I feel I need logical explainable reasons to make shifts. I want my decisions to be Respected and Understood by all, even when I don't have that for them.
Dear Friend, I'm leaving coaching because it's not fun or bright enough and it once was and what's fun and bright is so nebulous and strong and new that I scarcely dare whisper the words aloud the invention of joy, for my heart goes pitter patter and wants to start a howl when I step into that.
Being vulnerable with myself about my really really really yes dreams feels like eating your first home cooked meal after a long week of Cliff bars and backpacking. It also opens the doors to deeper awareness and clarity with kind of reinforces the fun that's possible with vulnerability. I think Byron Katie is the best Fun With Vulnerability gal I've seen because she fully embraces the understanding that anything coming to her from the outside reflects some inner activation she's got going on and is a gift of insight to her and she receives it as such. It's graceful and kind of removes all the thorns from the vulnerability. She is not at all interested in someone else approving of her so she's totally available to the feedback her interactions give her.
Tonight the thread of staying vulnerable leaves me on the shores of deep raw gratitude. I asked: I'd like to know how to be more real and happy and truly IN in relationships. My mind knows how but my life doesn't yet.
And then along comes a conversation that rattles me open, puts me on my edge, with the most wonderful gift, the chance to get vulnerable with my own life.
Thank you new friend