Why does it feel so good to hold and love an infant child?
It is because of their vulnerability…
When I was a child, I loved bugs. I played with grasshoppers, butterflies, and caterpillars. Then one day while walking barefoot in the grass, I stepped on a bee and was stung for the first time.
Two things happened in that moment: I became afraid to walk barefoot in the grass and I became afraid of bugs.
These experiences add up throughout our lifetimes.
We stop doing things we enjoy –forever- just to avoid the possibility of future pain. This bee sting event changed the course of my life. The scary thing is, it is only one of thousands of events in which “safety” was chosen over joy. After years of this type of suppression, the most difficult question to answer becomes: “what makes me happy, anyway?”
Now this is an innocent little example from early childhood, yet we don’t even realize how often we split our personalities, disconnecting from our true natures for what is safe(r). A snarling dog, a bird pooping on your head, sickness, injury, school traumas, and crowded spaces…all prime opportunities to chose feelings of safety. We all have these experiences, and they allow fear to rule our lives!
Fear is a crisis in Faith.
Where our lack of vulnerability really begins to hurt us is in the relationship department. I felt hurt so often that I gradually toughened until I had no feelings left at all. So naturally, pain came to help cleanse and heal me. This time in the form of a back injury. It happened just before I was married and a spiritual counselor of mine at the time said: “You have built so many walls to protect yourself no one can get close to you. This back problem is a blessing to help you soften and learn to trust. How else would you prepare for marriage?”
Fear vs. Joy is an OS that creates a miserable life!
Over the past 15 years, my husband and I have experienced a lot of ups and downs. We started with 5 “good” years where everything went smoothly as planned, in the middle we had 5 years of hell, and in the past 5 years we have clawed our way out of hell and started building a truly loving relationship. This time we have a solid foundation on a deeper sense of faith. We have grown tremendously as a couple, intense communication being the cornerstone of our marriage.
It is so essential to tell the truth as you know it to be at every moment.
Think of this seed of truth growing into your tree of life. You wouldn’t want your life to grow from a foundation of lies, would you? Speaking our truth in the moment can lead to some circular conversations…where we keep fighting our point, but don’t even know why. It can afford us the time we need to excavate who the hell we really are under all the irrational fears and limitations we have put on ourselves. Each layer of armor that took a second to add, can take years, decades, or an eternity to shed. When we argue, fight, and disagree with one another…it can have more to do with our paradoxical viewswithin than with the other person.
Always question your belief systems.
David Schnarch calls marriage “people growing machines”. There is so much truth in that statement, because often our partners are the first people to point out our incongruities. No wonder the divorce rate is so high. When we fall in love, we drop our guards down…WE ARE VULNERABLE…and it feels like heaven. Within a short time, we can become more and more critical of one another which causes defensiveness and recoil. In this environment love quickly dies.
Being defensive is our first indicator that we have lost our vulnerable & lovable nature.
Next time you are challenged by an experience or a person -SEIZE THAT MOMENT. Sit with it in meditation. Ask yourself: Is it worth limiting myself in this way? Is this an opportunity to open a door to love and be vulnerable (despite my fears)? Will this make my world more expansive or will these choices separate me from something I love?
Thankfully, we have eternity to get all this straight.
It would be fantastic to start reaping some of the rewards of living a more loving, expansive life now. It feels so scary because it requires a large amount of trust: in humanity, in our Creator, and in our relationships. My biggest take away point from all of this is that as our faith grows our fear slows. We can call out to God and ask for His love and guidance, He has created a world of spirit that is always available to us.
Since becoming more conscious of these walls I have built: my relationships are deepening, my work is becoming more meaningful, and I am quiet enough to hear some of the callings from spirit. I began “the Great Undoing” a few short years ago, and it has blessed my life in so many ways I am dedicated to sharing what I learn on the way.
I would love to hear examples from your lives in the comments section.
Jen, Your insights are remarkable! I feel like in my own life I was too open and vulnerable in friendships and got pummeled. I didn’t know back then about boundaries. But now I think I’ve set such strong boundaries that I have alienated myself from people. Finding that balance is not an easy task.
Terry, Your story and mine sound so similar. Being vulnerable is a tremendous task in TRUST…and the results it yields are so unexpected! As we question our beliefs, and tear down the walls we have built around ourselves; we have the potential to REALLY FEEL once more…be it the highest highs or the lowest lows (this is where our faith comes in handy).
We must create together again soon!