The Strength of Vulnerability to Move Life's Boulders
This past weekend I co-lead a women’s circle for my Burning Man family. In honor of the full moon, we each offered up something that we were ready to release. When it came to my turn, I saw a vision of myself crying before the words even came into my awareness. In that moment, I panicked. I knew that what was coming to the surface was going to be a very vulnerable share and, in that instant, I was terrified to let them see the real me.
As the words flowed through me, all I remember is staring at a point on the floor and waiting for it to be over. Tears streamed down my face and I was shaken by the mix of shame and truth that revealed itself. The vulnerability of that moment seeped into the next day. I woke up in an uncomfortable mix of anger and sadness. I started my morning writing practice only to find myself too wrapped up in my emotions to drop into the flow.
When my partner woke, I began sharing what I was going through. As the words poured out of my mouth, the anger quickly turned to bouts of rage and the sadness flowed like a never-ending river of tears. By the time I reached the peak of my emotion, I was too exhausted to do anything more. Instead of putting on my big girl pants and facing the day, I crawled back into my bed and cried myself into a much needed nap.
When I woke up, I went for a long walk in the sunshine hoping to clear my mind. At the furthest point from home, I watched as three men attempted to remove a gigantic concrete boulder from the corner of a parking lot that was being demolished. The block of concrete was much bigger than any of them had expected it to be. As they talked about how to move this unexpected monster of a rock, I heard one of the men tell the guy in the backhoe, “you might be able to get it, if you get a little closer.” With a flash of insight, I knew that message was for me too.
My mind remembered a conversation that I had with one of my guides last month. In that conversation, he told me that “there’s a large boulder that will be rolled away … and with that piece moved you will see your path with much greater clarity and light.” I had forgotten about this hypothetical boulder in my life until that exact moment. I quickly realized that like the gigantic block in the parking lot, my own personal boulder was starting to reveal itself. And like the men, I was now staring down at something that was much bigger than I expected it to be.
My go to strategy for discomfort has always been avoidance. I also know from a lifetime of experience, that the things you avoid will continue to show up until you do something about it. So, in a moment of tender strength, I decided to take the construction worker's advice to heart. As I walked the rest of the way home, I invited my mind to consider the idea that I needed to get closer to the heaviness that was revealing itself to me.
The practice of getting closer has manifested in a couple forms. I've leaned on my typical go to strategies of journaling, channeling and meditation. But the thing that has made the greatest difference is having the courage to continue having really vulnerable conversations with people I trust. What I didn't expect in these moments of bravery was to hear so many other people say that they too have been feeling what I'm going through right now.
I don’t have all the answers yet and sitting with my boulder is definitely not the most comfortable thing in the world. But this is what real growth and transformation looks like. I know that this boulder is presenting itself now because I’m strong enough to be with it, to heal it and to release it. The unexpected twist this time around has been receiving a deeper sense of connection, love and support in exchange for my authentic vulnerability.
I share this story with you to remind you that you that strength comes in many forms. There are going to be moments in your life when you want to crawl back into bed and cry your eyes out. Give yourself permission to do that if you need it. I also encourage you to reach out to at least one person that you trust and let them know what you are going through. We are not here to face our boulders alone. Find the support that you need to bravely experience the growth your Soul is ready to move through.
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