Tag Archives: vulnerability

Jar of Marbles

28 Nov

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One day I began placing a few of the most beautiful glass marbles into a jar. One by one, day by day, month by month, vibrantly colored marbles were carefully placed into this glass jar. The jar sat firmly in its place of stature. It took nearly 13 years to fill that glass jar, and there were moments when a few marbles were removed from the jar only to be put back in later. One day – just like that, the glass jar nearly filled to the brim with the most brilliantly colored marbles, slipped through my fingers and shattered to the ground before my eyes. Nothing I could have done would’ve prevented the jar from falling at that moment, it was predestined. The glass lay in shards around me, while the marbles became dust that scattered into infinity. Trust was now let go to the universe. And just like that, I knew I had to accept my fate. I could not turn my head any longer. I could not ignore how broken it was. There it was – all my fears, shame, and guilt lay naked before me in a billion pieces. Exposed. Completely Vulnerable.

I will always remember that day like it was yesterday. I tried so hard to hold on to that glass jar, and its remnants. Only to learn that with every firm grip, I was enabling more pain and self-inflicting more suffering. I resisted the basic idea of letting go. Everything we are taught teaches us that it is our duty to hold on, no matter how destructive something may be. That no matter what, we stick it out, we endure misery, and we accept another’s pain as though it is our own. And just like that, one day I broke the cardinal rule and in doing so liberated myself. It was the hardest moment of my life. I finally accepted that the figments of glass that once formed a jar were beyond repair. I could not even attempt to piece the jar back together, let alone  collect the marble dust. The only thing I could do was start a new day, a new life. What I do today, defines tomorrow. And today I write.

I write this on the final hours of a long overdue “vacation”. I’ve wanted to write all week but never had the right space for it, so here I am at just a few strokes before midnight. I am finally at a point where I can go back to that day, and that snapshot in time, without it bringing forward rumination. I look back and no longer see it as an end in time. Rather I see it as the beginning of something beautiful, something extraordinary. I’ve focused on shinning as much light as possible into one of the darkest experiences of my life. Because light is love and it is more powerful than darkness, always.

For the past 8 months, I’ve been rediscovering and rebuilding my spirit, as though a part of my spirit was somehow contained in the glass jar that shattered. I hadn’t realized how much I’d lost touch with myself over the years, how little time I took to adequately connect with myself. I was so wrapped-up in work, motherhood and mom guilt, and in the myriad of daily actions. The past is what it is. What matters is what we do today. It’s about finding peace amidst adversity. Because adversity is relentless throughout life. Finding strength and grace you didn’t know you were capable of. Discovering happiness through some of life’s greatest challenges. It’s about living your authentic life, whatever flavor it may take.

What proved the most challenging is that through this I’ve had to stay in the Arena the entire time, I’ve continued to chase that ball down the field and contend with offenders. I haven’t even had a moment to take a water break until this past week. I’ve kept going at an unrelenting pace because it’s my life and I’m not going to stop living it without the exuberance it deserves. It’s been about regaining ownership over my life. Finding the courage to keep going, and continue growing. Learning to trust myself and others, even when completely vulnerable. And accepting fate and destiny with serenity.

As the tradition of Thanks-giving comes to an end, I’d be remiss not to express my gratitude for all the growth that this year has provided. It may seem counter intuitive to celebrate tragedy, but I’m an optimist at my core. I can find a silver lining on the darkest clouds. I am so deeply grateful for my life – and I can genuine say that I am grateful for the challenges that I’ve faced. Each day I am a better person – and a better mother. I wouldn’t change a thing of the past. I will build an even better life, one that I enjoy living. One that is even more resilient to future adversity.

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The Taboo of Nakedness

1 Jul

I really want to write about something happy, you know, one of those happy-go-lucky kind of reads that gets you laughing out loud to yourself. Reality is that is just not where I am at right now. I know I will be there again one day.

Instead I am going to share with you my recent experience with vulnerability. Vulnerability is one of those words that sends a shock down our spine when we hear the word, it shakes our soul to the core. I am going to knock down taboos and come face-to-face with vulnerability. Why, because I am actually okay with it now.

I’ve always been a “tough girl”, the type that doesn’t cry when I fall, a tom-boy of sorts, and the type that just gets back-up and keeps going. I developed that persona growing-up through both good and bad circumstances. In other words I have very tough skin, skin of metal armor. I have finally come to the point that I know it and I’m okay with it.

Recently¬† I’ve experienced some of the hardest, and most difficult situations in my life. Ever. I’ve been through a lot of sh*t before but nothing comes close to this. I am not going to get into all of the gory details, because it’s just not necessary and through it all I sincerely believe that every cloud has a silver lining. I don’t know all that I have to learn, and grow, from these life changing events but day-by-day I will uncover the secrets they hold that will help me become a better person. The one thing I’ve learned about more than ever before is vulnerability.

Because I have a natural suit of metal armor, I rarely felt and internalized vulnerability. I am that girl who hitchhiked solo in southern Turkey, who took a shipping boat for over 24 hours to cross Lake Nicaragua, and gallivanted through remote jungles all over the World. There were moments in those experiences that I did feel vulnerable, and they were also trust building exercises with myself. Opportunities to build confidence, self-worth, and trust in myself, but also in other people – complete strangers. Not everything about those experiences was perfect and pretty. I ended up with Montezuma’s Revenge countless times. I stumbled across a 3-meter long snake that was as big around as my thigh in the middle of the jungle. I got lost in a remote rainforest and spent the night huddled under some fallen palm leaves with no flashlight or food. I also remember those professional experiences in my 20s when I sat before sat before conservative State law makers in Capital buildings feeling like a complete fraud – what the hell did I know at 25 years old? Those are light experience with vulnerability I will never forget. They were moments that I was having a wrestling match with vulnerability.

I recently came face-to-face with vulnerability again, not by choice, and in a very different context. Instead of snakes, hitch hiking, and conservative law makers, I confronted vulnerability in one of the most intimate aspects of my life – my home. I felt so physically and emotionally vulnerable and scared, I didn’t sleep for days. Yes, days and days. It doesn’t matter what led to this confrontation with vulnerability, its just that circumstances were what they were. I suddenly felt powerless, unprotected, and downright vulnerable. I lost all that I knew and defined as my safe place in the world. That suit of metal armor had suddenly vanished before my eyes. I did what I needed to do. Redefine a safe place in the world for me and my son. It doesn’t make our suits of metal armor magically reappear. Instead it taught me to be okay with a certain level of vulnerability, and that I must define what that means for me and what my boundaries are.

Instead of fearing vulnerability I’ve come to understand vulnerability in ways I never thought of before. Its risk, uncertainty, and emotional exposure. Coming face-to-face with vulnerability is to find ourselves naked and unintentionally exposed, and neck deep in our misery. To be vulnerable is to be human. It is a deep part of the human experience. Things happen in our lives that force us to look within in ways we never have considered before. What we might experience, feel, and see are not always roses – and often times its quite the contrary. However, if we embrace those moments of introspection, in the darkest and toughest of times, we can see the beauty and innocence that lies in our individual vulnerability. Embrace it. And learn from it.

I am not 100% there, and I don’t think I ever will be. The destination is not the goal. What I have learned is that I must commit myself to living my most genuine and authentic life. Living my most genuine and authentic life is not something I can compromise. I also don’t know exactly what that looks like and in time it will take shape if I continue to ensure that I check-in with authenticity in making decisions along the way. I don’t know what life has in-store but the new found acceptance with vulnerability has led me to go further in my commitment to living my most genuine and authentic life.

Here I end with a photo I took high-up in the mountains of Ecuador. It represents a moment that natural beauty took my breath away, but a moment that I found myself physically face-to-face with vulnerability. There I was perched high on a mountain, on a narrow wobbly trail with steep cliffs on both sides of me, where layers upon layers of the Earth took form. The kind of place where the Earth is so deep, that if you fall you don’t know how far you will go, nor where you will end-up.

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