Vulnerability and Patience as a Path to Peace
I have been doing some thinking lately about being vulnerable. Like most people, I used to thing that being vulnerable was mostly about being weak and setting oneself up to be a victim of life. Being vulnerable in the workplace is akin to hanging up a sign in neon lights inviting the workplace bullies, and yes almost every work place has its bullies, to add you to the menagerie of bullied.
The idea of being weak when vulnerable is more about just some aspects of oneself being exposed, usually against our conscious intentions, to others. Without conscious intention, we are caught by surprise, ill prepared to even admit the truth of what is exposed. Now that I am older, retired and somewhat secure in my economic future in an uncertain world, I don’t have the same worries about people finding out stuff about me that would put my livelihood and my family at risk. At my age, it just doesn’t matter anymore. But that said, risking opening up the Pandora’s Box that contains all that uncomfortable and messy stuff that I have consciously and unconsciously denied for so long perhaps is something about which I should be worried. After all, who wants to be shunned and banished from connection to others?
As I continue with my latest writings, I am finding the will to not withhold. Withholding in order to protect myself or someone else seems to have created an inner tempest that gets in the way of my achieving some peace. It wasn’t long ago that I believed that it was important to keep the peace, and if that meant not speaking about something, or casting what needed to be said in a manner that would not cause unnecessary hurt for others. This avoidance of exposing ghosts and setting them free only allowed those phantoms of the mind and memory to dominate the inner spaces of self, ensuring that inner peace would never become a reality.
And so, now, I find myself too tired to play this game. I haven’t done anyone any justice in keeping a smile on my face and keeping the peace for as many others as I felt I needed to protect. It took me a long time to realise that each of these others were self-responsible beings, not dependents who were too weak and fragile to face life without my micro-managing (or trying to micro-manage) the work to keep harmony from causing any of these others any unnecessary discomfort. Every time I would see a tear, or hear sadness, I rushed to the rescue in an attempt to fix it all. I’m not god and I can’t fix it. I haven’t even had the skill to fix myself. So much for containing the shadows anymore.
Now, it’s time for me to stop hiding, stop disguising, stop trying so hard to please by twisting my psyche like a pretzel into shapes that would please others. It is time to risk truly being vulnerable and being patient, about accepting without judgement the fact of who I am and how I am in this world. Now, it is time to open up like a lotus flower opening up as it rises from the muck and dank waters of life to show a piece of perfection.