After having survived yet another emotionally devastating event, I am left contemplating the whole concept of vulnerability. For me, vulnerability is openness, the ability to share, to be present, to offer yourself totally in the moment and risk everything. And yes, when you are vulnerable, life can hurt. Another term for vulnerability is an open heart. We hear a lot these days about living in our heart, as if that will transcend the pain and trauma of emotional distress. As I have learned, being totally open, vulnerable and present gives the opportunity for growth in ways that being emotionally unavailable will never allow.
I know all of the preceding sounds like a prescription for certain doom, but it is also known as the dark night of the soul. When we endure great pain when we open ourselves to others, we have a choice. We can either shut down and isolate, feeding on bitterness or despair until we lose all joy and happiness; or, we can feel the pain and learn the lesson which always takes us closer to who we are. Not much of a choice one might say; between the pain of loss or the pain of gain.
The positive side of the coin, however, is the butterfly lesson. We are so much like caterpillars, you and I. We struggle for years as a caterpillar, then a climatic event occurs that gives us the opportunity to be a butterfly. Whether it is the loss of a loved one, or a relationship or a job, the evolutionary process can be quite daunting. When we are betrayed, abandoned, rejected or lost, it is a difficult task to be grateful for the experience. However, this is the chrysalis, the way we become someone new and bigger than ourselves. It is supposed to be hard, to build our emotional muscles. It is supposed to be frustrating, to flex our wings. It is supposed to feel like we are dying, because we are being reborn.
Don’t be sucked into the melodrama. When we are going through the chrysalis effect, it feels like we are dying. No so. We are actually being reprogrammed, re-engineered, reborn into a new being. It may be that we are becoming enlightened, or at least more conscious about life in general. When we lose the illusion of love, we can more easily see into who we are and learn to appreciate ourselves more.
When we are hanging on to something that is unhealthy, toxic or not supposed to be, it will only hurt worse when the divine loves us enough to take it away. Have you ever tried to take a toy from a child who doesn’t want to let go? That is a true example of how the divine has to rip something from our grasp to give us something we will really want.
The only requirement for optimal living is vulnerability, otherwise known as the ability to accept life on life’s terms. When we are flexible enough to recognize that life has to change, and to jump for joy when it changes, we can experience freedom in a way that most people can’t. Being able to recognize emotional pain for what it is, e.g. an illusion is the significant characteristic of advanced person.
Many people confuse emotional unavailability with happiness. Actually they are avoiding feeling anything at all. When you put your heart on a platter and offer it to the divine on a daily basis, the inevitable result will be emotional strength and maturity. So be vulnerable on a daily basis. Be juicy, be soft, be kind, be caring, be yourself. The more vulnerable you can be, the stronger you will be. When your heart is broken, it gets bigger. You feel more alive, more connected and more enlightened. Allow yourself to experience everything. Then you can be everything.