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The Practice Of Vulnerability

Do you often hear the words, ‘our vulnerability is where or power lies’, whether coming from your own lips or others’?

I imagine there have been many times when you’ve experienced the truth of this principle. Perhaps you’ve opened your heart to some pain in the company of a friend or partner and found it deeply healing to share your feelings about a challenging experience that you’ve been holding alone. You may have gone from intense fear and contraction to profound love and expansion in the space of 20 minutes and landed in a beautiful depth of intimacy between you.

Or perhaps your experience has been with yourself, alone. You’ve tuned into your heart and found the truth of how you feel about something you’ve been fighting in yourself, and finally your tears have opened the door to a well of self-compassion you couldn’t access before. Suddenly you feel in love with yourself!

Being truly witnessed in our vulnerability, with tenderness and acceptance (by ourselves or others) is profoundly healing.

These kinds of experiences that you may be familiar with, are beautiful examples of how allowing our vulnerability can open our hearts to the deeper truth of who we are. This is where our real power lies. By consciously opening this doorway into honest feeling, we allow stuck energy to flow and eventually come to rest in a deeper, more grounded experience of our authentic presence. We literally expand our capacity to ‘shine’ from this place.

We have all had these breakthrough encounters with vulnerability in our lives but for most of us, they tend to be the exception, rather than the rule. It’s not always easy to ‘let go’ and trust that we’ll find our way into our wholeness.

But what would it be like if we could really learn to ‘practice’ vulnerability in a conscious way and grow this beautiful power of authenticity, love and wisdom inside us?

Allow yourself to imagine this and feel the impact in your body for a moment…

…the freedom of being you, rooted in your body, open, shame-free, connected in your heart… allowing the power of your love and wisdom to be fully expressed, seen and received…

If we know this experience is possible when we open our hearts, then why do most of us find it so hard to practice vulnerability?

There are many good reasons for this, not least of all that we have usually put healthy protection mechanisms in place that are there to keep us feeling safe. It’s only natural that we choose to stay in a protective ‘contraction’ if our environment doesn’t seem safe enough for us to open and be met with love.

Whether or not these feelings of un-safety are an accurate, present time reading of the environment or an echo from our past, these protection mechanisms are not to be judged. We need to see and welcome them as acts of self-love, that helped to protect us from emotional overwhelm at times when we felt threatened or challenged.

They may also be family imprinted ‘acts of self-love’ that have been handed down for generations. Wherever they originate, we need to welcome them as gifts and address their healing consciously so we have more choice around how to respond to life when they show up.

However, I want to name a more collective factor that is very helpful for us to recognise. We are in a huge transition and learning curve as humanity.

We have been immersed in a culture based in separation that makes it normal to where a mask and protect ourselves from ‘being seen’.

That mask is expressed either as an external striving to be good enough, or an internal collapse into hiding.

It’s a little nuts if you think about it. If we really recognised the authentic light within us, why on earth would we not want it to be seen and shared?

(And I don’t mean in an ‘on stage’ kind of way… I just mean in genuine relationship – in our work or leadership, or in our families and communities.)

If you’ve been thinking you’re the only one who’s struggling with this fear of being seen, I hope by now, you realise that you’re not alone by any stretch of the imagination.

I honestly believe this is one of the biggest hurdles we are facing as humanity. Fear that who we are at our core is not enough. That we are not part of the Sacred tapestry of life and therefore not worthy of receiving love. We can see this in many leaders in the old system that is breaking down. Can we feel them operating from a deep connection with their authentic light and sense of enough-ness? Rarely.

I think this ‘shadow’ of not enough-ness has a particular collective ‘flavour’ for us as women too. In this disconnected culture our essential feminine nature and wisdom has been devalued by default and even shamed. And we’ve internalised that devaluing (and shaming) of our inherent nature by suppressing a huge aspect of our authentic power

~ our Feminine Wisdom.

I recently heard a women at the completion of a long term Circle I was guiding, say ‘I can honestly say that I am now really PROUD of my feminine nature. I am standing for this now and letting others see it.’

That named it all for me!

Individually and culturally we have been continuing to dumb down and shame our feminine wisdom.

It’s why women in particular have found it so hard to speak up.

It’s why we’ve struggled to recognise and value our inherently feminine gifts.

It’s why we’ve found it difficult to receive and nurture our wellbeing over all the giving and doing.

It’s why we’ve lost touch with nature and the knowing of how to be in right relationship with our beautiful Earth.

And so …

It’s not surprising that we also find it so hard to allow ourselves to be vulnerable enough for others to see our light!

This grappling with our inherent power and beauty as women, may be unconscious for some but it’s not unusual.

So, the next time you find yourself giving yourself a hard time for feeling stuck, or feeling shameful because you think you’re failing in some way, or you haven’t managed to get the balance right yet… or you haven’t sung your song yet in a way that your heart really yearns for…

Take a deep breath… give yourself space and bring in the voice of self-compassion…

You are not alone!

No matter where you are on your journey of self-discovery, you’re not getting anything wrong. You’re part of a huge, collective transition that humanity is in right now and particularly as women we are in the necessary process of discovering a new path… a new way forward that honours the feminine within us and brings balance back into our world.

That ‘new way forward’ is a cultural shift from separation to re-connection. Reconnection with ourselves. Reconnection with the Earth. But also it means allowing ourselves to lean into the re-connection and support that is available from others who we can share the journey with. 

Because learning to re-embrace our feminine wisdom is not a path we can easily take alone… especially when the very nature of it requires us to learn how to practice vulnerability in a way that feels safe and honouring of our inherent light and the transformational journey we are on.

This is why I’m so passionate about growing a community of women who are Rising Connected. I’ll be sharing more about this throughout the year but for now.. If you’d like to join us for a free gathering to explore this conversation together, then please feel free to join the next community gathering at The Women’s Fire on 4th March, 2020 at 6.30pm. If you’re not on my email list feel free to register here and you’ll receive the details soon.

In the meantime…

If you’d like to find out more about our exciting new online Learning Journey in the Rising Connected community, you can find out more here: The Path Of Feminine Wisdom

I hope to meet you somewhere on The Path soon.

With love and courage for your Journey.

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6 Responses to The Practice Of Vulnerability

  1. Pam Salmo February 24, 2020 at 4:11 pm #

    …..or you haven’t sung your song yet in a way that your heart really yearns for…….

    This particular phrase has touched a deep place and a well of tears.

    Now I know why I’m joining you on the path of feminine wisdom.


    • aflcommunity March 3, 2020 at 11:28 pm #

      Thank you for sharing this Pam… I hear you… and so glad you are on The Path with us!

  2. Jeri’Ann February 27, 2020 at 11:52 am #

    So beautifully said, Joey- thank you.

    I have Gone into both patterns- striving on the outside and internally collapsing into hiding.

    The origin of the shame for me is social status growing up, gender, race and an attachment wound with my mother. It’s powerful to know and understand the origins of my “not enough” story.

    Feeling and clearing all that shame is the big gift of my work with you and in your community. Thank you!

    Can’t wait to see what happens next

    • aflcommunity March 3, 2020 at 11:29 pm #

      I so appreciate the clarity that is pouring through you JeriAnn… such a privilege to support you on your path! I can’t wait to see what happens next either!!

  3. Renetsu March 5, 2020 at 2:42 am #

    I completely agree Joey, and so wonderfully expressed.

    Thank you

    Much love
    Renetsu <3

    • aflcommunity March 5, 2020 at 9:01 am #

      Thank you Renetsu… <3 to you too!

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