One of the most beautiful gifts we have in this world is connection. The ability to connect on many different levels with people, nature, animals, the universe! Each of these use all of our five senses, and with spoken and unspoken language. Connection in itself invites us into wholeness, and gives us the warmth and depth that we need in life.
On the other hand, vulnerability certainly takes us out of our comfort zone. We may shy away from vulnerability but ultimately it is actually a beautiful gift as well. Imagine a flower awaking in the sun and blooms to perfection in its magnificent colour. At that point, the flower is vulnerable to all the elements. As soon as the flower detects a threat, it will close up again and protect itself. Nature can teach us so much about how to live and survive.
I am self-taught in most things in life. I never really had anyone that took the time to teach me much when I was young. I observed adults in my household and at school and I never liked what I saw. I observed other adults of all ages in society, and I really didn’t get life. These are the things I picked up on as a child observing life:
– people abused others and got away with it
– people seemed so empty and sad or angry all the time
– people hurt others purposely then would drown their sorrows in a bottle
– no one seemed to notice, understand or care for the lost and vulnerable
I found a friend in nature and animals. I learned as a child that I couldn’t trust people but I could trust the furry ones and the trees. Nature taught me how to survive. My strong connection into all living things gave me a true sense of who I was and where I came from, rather than feeling dismissed in a family that didn’t seem to care about me. That is putting it mildly… more negligence and abuse.
I didn’t dwell on the obstacles I had to overcome. I concentrated on getting out the other side. I didn’t think about the abuse. I buried it (and dealt with it years later). I didn’t allow my circumstances to drive me backwards. I allowed my circumstances to drive my determination to find a better life.
Vulnerability is something I knew too well. And like the flower, I learned to escape from the threat or shut myself off from the abuse in the moment. To me, allowing ourselves to be vulnerable is giving ourselves permission to grow. Much of my strength of character and determination to survive came from being vulnerable.
As I share my story, I visualise what I am saying as though I am standing back in that moment in time and can feel / see / smell all that is around me. It is not an easy thing to do but totally worth it. If my story can connect one person to their story, and it helps them to not feel as alone and/or inspired to keep going and perhaps be vulnerable too in sharing their story, then all that is worth it.
This week I had an engaging conversation with Guy Rowlison, host of BRAINSTORM mental health podcast.