Real Life: Being Vulnerable, Holding Heartbreak
7 Minute Read: Body image, vulnerability, being human, women in business, small business, shop local.
For many of us, at some point in our lives (often as children), something comes in and breaks our heart.
Could be trauma, abuse, actual heartbreak, pain, loss. Could be one incident…or a series of incidents. Whatever it is, we were never the same thereafter.
And for many of us, some part of us declared, amidst the heartbreak of being human: “That is never happening to me again.”
So we build a wall. Or make existing walls stronger. We fight against vulnerability. We resist our very nature as ultimately vulnerable human beings.
This is heartbreak on top of heartbreak. Loss on top of loss.
There is no shame in being vulnerable. There is no shame in being honest. It is what makes us human. It is what allows for true intimacy and connection with self…and with others.
And yet, even through the original heartbreak and any others that follow, much of society teaches us otherwise. Teaches us to shield and hide parts of ourselves it labels weak, shameful, embarrassing, over-dramatic.
Rather than show up with presence, softness and humanness, we are told to “be strong,” “be confident,” “be warriors.”
Nothing wrong with strong and confident. But true strength, confidence and courage comes from returning to the source, sitting with the original wound, seeing and resting into our true self – all of it – including the messy, heartbroken parts.
True strength also involves humility – not from a place of collapse, but from a place of surrender AND sovereignty. Owning this – owning our humanness and showing up honestly, is a first step. It takes tremendous vulnerability and tremendous courage.
But then, many times, comes a lightness and relief. A weight lifted as we put down the burden of “holding it all together”…of holding up a facade.
Does it heal our original heartbreak and wounds? Maybe a little. But it doesn’t make them disappear – and that’s okay. Actually, it’s really good news, because our wounds and gifts share the same source. And neither – wounds nor gifts – wants to be healed so much as to be seen, heard, held. They want to be told:
“You’re not alone. It’ll be okay.”
In setting down the weight (and illusion) of being invulnerable – of being inhuman – we get to exhale. We get to see, listen to, and touch into what we’re truly feeling. What we truly want and need.
From this place of true humility, courage and shared humanness – of surrender and sovereignty – we can ask for help…and be open to truly receiving. We can also give in a way that’s real, from a place of authentic empathy and compassion.
And, it’s in these moments of raw humanness, when we show up fully honest and in integrity, that we can truly bond – and create community.
By offering yourself this way of showing up, you offer it to others. You make it safe.
This is what I’m working with this week…in real life…in daily life…and as I prepare to give a talk on vulnerability and body image.
I’d love to hear how it landed with you…and what vulnerability means to you. How do you suppress or express it? Also…
Women in Business
I’ve featured a number of interviews with women business owners on the blog, including a couple of recent local ones. In case you missed them:
Klara talks about slow fashion, styling as self-care, body positivity, empowering women, morning routines, and how she went from heartbreak to pursuing heart-sourced passions.
Jen talks about her small-batch, medicinal bone broth, herb-filled preserves, jams and noodles…plus adoption and the magic of a non-linear life plan.
And…a ways back, I was interviewed on self-care, my routines and more. That interview, more than any other I’ve done, offers insight into my days…and into my work + brand. I shared it on the blog last week (with updates!) as an introduction for those who are new here…or would like to know me better. I talk about:
My morning routine
My evening routine
Yoga + mindfulness practice
What I eat in a day
What supplements + herbs I take
What helps me sleep more soundly
My take on intuitive eating
My excitement over safer, better beauty
How I help clients change eating + lifestyle patterns
It’s a long one, so grab a mug of something tasty, and read it here.
Also…I plan to post more interviews in the weeks to come. Please reach out if you think you’re a fit for this space…or have someone else you’d like to see interviewed here! Meanwhile, this week’s…
Recipes + Links
Would you go on a surprise vacation? I wouldn’t :).
Or are you more cautious with fun money. I am :).
Springtime crispy egg bowl. I’d skip the rice, but otherwise love this sort of simple, lighter dish as the weather warms.
Or this warm salad. Comes with a powerful quote on stripping.
Three older women on sex + pleasure. "Society has a tendency to perpetuate this idea that the older a woman grows, the more she yearns for the beauty of her youth. It’s a convoluted concept, and one that goes hand in hand with the belief that women can only reach a certain sexual peak before hitting a steady decline and returning to a state of childlike innocence. As it turns out, that couldn’t be further from the truth. It was once bewildering to me that my mother could be so candid about sex. But after speaking with Sylvia, Barbara and Michele – all women 70 or older – about their relationships to pleasure, I now realize that some women only grow more comfortable in their sexualities and in their bodies as they age.”
Three things to say to someone who’s dying. “[M]ost of us will face other painful moments sitting next to a dying person. How do I know this? Because our mortality rate is 100 percent. One day, we will all be a dying person. And before that, we may be close to several, or to many. We all need to know how to sit and talk through a time for which there are no words. A time when not even an ‘I love you’ will suffice. How do we catch our future selves? How do we comfort our dying loved ones now?… Three phrases welled up that became a touchstone for us in the days that followed. I call them ‘three magic phrases to comfort a dying person’ now. At the time, they were a lifeline of connection for the two of us and for the rest of our family.” (Content warning: This is the story of a dying 8-year-old, told by his mom.)
Becoming Wise podcast + Paulo Coelho (author of The Alchemist). "We have to be humble enough to learn to live with this mysterious question, ‘Who am I?’ I am someone who is in this pilgrimage from the moment that I was born to the day that will come that I’m going to die. And this is something that I can’t avoid. So what I have to do is to honour this pilgrimage through life.”
P.S., Please share what’s alive for you when it comes to vulnerability + body image – thank you! xo.