The frontier of vulnerability
I wrote this down after listening to David Whyte’s Midlife and the Great Unknown.
Usually I write little things like that and the blog post ends, but I think that this one needs clarification.
So, what is this post about? It’s about the fact that I used to think that to become a fully open and vulnerable person one had to take a tremendous leap from where one stood.
But this is not correct.
All it takes is a very small step: the step of lowering one’s guards. And this will appear to be difficult, but there is always a gentle way to take this step. For example, if I resist making myself vulnerable in front of my Dad, if it feels too steep, I can say to him: I sometimes think about opening up to you and I don’t because I fear you will not know what to do with it, I fear I will put myself out there and not be understood, and that scares me.
See what I mean? The first step feels too steep, I acknowledge this, and this acknowledgement becomes the step I take. Still too steep? Say: Sometimes I want to tell you how I really feel and I notice I stop myself. Too steep, still? Say: I want to get closer to you, but I don’t know how. Do you have any suggestions? Too steep, still? Sit next to him, in silence, even if only for a few moments, and appreciate his company, the sweetness of his presence, just that moment. Still too steep? Do this, from the distance, for a briefer moment still. We all start somewhere.
Most importantly, this is not a consolation prize to true intimacy. This is true intimacy, because it is growing out of the moment where I’m at, rather than from some mental/emotional state I think I’m supposed to be in for such intimacy to take place.
What I’m trying to say is that the edge of where I have to be to grow in love is not somewhere out-there where I take visibly heroic actions but rather somewhere in-here, nearer than near, where I show something authentic about myself to the person in front of me, and to myself.
All other frontiers of vulnerability are imagined
And writing this makes me very emotional because, well, this is not theoretical. I fear telling my Dad how I feel almost all the time, and I haven’t told him this yet. It feels too steep. So I’m telling you instead. That’s the step I could take today. And it is bringing me to tears.
We all start somewhere.