Feelings and Vulnerability
The only way to a better life is through the one we already have.
Let me explain what that really means…
If we have any memories or feelings of discomfort, and we participate in behaviours to avoid them, those memories and feelings become the walls/barriers to our better life. (Note: if you think you don’t have memories or feelings of discomfort, chances are you are avoiding them). When we don’t feel an experience all the way through, the energy it takes to push it away, and the space it takes up in our consciousness, creates blockages to new experiences. Instead, we re-live the past, over and over, utilizing the same old patterns to avoid how it makes us feel. So, we keep on getting what we have always been getting. Chances are, you, like me, may not even know when you are behaving this way.
Let me give you an example: Lesley had the most brilliant relationship. She and Jeffery enjoyed many a fun trip in his red convertible. Their relationship was perfect. Until it wasn’t. Lesley found out Jeffery was seeing another woman…
Five years pass. Then, one day, Lesley is walking along a road with a friend. A random red convertible passes them, and Lesley breaks into a rage. Her mood has shifted, but she has no idea why. Her friend is perplexed.
If Lesley desired, she could stop, focus on what she is feeling, and try to remember the last time she felt this way. With dedication and mindfulness, she could connect the dots to past, ‘unfinished’ emotions and feelings regarding her relationship with Jeffery. Once she is able to reveal the source of her discontent, she could then find a practice to help her to feel those feelings all the way through, to do more forgiveness work, and to totally move on.
I remember when my ‘best dog ever’ died. It was an otherwise normal day, when I found Shadow, standing in pain. I rushed her to the vet, only to discover that her tummy had flipped. Chances of recovery were slim, so we made the decision to put her down. I phoned my husband and he cried,“But she is such a great dog!”
“I know, I know … but this is the right thing for us to do.”
I went back to the room with the vet, and he explained the procedure. I was crying. Then I remembered how uncomfortable Shadow was with my tears. That made me sob even more uncontrollably, as I apologized to her. The vet was concerned about my sobbing and wailing. “I’m OK,” I said, between sniffles. After it was over, I wrapped my beloved canine in a blanket and brought her home for burial. Interestingly, I have not cried about Shadow since. It was a very painful moment, but, at that time, I allowed all my feelings through. Now, I rejoice in all the happy times we had together.
My Dad passed away in 2004. This morning, I had the biggest release! In fact, I don’t know that I had ever cried about my loss this much. I felt his love, felt our connection, and I really missed him.
I called a dear friend and cried with her. I know I was moving big energy, energy that I realize has been stopping love from coming fully into my life. I actually let my friend listen and support me (a new behaviour of mine), and now I feel so much lighter. I feel free and inspired. I risked being ‘weak and vulnerable’. What I got in return, was love and kindness. And, in the end, I am happier and stronger.
In the beginning of The Science of Mind, there is this text:
“These lessons are dedicated to that Truth which frees all people from themselves, and sets them on the pathway of a new experience, which enables them to see through the mist to the Eternal and Changeless Reality.”
The “mist” is our blockages: stories, feelings and beliefs that don’t serve us. I found it interesting that it was my Dad I was missing. I hadn’t realized.
Edwene Gaines, a Unity Minster, shares her story that she has a ‘father’ who is really, really rich (or, to put it in more in more modern words, an Infinite Universe that is All Powerful, All Wise, and Everywhere). She claims we don’t need to worry, because no matter what happens, this Power ensures that we are taken care of.
This resonates for me, as I consider my recent episode of grief. I believe my Dad represents my desire to have a deeper spiritual life; a deeper connection to The One. My sense of aloneness is a misguided belief in separation; a falling away from Truth. My grieving experience is a step on my pathway of spiritual connection.
Science of Mind author, Ernest Holmes wrote, “As we return to the consciousness of Oneness, the Truth that there is only one thing happening and it is good… when we do this consciously and definitely, with direct intent and a complete concentration of purpose… we will see that the journey back is filled with happiness and joyful expectation… for we will be met with a smile from the Universe, and will be folded in the arms of Love forever.”
Our feelings aren’t something to avoid. Our ‘weakness’ isn’t a character flaw… it is our guide to a better life.
Author and researcher, Brené Brown, has this important question to share around how to trust the process of allowing ourselves to experience our vulnerability:
“When we define ourselves by what everyone thinks, it’s hard to be brave. When we stop caring about what anyone thinks, we’re too armoured for authentic connection. So, how do we get clear on whose opinions of us matter?”
Brown talks about the value of a “square squad”. These are the people whose opinion of us we choose to have matter. As she so wisely points out, we need to trust in order to be vulnerable, and we need to be vulnerable in order to build trust. The people we engage with, and how we choose to engage, make a difference.
Who are the people on your “square squad” list? They should be the people who love you… not despite your vulnerability and imperfections, but because of them. Make a list. That list will likely be very small.
Next, complete the exercise in the activity section, below, and let me know how it goes. Remember, the only way to a better life is through the one we have!