17 Apr Vulnerability Today
Vulnerability has been a hot topic in my work basically from the beginning. And it’s been a trending topic in many circles thanks to the work of Brene Brown, who did groundbreaking research to understand what creates human connection. The answer she found: the #1 thing that leads to connection is vulnerability. Yup. Vulnerability = Connection.
When I first saw Brene Brown’s TED Talk on this subject, my favorite part was when she revealed how much she desperately didn’t want her findings to be true, because she hated being vulnerable. Man, could I relate to that. But, over the years as I’ve digested and practiced this notion, vulnerability has shown up as one of my greatest teachers and of course, has led me to far deeper and more authentic connections and relationships, and has also allowed me to be of service to more people and help in different and deeper ways that I had expected.
I think of Brene Brown’s work and the trending focus on vulnerability as largely focusing on voluntary vulnerability– sharing our feelings, sharing our stories and experiences, or just sharing ourselves more openly, which does, in fact, lead to connection. Which is awesome!
But the past few weeks, I have been thinking more about involuntarily vulnerability– when outside sources and circumstances out of our control make us feel vulnerable. This pandemic is creating repeated and underlying feelings of vulnerability for me and others. Last week, I had a day when I was particularly anxious. I realized later in the day that it was due to a combination of two things: I had been out to the stores that day, and was feeling sort of exposed (involuntary vulnerability). And, the night before, I had put out a post on social media about making masks that made me feel vulnerable in a different way (voluntary vulnerability). So, with all that exposure, I had what I call a vulnerability hangover. I get these when I share myself willingly in some fashion, or feel exposed by someone else and the hangover often involves quite a bit of self-doubt and anxiety.
I have also noticed that because there is an underlying sense of vulnerability right now, when I experience something that might have previously made me feel only a little vulnerable (like that post), the amount of vulnerability I feel is exacerbated, because I’m not starting at my normal baseline.
With this pandemic, we are essentially in a consistent state of vulnerability – physically vulnerable to a virus that we cannot control. It is uncomfortable to be out of control, to be vulnerable. And whether it is the virus or the virus and/or other experience we have, there is a lot of vulnerability going around.
All of that said, I have learned some things that help when I’m feeling vulnerable or have a vulnerability hangover. First, being able to recognize and name that I’m feeling vulnerable helps. Then, I find ways to comfort and ground myself: get outside and breathe, wrap myself up in a blanket, get in or near water somehow, do some yoga nidra, or the most effective: connect with someone who knows me well to help me re-center. That reaching out to people is exactly what leads to deepened connection, so in many ways, this time of vulnerability has the capacity to really lead to more connection. I also feel that we are stepping up to help others experiencing involuntary vulnerability due to this pandemic by supporting those in need – again, more connection.
Over time, I’ve learned that one of the most effective ways for me to move through vulnerability hangovers is through music and dance – getting back into my body. And so, I have decided to do something that I have been toying with for a long time. Music and dance have been a really important part of my journey of healing and connection. I have danced in many different modalities, ranging from really structured to completely unstructured practices. And I’ve thought for years about creating my own dance “class” of sorts, incorporating the aspects of different practices that I love as well as some of my own practices.
I will be offering the first Dance Your Body & Spirit next Thursday, April 23rd from 1-2:30pm EST.
Dance Your Body & Spirit will be a guided practice (not choreographed) of intentional embodiment, movement, connecting to different parts of your body and spirit and moving through what comes up. For those of you that dance, it will pull elements from ecstatic dance, qoya, yoga and yoga dance, meditation and more. There is absolutely NO experience or skill level necessary for this, all are welcome! It will be hosted on Zoom (you can choose to use video or not) and will be a suggested donation of $10 per person/login (if you want, bring your family/kids/quarantine buddies, etc.). I insist that financial hardship during these difficult times not be the reason you do not attend, so if you cannot pay, I want you to come anyways, so let me know. For more details and to sign up, you can visit the webpage or the Facebook event.
This is an experiment; the practice may shift a bit over time as I learn what it wants to be. I may add more times in the weeks to come, and it may become a weekly recurring thing, but I will see how it shapes after this initial beta test. I’m pretty excited about it and hope you’ll join me!
Regardless of whether dancing with me calls to you, I hope you will care for yourself in this time of increased vulnerability. If you feel vulnerable now or in the future, I hope you will recognize that it is totally okay to feel that way, and in fact, totally normal, and be compassionate with yourself and take care of yourself however that looks for you. And please reach out to me or someone else for support – that vulnerability is an opportunity for connection with yourself and connection with others.
How appropriate that this was the time The Connected Way™decided to hatch it’s fledgling self – a time when we are arguably most vulnerable, which hopefully means we have that much moreopportunity to create connection. I hope you are healthy and safe, and finding ways to allow yourself to move through the vulnerabilities and emotions of this time, while also finding your own avenues of connection.
In love and light,
The Connected Way™