There is a wild beauty in vulnerability, in total surrender, in being completely broken open. In the annihilation of the external shell, all those false perceived limitations of your small self are exposed. A spirit of innocence and a purity of heart are unveiled when all else is stripped away: including attachments to egoic identity, illusions of control, and preconceived notions of what's "good" and "right."
What liberation this openness can bring!
Like a mosaic, your broken bits create an even more beautiful work of art than existed before. A paradoxical strength emerges as you allow yourself to be exposed and seen for the truth of who and what you are: wild and infinite.
Last year I lived at an indigenous plant medicine healing center in the Peruvian Amazon. I soon realized the healing wouldn't just be facilitated by the plants. During those five months, I also integrated valuable life lessons and grew into myself through poignant challenges while navigating relationships with others living in this community.
Several weeks into the experience, there was a situation in which I felt disregarded by those I was living in close quarters with. Initially, I contracted. I shut down. My hurt inner child closed herself in my bedroom, upset and in tears. Not wanting to be exposed, I allowed my hurt to make me feel special. Feeling bitter and headstrong, I didn't want my full self to be seen. I strongly resisted breaking open.
Thankfully, because I was in such a held container of healing at this place in the jungle, it quickly dawned on me that this form of warped self preservation was not going to solve anything. I saw I had a choice. I could choose fear, or I could choose love. I could choose to be stuck in my old way of functioning, or I could choose a new way of being open and honest with my feelings. The universe had delivered my opportunity to practice this choice.
So, I returned to the communal dining room and sat everyone down. Without making anyone wrong, I explained what was right for me. I openly expressed my truth and the emotional process of my experience. Sitting there with tears streaming down my face, I felt incredibly weak, completely naked, and utterly pathetic. I was violently broken open. And when I finished sharing, a miserable silence followed. I could barely look into their faces. That was, until one of them broke the silence.
"Rachael... that was beautiful."
And then another.
"I had no idea that you felt this way. Thank you for your strength and honesty."
And then, yet another.
"Your openness and bravery are incredibly inspiring."
I was totally floored. Even though in that moment I felt defenseless, fragile, and cowardly, my willingness to be seen translated as inspiration, strength, and beauty. No doubt, it was a beautifully transformative experience for me.
When you feel fear, or any other kind of strong emotion, there is a tendency to shut down: to contract in on whatever you are feeling, building up an armor, a façade, a great big wall against the outside world. You become locked into defense mode, unwilling to see things from any different perspective. There is a harshness, a hardening, rather than an allowing and a softening.
Very likely you developed this habit as a child during experiences of hurt and trauma. Back then, you actually needed those mechanisms to preserve your little body, your healthy ego and, your sense of self. But as an adult, this very mechanism could end up limiting your ability to step into your power and your full potential as a sentient living being. Closing down on your feelings douses the fire of your passion. It inhibits your ability to act from a genuine place of truth. It fosters a superficiality, an immaturity, a shallowness of living. You become cut off from your ability to empathize and have compassion for anyone or anything else than the small self.
Choosing vulnerability requires that you unlearn many types of programming you may have held onto for a very long time. And no need to make these habits bad, wrong, or even judge them at all. You can simply choose to release them with awareness in the moment of letting go.
Because you receive that which you give, life will show up for you if you show up for your life. In our modern world, it is a radical act to surrender to the unknown. In a culture that labels vulnerability as a handicap, it takes tremendous courage to choose openness and transparency. In a society that spends unfathomable amounts of money towards self "defense" and "homeland security," vulnerability can feel like a death sentence.
But here's the honest truth... that is all an illusion. In the end, there is very little we all have control over. Ultimately, we are all vulnerable all the time. Incidentally, nothing is known for certain. It is the denial of this reality that causes us pain. It is our refusal to acknowledge that vulnerability that slowly deadens us.
Developing your humanity and tapping into your wild, authentic self requires you to be launched in the the darkness, to be split wide open, and to break through the stone fortresses that encapsulate your heart. For in breaking open are you given the space to allow greatness to enter. In shattering, you surrender to the experience of the moment. In surrendering do you finally allow your eyes to adjust to the darkness, allowing you to see the brilliance of the starry heavens above.
Yes, it seems scary. Yes, it feels risky. Yes, you may feel tremendous pain and raw unbridled emotion. But you will undoubtedly emerge stronger, wiser, and more capable. And in breaking open, you create the opportunity for love to flow in, offering its gifts of deep intimacy, unabashed joy, and the great celestial expanse of human experience.
Unless you are willing to accept the utter mystery of it all, lest you surrender yourself fully, until you crack wide open, you will never know the meaning of living from your wild soul. Truly, the weight of inauthenticity is far too great a burden to bear and the maintenance of your steel fortress is far too great a labor to endure.
I challenge you to practice casting off these burdens. I urge you to be willing to be seen, in all your guts and glory.
For it is in daring to break open you allow your wild soul to soar.
Do you allow yourself to be seen? What parts of your experience are asking to be surrendered to? What is holding you back from breaking open?