30 Apr A New Perspective on Vulnerability
Many of us have become familiar with the Power of Vulnerability thanks to Brené Brown and her now infamous TEDTalk. As she describes it, vulnerability entails “having the courage to show up when we can’t control the outcome.” It’s important for our personal relationships and also for how we as leaders shape cultures where people feel seen, heard, safe, and respected.
During Roxanne Howe-Murphy’s annual Deep Living Retreat, I found myself working with another element of vulnerability – one that supports and enhances the vulnerability described above. This new piece involves being vulnerable with ourselves.
When we can practice being vulnerable with
ourselves we connect more deeply to ourselves
and this in turn enables us to connect more
authentically with others.
Our capacity to be vulnerable with ourselves involves working with heart consciousness: with dropping into the alchemical intelligence of our heart that brings forth acceptance, compassion, and immense wisdom. Our heart intelligence provides us with the courage to see our biases, projections, pain, resistance, and other egoic perceptions – and to soften them! It’s quite a counter-intuitive process though. It is only by meeting whatever shows up within us with curiosity, compassion and gentleness – by truly being with it and allowing it – that we can transform and become unstuck.
As we come into our hearts, something gets released so we can enter deeper layers of consciousness. Each of these deeper layers brings us greater capacity to be open, caring, and content – and at the same time more available and freer to fully participate in this thing called Life. I love Roxanne’s description of the four stages of heart consciousness as:
- The Defended Heart where we close and turn away from our own hearts
- The Feeling Heart where we recognize our feelings and their variations
- The Truth-Telling Heart where we recognize the deeper resources available in the heart center – its spacious expansive quality
- The Surrendered Heart where we realize that we are not really in control but rather guided and held by a much bigger source – we feel a sense of belonging that comes from within and connects us more deeply with the world around us.
Our heart space works in mysterious ways
that the head cannot understand – at least not
until we drop our thoughts, ideas and concepts
into our hearts where the invisible is made
visible; where our heart’s perception awakens
us to a deeper clearer truth and reality. From
here, new mindsets will follow.
A simple supportive practice for bringing our attention to the heart’s intelligence involves putting a hand on our heart. The gesture of touching our heart with our palm or fingers physiologically reassures our tender precious heart of its safety – inviting it to awaken and reveal its riches. It is here that we can practice being vulnerable with ourselves and where our heart’s elixir can work its magic.
Another simple practice involves checking in with ourselves and asking “What can I turn over that I’m not in charge of … emotionally, energetically, mentally and spiritually … what can I let go of?” This allows us to move out of dualistic thinking and make contact with the triadic nature of reality. It is from here that previously inaccessible new horizons come into appearance.
by Ipek Serifsoy