As I sat having tea with my friend, Naomi, I found it curious that the more vulnerable our conversation became, the more connection and freedom we each felt. I was talking with her about my dog, Permilia’s passing, and my thoughts and feelings surrounding it. She was discussing with me about a volunteer trip she had taken to Nigeria, and how it has impacted her. As we peeled through the layers of words that we had shared many times before with others, we got to the rawness of our deeper feelings, and it was as though we each felt a bit more freed from the intensity of our memories, and more connected as friends.
Most interactions we have with others often goes a little like: How are you? Oh, I’m fine. How are you? Fine, thanks. Meanwhile, deep within all of us there is a brewing pot of thoughts and feelings that ‘fine’ most certainly is not the best descriptor.
In downtown Chicago, we tend to pride ourselves on never making eye contact with others. In fact, those that make eye contact are immediately marked as tourists. Personally, having grown up in Union City, where it’s insulting not to at least make eye contact, I have always been a bit terrible at the whole ‘dead stare’ forward.
I think of myself as a deep diver. I am this way in massage, conversations, my work, my writings- you name it. I am not a ‘scratch the surface’ kind of gal. I enjoy vulnerability; I see it as the truth of why we are all here together. I see it as how we grow our humanity and embrace each other. Perhaps it’s the Transformational Coach in me, but I am always listening for that inroad to peel away more layers, from others and from myself.
I often ask myself, “What is it we are so afraid will happen?” Gossip? Judgment? Let’s face it, the people who are going to do those things are going to do them until they realize there is more to give.
What I also find curious, is how a lot of conversations are people commiserating about what they perceived as negative. “How was your weekend?” “Oh, I had to weed the garden, and then the kids demanded we spend hours in the park even though it was raining.” But, what if we spin this from a place of true gratitude? What if it looks more like: “I got to spend time in my garden. My tulips are coming in so beautifully; they are simply breathtaking. Then I got to spend free time with my family that wasn’t on a deadline. We played together at the park and got absolutely soaked as we headed home for a night curled up together on the couch.” Can you feel the difference? Imagine what inspiration we could spark in others, and in ourselves, by simply changing the lens of our lives. I bet you will not get a simple, ‘fine,’ when you ask how their weekend was! And, if you ask me, there is not much gossip in gratitude. I guess there might be people who mock your positivity, but that’s really their issue, and none of your concern.
I suspect that my writings each week would be a great deal less impactful if I was unwilling to share about myself from a very personal place. If I wasn’t willing to share my flaws, my fears, or my truths, my words would ring hollow. I’m guessing though, that many of the scenerios I have shared, you yourself can relate to, and it is that relating that brings you back each week. My intention is to connect with you, and intention creates the energy in everything we do. If my intention was to sell you products, you would feel that. If my intention was to convince you to like me, you’d feel that, too. But, because my intention is to simply share from a place of learning and love, hopefully, that is what you feel from it.
I think it’s also essential that our body language matches our words. When I ask someone how they are doing, I stop what I am doing and give them my full attention. I show them that I have carved out time for them to respond, and that I am listening. Granted, I don’t always have time to stop and chat, so in those moments I look for something positive to share, such as: “It’s nice to see you.” “Hope you have a great day!” “Love your outfit!” These are not just phrases, they come from a place of love, with a sincere intention. Intention is everything.
Let your vulnerability be your light this week, and shine it forward.