I lived for many years,about 35 of them to be exact, believing that to get through or be thriving in life, I needed to protect and harden my heart.
I was convinced that vulnerability was a fate worse than death and torture and that to be successful in any way, I needed to toughen up.
So I proceeded to be inauthentic in relationships, simply saying what the other person wanted to hear, to avoid conflict, or on the other end of the spectrum, arguing with anything they said simply because I could.
I practiced any talk or workshop I would hold so that if there was anything emotional I might get ‘caught up’ on, I would eliminate it or practice it enough that it became script.
I opened up to no one in a real way and began to master the art of at least looking like I had it all handled. It worked, for quite some time.
What a hoax. When I think now of the enormous amount of energy I channelled into living a lie, I feel ill on a physical level.
When I remember how hard I worked to stay protected and in defense mode, I am amazed at how I was able to maintain any sort of existence.
If sadness creeped in, I stuffed it, with food, alcohol, people, you name it, as long as I did not have to feel vulnerable, I was golden.
I am happy to say that my path, despite myself, has led me to a place of discovery that I feel beyond blessed to be in.
Over the last few months in particular I have found myself living in a constant state of wonder and amazement.
I have somehow landed in this place of beauty that invokes in me the deepest sense of love and acceptance I could ever fathom.
I believe this miracle to be largely due to the amazing humans I am surrounded by. These potent, loving, accepting, trusting, reliable beings that when I am around them I feel….. whole, safe and loved, unconditionally.
Something started to happen when I was in this energy… I started to soften, to open…. to talk about some things that hold great sadness and pain for me.
I would struggle with the old feeling of needing to close up, but continued to step into the uncomfortable (to put it mildly) process of being vulnerable. I began to speak my truth, some of it sometimes, all of it other times, and magic happened.
I noticed that the more I spoke my truth, no matter how raw, the more I was held in this and the easier communication became.
My relationships have deepened, I have attracted new light beings into my life that have done nothing short of assist me in an epic transformation.
The people I am authentic with become vulnerable also, we can hear each other, relate and grow.
I am able to look around me and see the divine miracle in everything…. ok not so much in people that insist on not using their blinkers, but everything else.
Every tear, every cloud, every smile, hug, tragedy and kind gesture, I see them for the miracles they are.
I am able to look behind me in gratitude and ahead of me with grounding and centeredness that is based on nothing outside of myself.
I feel at the centre of my being a strength that is not only related to my vulnerability, but IS my vulnerability.
Years ago when one of my teachers quoted to me “Your strength lies in your vulnerability” all I could think was “ I want my money back.”
Today, in this moment I totally understand, on every level, in all dimensions, that a life with an open heart, creates an open mind.
In this, I have been able to let go of judgments that kept me isolated, accept myself in all of my imperfections and truly, truly feel joy that I never thought possible.
I am blessed in this life, with friends that consistently wrap their arms and hearts around me,even when I am being cranky or cantankerous.
With a son who I feel fortunate to laugh with, adventure with and see on a soul level. With work that fills my heart and lifts my spirit in service in a way that heals me and fulfills me.
With people that support me when I am in need or in subtle ways that I am beyond grateful for.
I know, none of this would be accessible had I not moved into being vulnerable, opened my heart and sat in what felt like the largest risk I have ever taken.
As long as I live, I vow never to close myself off again or to live in an state of protection that keeps me small and alone.
In this life it is my wish, for all of us, to walk , head held high, in grace, speaking our truth, hearts in hand.
We walked along the edge of the river as the sun shone brightly overhead gently illuminating our path, our faithful companion trotting ahead eagerly awaiting more ball tossing.
It had taken almost an hour for me to convince my 16 year old son to come for a walk with me and I wanted to soak up my time with him as much as I did the fresh air and sunshine.
He has no idea really, the depth of my love for him or how much I appreciate his presence and I am not sure it is possible that he will ever fully understand that.
I watched his 6’5” frame move along in extreme lankiness but also with a grace I had not noticed before. When did he transition out of gangly? Hell, when did he stop being 7 and calling me mommy?
We walked for some time in silence, perhaps neither of us wanting to fill the space with meaningless banter.
As we walked together, each in our own thoughts, I heard his voice say “Mom, do you ever wish you didn’t have kids?”
I hesitated, not because I was not sure of my answer, but more so because at the time, I could see no way to form an answer he could conceivably understand.
After a drawn out pause I said, “No, I don’t wish that, I do wish I had done things differently, but not that I never had you.”
This question caught me off guard, not because I don’t welcome the conversation, but in that brief moment, perhaps I did have to actually think about what that meant. Or more accurately what motivated him to ask.
My hope was that I could of opened up totally and told him exactly what I wished I had done differently.
But like so many times before when I could have chosen to be authentic with him, I didn’t.
I let my answer hang in the air as incomplete as a day at the beach without swimming.
It pains me sometimes to be vulnerable with people I love, at times it feels like the hardest thing in the world, my son has been a remarkable teacher for me in this arena.
I live my life trying not to harbour regrets for the choices I have made. I feel deeply that I would rather put my energy into creating the life I do want rather than looking back in condemnation at my past.
However, there are indeed things I wish I had done differently as a parent, they don’t plague me with despair as they once did but they are there, as constant reminders of my own evolution, individually, and as a mother.
I spent some time after our walk reflecting, if I could have been vulnerable with my son in that moment, this is what I would of said.
I wish that the 9 months that I carried you I had focused more on the miracle of creation that was happening inside of me rather than the fear of losing you.
I wish that I would of trusted myself more as a woman, that my body was designed to hold you and birth you, rather than be swayed by the medical system and treated as if I had a disease that needed to be treated.
I wish that when I brought you home and felt so alone, I would have reached out to other women for support, so that I could of been better for you.
I wish that I would of rested with you, holding you in my arms, rather than running myself ragged trying to clean or get my space in order for fear that it would look like I didn’t have it all together.
I wish I would of taken longer off of work to be with you, to enjoy being a mom, to get to know you in a way I watched your daycare lady achieve.
I wish I would of sat down on the floor with you, looked you in the eyes and played more, instead of trying at any given time to accomplish 20-30 things.
I wish I would of been gentler with you, that I would of taught you with love in place of fear.
I wish I could of been the mom who was totally content being home with you, but I craved outside stimulation.
I wish I had been less reactive with you, that I had enough self control not to raise my voice when you triggered my impatience or that I could of just paused, for one second before yelling.
I wish I could of developed the skills so necessary to assist you earlier on, so that I could of been a better role model, a more effective parent for you.
I wished I had relaxed into you, into your growth, into your fears, into you.
I wish I has asked you more questions, about how you saw the world and how you felt, rather than impose my own onto you.
I wish I had been more honest with you about my feelings at times rather than project anger on to you that you didn’t understand.
I wish I could of been vulnerable, instead of trying to be heroic for you. I know now, our heroism IS our vulnerability.
I wish I would of touched you more, hugged you, scratched your head, your back, simply revelling in the miracle of you.
I wish my temper had never gotten the best of me,
I wish I could of taken away every pain you experienced at the expense of unconscious people, including myself, especially myself.
I wish I had known myself better so that I could be there for you in a way that was beautiful
I wish I had never taken for granted your childhood, your presence, no matter at what age
I wish when people said to me, “Enjoy it, it goes fast.” that I would of believed them.
There is not a day that goes by that I don’t wish I had never hurt you
I wish with all of my heart that I could take away the times I did
I wish I had been more present for you, in the moment, rather than living behind or ahead.
I wish I had understood this journey, that it is a classroom, that we are both just learning, that I would make mistakes
I wish I would of told you more how proud I am of you, what an amazing individual you are and how much confidence I have in you.
Never for one moment of my life have I ever wished I never had you, you are the reason I still walk this earth and the reason I have made the choice to be a better human.
You are my motivation for spiritual evolution and you are the reason I work on and practice integrity in my life. It is because of you that I made the choice to deal with my pain, and it is you that propels me to continuously become aware of my unhealthy patterns and cycles.
When we are together and our egos are laid down, those are some of the most fulfilling and beautiful times I have experienced. You constantly delight me with your kindness, humour and compassion.
I cannot imagine my life without you in it and there is not a day of my life I am not in deep gratitude for the gift of you.
My wish for you, that you always know how much I love you, despite my behaviors or my words at times, that you know that my desire to be better and do better is a consequence of you.
I wish, in this life that you will live fully, connected to source, confident of your path, surrounded by the love that you are, embodied with the joy you have brought to me.
I wish, that no matter where you go, where you are and who you are with, you will feel the power of the connection that binds us, the incredible depth of my love and the infinite potential of what and who you are.
I wish you knew that you are and always will be the most magnificent part of my life. Out of any choice I have made, it is you that I am most proud of.
We walked home laughing and joking as we often do, and as I looked at my son, taking in his character, his energy, his heart, I knew without a doubt it has all been perfect, all of it, every heartbreak, every precious moment of gratitude, every challenge, I am deeply grateful for it all.