November 14, 2015

#365 Quote, Vulnerable

November 13, 2015

If you want, skip my words and head straight for the links - especially the one about holding space.

Today the answers came. They arrived, wrapped in parchment paper and tied with string wrapped 'round and 'round and 'round and knotted in tiny bows on top. The missing puzzle pieces. This morning. In the mailbox. As I type this.

Just Because It Makes Me Happy Donna at Pic Me Up

Don't throw any of yourself away. Don't worry about a grand scheme or unified vision for your work. Don't worry about unity – what unifies your work is the fact that you made it. One day, you'll look back and it will all make sense. 

Sarah P Miller, Dream Work, Let us make like jewel squid at 5,000 feet

Most of the things I've been struggling with lately are rooted in feeling vulnerable. I'm not talking about choosing to be vulnerable, the Brene Brown version of vulnerable, which is powerful, no argument, but which is about being seen, being truthful, being imperfect, being known. I mean the state of not feeling secure, not feeling protected from damage or harm. 

I've been thinking of being lost. In the good way. In the absorbed way. Of how I long all day to sit down to write. To clear branches from the windrow. How I get lost in the hours of it. The satisfaction of focus. Absorption. I've been thinking of loss. And how this dog-loss, how any loss, brings back round all the loss. All the loss of all the time. And how to harness all of that loss-bringing for good. Because, it's been a year, and there is still a whole lot that has not left me yet, despite wanting it to go, that clings to the wrinkles in my brain and the wrinkles in my skin despite the amount of scrubbing or wishing or opening palms to let go. I am hoping this loss will simmer on the stove of thought, bringing up all the scum and bubbles and film to the top of the pot, so I can skim it off and fling it in the sink, to rinse down the drain. Only the clear, nourishing, warm, deep taste of the good stock remaining.

Sarah's words flipped a switch. A notion of, in looking back and in surveying this year, how far I've come. That in this year I walked from the negative end of the vulnerable spectrum (the not feeling secure, not feeling protected kind) all the way to stand in the powerful, imperfect and open interpretation of the word. From one kind of vulnerability to another. The scary kind to the willing kind. I hadn't seen it that way before.

I have been pondering vulnerability, turning it around in my head. Where to find the strength in it. The mystery of it. The unknown of it. How to hold that feeling in my heart - the one that is either anxiety or pinching or peaking-at-the-top-of-the-roller-coaster right before you fall down the big hill or joy or anticipation - and waiting it out long enough to hear and feel exactly what that feeling in my heart is. The waiting and the not knowing is scary, but with patience that right answers come. It helps to know that making mistakes is okay, welcome. It really helps to know that trying to do it all perfectly, as some sort of protection, is not a fail-safe (thanks E).

“Out of your vulnerabilities will come your strength.” - Sigmund Freud
 
“We are not trapped or locked up in these bones. No, no. We are free to change. And love changes us. And if we can love one another, we can break open the sky.” -Walter Mosley
 
“My destination is no longer a place, rather a new way of seeing.” -Marcel Proust
 
“I beg you, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.” -Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet
 
“If we don't change, we don't grow. If we don't grow, we aren't really living." - Anatole France

I was nervous to face November. I am not actively holding on to the the dark and bad of the past. Or at least I didn't think that I was. I am not holding on, but I realize I am preemptively buffering. I am sheltering myself from bad feelings, crouching a bit - as if in a haunted house and expecting, waiting, anticipating that something scary is just around the corner and possibly just may jump out to get me. I was afraid that I would revisit all of it in this month of suddenly short-and-dark-days. A year later. That the calendar pages might jump off the wall and grab me and shake me. It may be that piece of me that feels like I still have to pay for my mistakes, that I am not allowed to be happy yet. The part of me full of blame. Regret. Mis-action. Shame. A part of me that feels I am not yet allowed to let go. But there has been just enough shake-up this month, and re-framing, and loss, and distraction from that fear and heaviness, and enough reminders of the importance of being light and full of shine in this one, short life - enough to say FUCK IT. To turn the lights on and not be afraid of my own joy, happiness, lightness, exuberance, fullness, spirit and glitter.

I deserve to be happy. You deserve to be happy. (Whatever that means).

I visited my physician this week for my annual physical. She was in a rush, and clearly didn't revisit my chart. She asked me how have you been since I saw you last? (and I saw her last in January, seeking a prescription for anxiety medication in some of my not-best-days), and - because she framed that question that way - despite the dead dog and a very overwhelming week - all I could say was really, really good. And in reflection that afternoon, I realized if she had asked me how I was in that moment - I would have given a different answer. An answer full of dead-dog and overwhelm and constipation and stuck-ness and PMS. But she asked me how I have been in the last year?. And to that question, there is no other answer than This is one of the best years of my life and I am so grateful. Thanks for the long view, doctor.

This thought of vulnerability brings back thoughts of this late July musing on the openness required to get to know a new-to-me-person. I'm glad for the chance to practice that. It's a lovely dance.

And today's quote, it brings me back to whatever it is that is happening here. Thanks for showing up to keep me accountable, thanks for creating a safe space to be vulnerable. We all need those special places. Often I type away and click 'Send Now' and fall asleep with that uncomfortable feeling of regret and I've-shared-too-much and worry and with all the anxiety of feeling naked in the middle of the street with the potential to be rejected and unloved come morning. But those restless nights seem to be followed by mornings with the most notes back from you all saying and this is how I see it or thanks or keep at it! So, the only appropriate way to end this is with some sort of thank you. I don't know what kind, so I'll keep it simple. Thank you for helping me be brave.

Tomorrow is a new day. Word on the street is it will be one full of sunshine. I think I have a need to shed a layer of rough, dry, old, leathery snake skin, and find a new kind of naked. And sun myself on a warm rock in my fresh, new skin.
 
- - - - -
Things I noticed today...
I needed this.
Hugs with extra squeezes.
vanessa
- - - - -
From the archives, so they don't get lonely...
August 31, 2015
Thinking from the barn roof. I know. I knew. I have always known how big a part of my life Miss Fierce was. I am grateful to read back to every post and see her referenced, know exactly where she was when I was writing, to reminisce of our adventures. It makes me glad and grateful when she pops up. So glad to have been blessed with such a steady companion. xo.
- - - - -
| Find the #365Quote Project | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | TinyLetter | Subscribe |