In November 2015, I wrote about vulnerability in response to the terror attacks in Paris (read it here). Though months have passed since, the topic is still relevant today and will likely remain so for a long time to come. And why is that? Why is it that the conversation about vulnerability doesn't have a time cap?
I'd like to suggest that it's because vulnerability is like the pulse that signals our aliveness. As long as we are alive, we are vulnerable.
While our 21st century and western sensibilities (not to mention our egos) might not like this response, the truth is that we cannot run away from vulnerability. We can hide from it. We can push it away. We can even deny it. But sooner or later, it will stare us in the face again and beg, "Notice me!"
Sadness will show up in your life, and you'll feel like crumbling. Pure and utter joy will come for a visit, and you'll feel fragile. Hurt, anger, and unconditional love will stare you in the face and remind you that you are vulnerable, raw, exposed, open, and... alive.
As seasons change, as life happens, as the world keeps experiencing trauma upon trauma, there is a place where we can honor our vulnerability, keep ourselves protected, and feel the full breath of our very own aliveness. There is a place and the place is you. Right here. Right now.
When we embrace vulnerability, we transform it from a weakness into our greatest resource of strength.
Wanna learn more? Not sure how to embrace your vulnerability? Or how to feel vulnerable and yet protected? Please join me this Sunday, Sept 25, 2-4:15pm for a meditative workshop on vulnerability. Details and registration @ shiraozsinai.com/vulnerable--alive.
Can't join me for the workshop? Call me for a free consultation @ 240 - 839 - 1661 or schedule your next acupressure session @ http://www.shiraozsinai.com/acupressure1.html.
For as long as you are alive, may you always feel the pulse of your own aliveness.
-- Shira Oz-Sinai
Please share your reflections, reactions, and comments below. Thanks!
For years now, I've been bringing the light of awareness to the dark places in my past in order to look at, better understand, and tend to the parts of me that were left on "pause."
"Pausing" is a healthy reaction to trauma. It happens when things in the moment simply feel too much to handle. Like during a car accident, while witnessing violence, or when under attack. There might be too much shouting, too much hurting, too much violence, or too much fear. If it feels too much to you in the moment, your nervous system will likely perceive it as an assault and react accordingly.
In these moments, the aware, resourceful, and resilient part of yourself might say, "Time to check out!" In psychology, this checking out or "pausing" is referred to as dissociation, a symptom of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) that often carries a negative connotation. The way I see it, "pausing" is a brilliant human mechanism for survival. If the aware-me recognizes that "this is too much to handle," it simply shuts off the part of me that is experiencing the too-muchness. I'm still alive. I'm still more or less functioning. And, the part that feels the "too-muchness" gets to take a little break. Efficient, isn't it?!
While "pausing" is a real healthy reaction in the moment, it can become a real obstacle when big chunks of your life remain on "pause" and/or when "pausing" goes on automatic (i.e. it happens without you noticing).
Typical signs that some part of you went on "pause" are: not remembering what happened during a certain event or time in childhood or later years, feeling not like yourself and unsure as to where the real you has been lately, and feeling as though you stepped outside of yourself and maybe outside of time, too (body present, but the rest of you not so much).
This is by no means a clinical list or a comprehensive one either. These are examples from my own experience and signals that I have learned to watch for as markers of checking out or "pausing."
When "pausing" goes unnoticed and untreated, it can really inhibits one's movement in life. I mean that literally because it shows up as tension, aches, and pains in the body. But also metaphorically, as emotional blockages hinder your relationships and work, and you feel trapped in limited and limiting patterns of thought and behavior.
Now, if you're reading this and feeling "this is me!", please do not despair. While we cannot change what happened in the past, we can definitely heal the parts of ourselves that got put on "pause." We can bring these parts to resolution and integration in our whole being. This is true healing, and this past weekend, I got to do just that! (Finish reading HERE).
Shira Oz-Sinai is a spiritual teacher trained in iRest® Yoga Nidra meditation and Soul Lightening Acupressure®, two modalities that share the common principle of noticing what arises in awareness as the foundation to living life with ease and in deep and loving friendship with yourself. These are her musings.