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​Spiritual Friday: Vulnerability

Owning our story can be hard, but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky, but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy – the experiences that make us most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light. -Brené Brown

When we live with shame and a sense of unworthiness, we don’t feel a sense of love and belonging and we don’t want to be seen. Vulnerability means allowing others to see us, all of us – it is the courage to be imperfect.

Our topic Friday was vulnerability, being authentic and letting go of who you think you should be to be who you really are. We spoke about how spirituality helps us be vulnerable and how vulnerability is actually a spiritual practice.

I played a song by India Arie called “Break The Shell”:

When I asked the patients what they heard, they answered:

  • “Cracking my shell – coming out finally and facing the world as me.”
  • “Being in darkness, moving into light.”
  • “A life without pain is a wolf in sheep’s clothes. Pain is inevitable and it’s ok.”

I hope you enjoy it as much as the patients did.

After our musical meditation and some reading, I played the video below. Please take the time to watch it as it is incredibly powerful. I didn’t plan on showing a video this week, but after watching it, I felt that I needed to share it. The title is about bullying, but it is about so much more: vulnerability, self-love, and courage.

The patients were so touched by this video.

In smaller groups, all the leaders were really touched hearing how many of our patients were bullied growing up. Several of our male patients spoke of crying and how this made them feel so vulnerable. A few comments were:

  • “I can’t help anyone else if I’m not willing to be vulnerable.”
  • “I feel really vulnerable when I receive a compliment.”

A visiting parent shared this: “I guess I’ve been bullying my own child by wanting them to be something they’re not and not loving and accepting who they are.”

What makes you feel vulnerable? Some answers included: Loneliness, fear, public speaking, having to trust, and having to ask someone to be a sponsor.

I had a few leaders answer this too.

How does G-d, your Higher Power, and Love help you be vulnerable?

“I’d be willing to look at myself if I felt loved. I wouldn’t be so afraid.”

The patient community seemed very awake to this topic. They were also very supportive and loving with each other.

I ended the group with this lovely quote:

The day comes when remaining the same becomes more painful than the risk to grow. And when that happens there are many goodbyes. We leave old patterns, old friends, old lovers, old ideas, and some cherished beliefs. Loss and growth are so often one and the same. – Phoebe Eng

Reverend Laurie Durgan