Tag Archives: Risk

Trust

Pissouri Pilgrimage – Day 1

Cyprus

Sunday 4th October – 23.55 (local time)

I’m away as you can see…

greece-565926_1280For some strange reason I had a real feeling of trepidation about my journey and was almost in tears as I left this morning at 8am for my flight to Larnaca from Leeds & Bradford Airport. I had no idea why, I just felt so fearful; a complete feeling of dread was nestling in my chest and I nearly didn’t come. If it wasn’t for the fact that I would regret wasting the money spent and that I’ve had hassle changing bookings and etc. I think I may have chickened out.

But, I’m here now.

10 days…alone with myself abroad.

It’s quite daunting and I think this is what scared me, even though I have travelled alone before.

I did feel a little re-assured and calmed myself on the plane by playing with my angel cards, (I have brought them with me). Whether thy provide comfort or not I believe they do and so that’s all that matters.

Arrival

On the flight I sat next to Carol and her friend Margaret. Both phenomenal in their 70s (looking decades younger) and travelling to meet a friend who is very familiar with the island as she used to live here. They’ve both been before, but never alone and called me ‘brave.’ Hmmm… not sure I was feeling too brave at the time, but hey! I was still gripped by this in explainable fear, but you can’t exactly tell the pilot to turn around or stop the vehicle now can you?

Airport terminal and they were aghast that I had not sorted my onward journey and had no idea how I was going to get from Larnaca to Pissouri. It turned out to be quite simple. A bus from Larnaca to Limassol and then a taxi to Pissouri. The bus was only €9, a bit better than the £74 round trip it was going to cost for transfers when I tried sorting it from sunny Leeds!

buddha-709861_1280So there I am, pleased with myself that I’ve sorted the bus and I won’t have to spend a fortune and dip into an already sparse pocket. I have very little in the way of spending money due to Summer term work drying up sooner than I’d anticipated and I am still catching up with myself. I’m still panicky, so I remember to be grateful and tell myself I’m lucky to be where I am and to be having this experience. I focus on reminding myself that the universe will support me and that things will turn out OK…

I believe it (kind of), but I say it to myself none-the-less.

The girl done good…

superhero-534120_1280Well, just as this girl thought she’d done good, the bus driver says I have to get off at the first stop and get a taxi. Now when I bought the bus ticket the lady made it quite clear (she even circled it on the bus timetable she gave me), that I should get off at the second stop; St. George (a church – I get the impression there are quite a few churches here to say the least!)

Something tells me this is bit of a ‘swizz’ and the bus driver and taxi man are in cahoots, but I have no choice, my driver is going no further.

Pah!

€40…

YES,

€40 later I am at the apartment!

Don’t get me wrong, me and Mr. Taxi man had a lovely chat. It turns out his daughter is studying ‘Biomedical Science’ at Leeds University, Clever girl and a very small world indeed…

He has three children like me and like me has two girls and a boy. His son is just finishing school and will have to do National Service and daughter no. two they are trying to get a position within the navy or something as she tried studying in the UK as a make-up artist, but gave it up. I don’t think he was too impressed.

But, I’m at this point smarting from the realisation I may have been ‘HAD!’ and I’m seriously worried about how I’m going to survive.

This, I think was what my panic was about. I know how to penny pinch at home, but abroad when you need to pay for everything?

And who wants to feel restricted in such beauty? But then I tell myself I am as confined and restricted as I think I am.

Pushing through the fear

fear-617132_1280After orientating myself around the apartment, which is lovely by the way. Modern and very, very cleeeen! My kinda place. The lovely Theodora came up and introduced herself and gave me a bit of a run down. She’s from Eastern Europe, but says she likes the weather here.

A quick shower…

The panic rises again…

That first night out and dinner alone.

I talk myself down and take another couple of angel cards. Pretty Stupendous they are too: ‘Blessings,’ and ‘Archangel Michael.’

So off I pop, telling myself blessings are all around me, that Michael is with me and will take away my fear…

I’ve just returned from dinner (yes alone).

Halloumi, olives, pitta and hummus…delish! I DO love that cheese, and proper goat’s milk too, so no bilious belly and cramping later, but so very rich; I’m going to have to abstain and not indulge every day methinks.

People watching

photo-montage-556811_1280At dinner I people watched and gave thanks for the lovely food and the very handsome cats that hovered like vultures wanting anything that might fall from your table. I had visions of the god almighty bloody scrap that would ensue if all five (or was it six?) of them descended on some morsel I might drop and I was tempted to put it to the test, but declined.

After eating and feeling very satisfied and just whilst I was just taking in my surroundings, a gentleman started to eat the grapes that hung from the roof of the restaurant. I did for a moment think they were real, but there were so many and they seems so perfectly round and plum and juicy, I’d deduced they must be fake.

Xenios offered me some (at least he wasn’t called Costas – That was the taxi driver!) and I have to say they were delicious, though a tad dusty, but what’s a little dust between new acquaintances? We chatted and he seemed to know quite a few people…he is also, it seems rather accomplished as a businessman as he seems to run a lot of different enterprises. Anyway, no doubt I’ll bump into him again as he has a water-sports business on the beach.

Conversation over, I walked back to the apartment in that profound darkness that there always seems to be when you’re on holiday and marvelled at the fact that I could clearly see the constellations and I was so grateful for the lack of light pollution.

Trust

trust-482655_1280I decided to write up my day in a diary, but then realised that perhaps this trip will contain significant learning & insights that I can share, so here goes.

Today has been about trust:

Trusting that the ‘other’ source is there to support me and to support all of us.

Trusting myself and my instincts to get it right

  • I was tested and thrown into strange and unfamiliar situations and with people I did not know…
  • This frightened me.
  • I was tired and not wanting the challenge of having to do this all alone.
  • I had to rely on myself and more importantly, to trust that the universe would create the best outcomes for all concerned.

She did…but the outcome would have been very different I suspect if I’d gotten into panic and continued to have negative thoughts when my fear arose.

Like the boy in the Polar express I kept feeling my way when all I wanted to do was give up or turn around and go back.

  • I stayed in gratitude, trusting that I’d be OK…
  • I now believe I will be just that…OK.
  • I swallowed my fear and ventured out, when I wanted to stay in and hide and give myself the excuse that I’d just arrived and I could go out tomorrow.
  • Instead, I pushed through my panic and fear and…
  • I ate well
  • I made a connection

And the crème de la crème… I found a vegan raw food restaurant on the walk home…

Guess where I’ll be eating from now on?

Kale chips a plenty!

23.24 UK time and 1.24 Pissouri time. Time to sign off

Blissings & Much Love

Insightful Angel

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Safety

Happy Sunday All,

For some reason this morning, I was thinking again about what makes many of us dissatisfied or fearful or unable to deal with the challenges we face. Why aren’t we all living beautifully and blissfully 24/7 with beaming smiles on our faces? I deduced it comes down to ‘Safety.’Be Safe, love

Safety is the state of being “safe” (from French ‘sauf’ – To save), the condition of being protected against physical, social, spiritual, financial, political, emotional, occupational, psychological, educational, or other types or consequences of failure, damage, error, accidents, harm, or any other event that could be considered non-desirable. Safety can also be defined as the control of recognised hazards to achieve an acceptable level of risk. This can take the form of being protected from the event or from exposure to something that causes health or economical losses.

B…Me

be-423796_1280I posted a video on my Insightful Angel Facebook page yesterday (Insightful Angel on Facebook) and I’m going to go back and watch it over and over. You see in that video I was reminded that as children we are born and then spend our time just being who we are. Isn’t this as it should be our whole lives? That we simply work on being the best “ME” I can be? So what is it that makes us think as we grow that our meaning is no longer ‘within’ but ‘without?’

Safety!

For many of us, perhaps most of us, we experience (or think we do) something early on, or are told something. It could be a major occurrence that leaves an indelible memory and effect, or it could be a minor event that we are unaware has had any kind of impact; but this event, leaves us thinking or feeling, that the world holds some danger within it.

Obviously, we decide in the face of danger to protect ourselves and therein lies the rub!

Safeguard…Shield…Shelter

Let’s take a look at the word protect for a minute:

Protect

prəˈtɛkt/verb

  1. keep safe from harm or injury.

  2. keep safe, keep from harm, save, safeguard, shield, preserve, defend, cushion, shelter, screen, secure, fortify, guard

characters-696949_1280Now, I don’t know about you, but each synonym for protect implies a distance. There is the inherent act of creating a barrier when we try to live from a place of safety. It occurred to me that this is exactly the opposite of what we are here to do and be.

I know I bang on about children, but watch them…they’re amazing and embody all the freedom and light and expansiveness we see in the living world around us. They’re daring…relentless, happy (most of the time) and they’re really never concerned with comparing themselves to someone else.

I firmly believe we come here with everything we need to know about being abundant and happy and that we are a part of everything that is, yet we decide to ignore all of it in a desire to stay living from a place of safety.

It’s all in the feeling

When we learnt to walk, we were fearless and how many times did we fall over and yet get up again and again. We had a goal. Everyone around us walked upright and we wanted to do it too, so we tirelessly kept trying. We didn’t care how many times we got bruised, we let it go, ‘shook it off’ and started again.

Gosh how determined and independent!

Sister DanceAs we tried to speak and babbled and said silly incomprehensible words that made our family and friends laugh we didn’t care what they thought and as they laughed at us we laughed with them, pleased that we were making others happy and making ourselves happy in the process.

When a young child decides that they’re a superhero, you cannot convince them otherwise, when they smear themselves in paint (and not to mention your walls and furniture too!) they have no regard for anyone’s opinion as to whether it is ‘good’ or not nor if anyone likes it. They simply enjoy the process of creation and how it makes them feel.

encourage-866765_1280 Don’t hold back

It is my view that in trying to be safe we in fact create the very instability that we are hoping to avoid.

I’ll give you an example: Let’s take love and romance.

In our desire to be safe and not be rejected we never make that call to person we have feelings for.

In our desire to be safe and not ‘hurt’ we hold back and perhaps don’t allow our partner to truly ‘know’ us. Yet we crave connection on a deep, deep level and to be loved completely for who we are (inside and out).

How can this happen if we are ‘keeping from harm,’ ‘shielding,’ or ‘protecting’ some part of ourselves from the very person we say we want to be authentic and ‘open’ with?

Result: Because they (on that subtle non-verbal level) feel they cannot penetrate the ‘shield’ Or there is simply an impasse as you both spend your energy securing both of our defences, it becomes clear that the connection is not fulfilling your needs and one of you leaves. If lacking in courage, one of you will find someone else or some other excuse to break the connection.

Just do it!

superhero-534120_1280Instead of your ‘guard’ creating a place of ‘safety’ for you, you’re now adrift and feeling completely unsafe. You’ve created exactly the opposite of what you thought your protective measures would do for you. So now you’re left reeling finding it hard to understand ‘what the hell happened!’

In work or studies: Do you protect yourself by perpetually preparing, telling yourself you’re not yet ready, the product or programme is not ‘perfect?’ OR do you do ‘Just enough,’ or ‘what they pay me for?’ If that’s how you feel are you doing the right thing for you? Could you feel more empowered and contented in what you do if you took a risk and gave more of your time, your skills your attitude, paying no attention to the reward, but doing it for the JOY of it?

We have all heard the stories of those people who have reached a place of ‘success’ in their lives. I mean their personality and the work they do is aligned with their soul and they are in a place of contentment, a place of JOY.

In fact, no even those people who have created ‘success’ in material or criminal arenas have the same thing in common.

No safety Zone

It’s that they took risks.

fear-617132_1280They did not and do not live from a place of safety, they had a goal, an objective and they pursued it for themselves and how it made them feel, (just like the toddler engrossed in smearing paint), despite criticism and with scant regard for the opinions of others.

And guess what?

The wealth and notoriety and fame followed as if by magic!

  • Is there a place in your life where you’re feeling less than abundant?
  • How could you feel more so?
  • Are you holding back in some way, to avoid feeling vulnerable?
  • Are you in a constant state of preparation because really you fear criticism and/or disappointment?
  • If you’re still not in the space you want to be in, what have you got to lose?

For this week

calendar-547619_1280Take a risk…step out of your place of safety and SEIZE the opportunities the feelings the connections and the life, you know is Yours!

I’m excited to know what magic shows up for you when you do, so please leave a comment.

Blissings & Much Love

Insightful Angel

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Creating: Space to B…Me

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In search of Joy?

Hello there, How are you this Happy Sunday?

In this conversation I’d like us to consider how we can live, as I firmly believe we are here to live life, which is fully, completely, whole-heartedly and in Joy and NOT as drudges or in a perpetual state of tiredness making do, putting up with, accepting and OR running, running and running, to  feel as if we’re going no-where; wondering ‘is this all there is?’

The dictionary defines ‘Comfort.’ as:

  • 1. A state of physical ease and freedom from pain or constraint.
  • 2. consolation for grief or anxiety.
  • 3. Verb to feel less unhappy

Whereas ‘Joy’ is defined as:

  • 1. A feeling of great pleasure and happiness.
  • 2. Success or satisfaction
  • Synonyms cited are words such as; bliss delight, ecstasy, euphoria, rapture

Which do you choose?

right-238369_150Looking at both of these definitions, I know which one I would prefer to experience. How often though do we opt for the former state repressing and containing our joy ‘just in case,’ so we’re not too disappointed should our success/love/ambition be snatched away or worse still we fail?

On an episode of Oprah Winfrey’s ‘Super Soul Sunday,’ Dr Brené Brown discusses her *4 guideline for wholehearted living, which she says is:

  • ‘The cultivation of Gratitude and Joy.’
  • Letting go of scarcity and fear of the dark

‘When we lose our tolerance for vulnerability, Joy becomes foreboding.’

Brené continues this means:

I’m not going to feel you, I’m not going to soften into this moment of joy, because I’m scared. I’m afraid it’s going to be taken away from me.’ 

 

I recognise this scenario only too well myself.

fear-299679_640The fearful ‘What if?’

The younger version of me was a very contained person. I rarely cried. I had learnt early on to repress emotions, especially the ones which contained feelings of joy. In doing so I would never be disappointed. If I didn’t expect much than I wouldn’t suffer agony of not achieving/having my heart’s desire.

I was well practised at minimising the ‘joy’ and opted instead for the familiarity and less threatening ‘comfortable.’ Feeling joy is inherently dangerous.

These feelings are, more often than not followed by the thought that something ‘bad’ or unsavoury is just around the corner because it all feels just a little ‘TOO’ good and I know you know what I’m talking about!

Every so often we’ll do a little mental inventory of where we’re at.

Once we work our way down the tick-list and slowly realise that things are going good… not only that, things are good in all areas; work, home, parents, friends, financial etc…we begin to assume that it can’t ALL be this good and something bad is lurking just around the corner.

I’ve heard it from friends, family members and colleagues many times… ‘It won’t last…’ ‘Yeah I’m good… something’s bound to go wrong!’ and although we may say it ‘tongue in cheek’…somewhere deep down we believe it.

Without Vulnerability there can be no Joy

self-doubt-424968_1280At this point in my life I can honestly confess to you that I am living in JOY.

It’s amazing!

It’s where everyone should living

Not a day goes by without someone telling me how wonderful I look and that is because of the joy which simply oozes out from within me. It is a better state to be in than the ‘comfortable’ state of being in which I refused to feel, to express, to be too big, to dare too greatly incase it was all snatched away and I would be left bereft.

 

Opening up to JOY makes you VULNERABLE

Roller-Coaster OR Merry-GO-Round?

roundabout-57858_150The former choice is to choose the ‘Merry-go-Round’ of life. There’s some movement, but after a few times round you kind of get to know what’s coming up next. You’ve been here before, you can handle this, you’re armed and ready. No surprises!

The alternative is the Roller Coaster…It scares the S**t out of you, you don’t know if you’ll survive it…the intensity of it…it’s not safe, what if you fall off? So many uncertainties to counter. ride-61624_1280

But…let me tell you how wonderful it is to bite the bullet and ride that damned roller-coaster!

Yes! All the aforementioned fears are credible, but if you’ve every ridden a roller-coaster you know the thrill, the feeling of being alive that you experience. Every fibre of your being, every nerve ending, every sense is sharp and alert.

Expanded…more alert…more alive!

You feel expanded and fearful, yet strangely fearless at the same time. You’re out of control and vulnerable, stripped back and laid bare, much like the feelings you experience when making love…didn’t our dictionary offer up the synonyms ‘rapture,’ and ‘ecstasy?’

In that moment you can do nothing but surrender to the experience because whether in that moment you live or die is no longer in your control!human-329851_150

When we surrender…When we submit to vulnerability we expand

On reflection you realise you’ve expanded your being somehow. You’re somehow bigger, brighter!

You’re no longer shrunken and you can’t go back.

In fact the immediate want once you’ve jumped off a roller-caster is often to jump straight back on and experience it all over again because your realise the next time you will fully commit to FEELING the joy in what you’re doing.  You realise that the first time there was still some fear and a part of you was holding back.

Red pill or blue…which will you choose?

So this week…I’m challenging you (and myself) to be vulnerable. To allow yourself to climb onto the roller-coaster and go for the ride of your life!

Expose yourself…reveal… who you are…dare to submit and if you can do this alongside cultivating feelings of gratitude I guarantee you will not regret it.

Is there something you want to do or achieve that scares you? Great! make a change and take a step towards it. You’re scared for all the reasons I stated above, but be assured stepping into it will catapult you into such a feeling of joy and gratitude and expansion you will never want to ride the merry-go-round again.

I confess…

sad-girl-236769_150This week I realised a great fear I have had all my life…so here and now I will expose myself to you my readers, supporters and friends. If I am to support others on their journey I need to fully immerse myself in the principles I say I hold dear and so I’m allowing myself to be vulnerable and share with you my vision.

It’s one which scares me.

It feels arrogant and reminds me of all those times when asked as a child, ‘Who do you think you are?’ or as an adult accused (more than once) of thinking I am ‘better than everyone else!’

I forced myself to create a mission statement for my Personal Development and Coaching business this week and as I looked at the words I’d written in pink ink, I felt a tremendous fear rise and that familiar voice inside said ‘WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?’

So here in pink…I am declaring the me I am choose to be in this world: I declare that I aim to be:

“The Spark that ignites the power and potentiality in others.

To stand bathed in, fully immersed in my magnificence, power and abundance

and to always support others to do the same.”

The Challenge

Sure there are no guarantees…accessing your joy doesn’t mean life’s trials suddenly melt away, but boy are you more ready and capable of dealing with them and you’ll find you’ll come through stronger and more expanded…rock-climbing-403488_1280

A bigger, better version of you…

A version you accept and love…

The version of  you, you were always meant to be.

 

Blessings & much love

Insightful Angel

 

 

 

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The Gift

Happy Sunday all,

The Beatles sang it and many poets have written it, but how true is it that ‘All we need is love.’ but what does that mean and is it true? ‘How do we access the gift of life?’

This late posting indicates the challenge I’ve had with this week’s topic. A challenge because I have so much I could say it’s been difficult to know where to start and what to include, but I hope it makes sense and resonates with you on some level.

Love & hate?

love-209900_150We hold the belief that hate is the opposite of love. Yet my life and experience has taught me that it is fear which is love’s opposite. As I grow to maturity, I notice increasingly that where there is misery or anger or disdain or whatever negative behaviour being displayed, that it’s FEAR that is at the root of it all. Osho provides a great analogy.

He says fear is darkness. It is the absence of love. You cannot touch darkness, nor smell it or throw it or do anything with it. Darkness is the absence of  light. To revel the darkness you switch off the light, but you’re still doing something with the light. In the same way fear is present when you switch off the love, but the ‘switching off.’ is with the love.

‘If you love well fear disappears…If you love deeply fear is not found.’      – Osho.

Most of us understand that what it feels to be in the absence of fear. If you’ve every loved another, been in love with another or experienced the love for your child you will have experienced moments of profound joy love, and expansiveness. loving in this open-hearted way was the gift itself and yet it may only have been a moment, but in that moment did your feel fear?

When you love deeply, fear disappears you become fearless. Fearless people have no need to create fear within another nor do they allow another to create fear within them.

Are you operating from love?

How ready are you to become fearless and love unconditionally? Most of us harbour that secret desire to be loved unconditionally for who we are, however, are YOU truly loving in the same way. Take a look at the most significant relationship in your life right now, it may be with a partner, wife, husband, son or daughter or parent.

love-278579_150Are you being completely open…are you fearless in your interactions and vulnerable? are you able to give unconditionally? The minute we start to think the other ‘should do this,’ ‘should be like that.’ only than will/can I love you.’ then we’re beginning to stifle the very thing which allowed us to feel free and real in the first place.

Love cannot be corralled and leashed and controlled like a wild pony. When we do this we’re creating a transaction, a bargain.heart-142736_150

  • Do you love your partner when they’re providing but lose respect for them if they lose their job?
  • Do you hear their concerns or fears when they attempt to open up to you or do you dismiss them?

Be honest…is there some form of bargain or condition in operation or are you genuinely giving. Unconditionally, with an open heart?heart-195305_150

  • Have you become complacent and take their being there for granted?
  • Have you stopped bringing gifts and tokens to show your appreciation,
  • Do you thank them for the things they do to make your life happier/more comfortable.

When was the last time you looked at them with an open heart and told them exactly what you love about them and meant it no strings, no expectation of a return or because you need something from them?

Your relationship, your responsibility…100%

always-226324_1280If you recall the moments when you fell in love, there was no bargaining, no conditions, you were fearless. The gift was in the giving.

Once the love settles we begin to fear.

Forget about the other person what are YOU doing with regard to love?

This applies or your relationship with yourself too…don’t forget that.

Fear – a Long, Slow Death

Caroline Myss says we know when we have ‘Betrayed Ourselves.’ and done something that was not for the benefit of our soul. You get that twinge, that moment of ‘Ewww!’ Perhaps I shouldn’t have said/done that.

It resonates in the feeling part of you.

Are you compromising in some way?

Are you betraying yourself? Existing…persisting with a situation/state of existence that you know in some part of you is slow death?

Why?

Why is ego…Why is security…Why is fear!

Your ego closes your palm and says ‘keep this money. We know exactly how many gold coins we have here.’ But what if someone came along who wanted to give you a diamond? How can your receive this added abundance if your palm is closed?

To open your palm is to risk losing the gold.gold-295936_1280

Death has no risk! Your problem is solved…keep our palm closed.

There’s no sickness or rejection or unknowns in death.

Life is risky…I should know I’ve taken enough risks to have many of them, in the eyes of others ‘fail.’ But I’ve had immense joys from those risks too that I would never had experienced from choosing the ‘safe’ ego based option.

It happens to us all

For many of us, our child hood signified insecurity. Financial, emotionally, intellectual and/or physical…If you is insecure about your needs being met there will be fear.

sad-girl-236769_150Financial – You’ll fear poverty and lack & so ‘Hold on.’

Emotional – You’ll fear rejection and hurt & so resist vulnerability

Intellectual – You’ll fear ridicule and lack confidence

Physical – You’ll lack trust and will create barriers to connection often through your own anger or belittling or criticism

As a myriad of people on the planet exist, so too the different ways that we manifest our fears.

People Pleaser or Trust Vampire?

Our fears create scenarios for either ‘people pleasing’ or an inability to trust. We fear vulnerability, for to truly love is to lay oneself bare, to strip back the mask and show ALL that you are.

But…’what if they don’t like what they see?’

Fundamentally the underlying feeling is ‘fear.’

house-wall-113542_1280For the people pleasers, it’s the fear of ‘being wrong’ yet in fearing being wrong, you lack trust in yourself as you never developed this trust  your own actions. That indecision means you are prone to hastily decide on a course(s) of action to have it ‘go wrong’ and then you’re even more fearful, even more unsure of yourself the next time.

For the trust vampire…well, it speaks for itself. You never allow yourself to be vulnerable in any way, shape or form and so keep everyone and everything at distance.

You feel secure, you have surety and familiarity, you are protected.

Palm closed…

Secure… like the butterfly within the Chrysalis or the plant within the seed…

The Gift

butterfly-108616_150For the butterfly to come to fly free or the seed to become a plant… there’s breaking through.

There’s risk…

There’s struggle and pressure.

To fully blossom the plant has to risk the burning heat of the sun, the cold of the winds and the battering of the rain. But in breaking through the seed/Chrysalis’ outer casing, by opening up and releasing the palm, there lies the beauty…

Only then can you receive the gift…

Blessings & Much love

Insightful Angel

 

 

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Feelings & Vulnerability – What are we so afraid of?

Happy Sunday everyone!

Regret number three is a biggie! It’s about feelings. Our ability (or rather inability) to ‘put ourselves OUT THERE’ and be vulnerable.

zen-178992_150Feelings

Yep feelings…that topic that makes you want to squirm and run for the nearest cave, bury your head in your hands, rock backwards and forwards and suck you thumb, whilst crying for your ‘mummy.’ Feelings are connected to our sense of self, the need to control how others see us and to protect us from that major ‘bogieman’ (apologies to the men out there, but you get why I use the term) REJECTION! This Sunday I will take a close look at regret number three:

  1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not one others EXPECTED of me.
  2. I wish I hadn’t worked SO hard
  3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings
  4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends
  5. I wish I’d been happier

Let’s unpack this one for a minute. Expressing your feelings basically means revealing who we are on a deeper level. It means letting go of control, It means subjecting ourselves to uncertainty and taking a risk. It means connecting…openly and completely. It means accessing our vulnerability.

Vulnerable!

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When you take a risk more often than not, you are opting to step into a space that you haven’t experienced before, or you may have met with the situation before, but you know that in this space you are unable to control the outcome. Why the fear? Where does it come from? Why do we have a pathological resistance to opening up to others? What is it about being vulnerable that scares us so? In my examination of why we are reluctant to give free rein to our feelings I will refer to the work of the wonderful Brené Brown who provides us with an insightful analysis of vulnerability in her work;

‘Daring Greatly: How finding the courage and being vulnerable transforms the way we live, love, parent and lead’

Re-focusing the lens

woman-64146_150Being a teacher I see, on a daily basis, the trends and cultural shifts played out by our young people. In the past, perhaps like you, I was  guilty of accusing them of selfishness and self-obsession of being self-absorbed and lacking empathy or a sense community. On the surface, they seem obsessed with power, material wealth, beauty and being thought of as ‘special.’ I had to refocus my lens and adjust my position as my time in the classroom made it increasingly clear to me that their behaviour, rather than simply being a display of narcissism, is more symptomatic of their fear of being ordinary. It is a fear rooted in, as Brené says:

“the shame based fear of being ordinary…of never feeling extraordinary enough to be noticed or loved or belong or cultivate a sense of purpose.'(hence constant posting of ‘selfies’).

It’s increasingly challenging for people to believe they are ‘enough.’ Being ordinary is meaningless. You’re nothing unless there is a lens staring down at you. And with reality TV, celebrity culture and social media we’ve created a warped lens through which they look out at the world.

The idea that they’re only as popular as the number of Facebook ‘friends’ they have or the number of  ‘likes’ they get for the latest ‘selfie’ is a pervasive and insidious concept. When we re-focus the lens and look at their behaviour in a different way we realise that these symptoms are a result of a society conditioned to believe in the concept of ‘lack.’ There is, in our culture the overriding feeling of ‘not enough.’

Not enough

Today we’re bombarded with the message that nothing we do, say or be is every enough. old-peoples-home-63615_150We are never thin enough (Photoshop, the diet industry etc.) Perfect enough (plastic surgery, Botox etc.) Powerful enough, Special enough, Smart enough, Safe enough (crises in food, environment, unrest). You get the gist. The result of all this ‘not enoughness,’ is we’re just afraid to do anything. It’s become safer to operate in the virtual world where there is no judgment or criticism or failure. In her book ‘The Soul of Money’ Lynne Twist says: That scarcity is a ‘great lie.’ we’ve been sold

Our first waking thought of the day is “I didn’t get enough sleep.” The next one is “I don’t have enough time.” Whether true or not, that thought of ‘not enough’ occurs to us automatically before we even think to question or examine it. We spend most of the hours and the days of our lives hearing, explaining, complaining or worrying about what we don’t have enough of…before we even sit up in bed, before our feet touch the floor, we’re already inadequate, already behind, already losing, already lacking something. And by the time we go to bed at night, our minds are racing with a litany of what we didn’t get, or didn’t get done that day…This mind-set of scarcity, lives at the very heart of our jealousies, our greed, our prejudice and our arguments with life…'”

The Scarcity myth

poverty-81827_150When we believe in scarcity we are in a constant state of comparison and assessment. Considering how much we have and don’t have, how much we want, how much everyone else has by comparison, but this constant comparison means we are creating a feeling of under achievement and scrutinising our lives by ‘media perfect’ standards. According to Brown the scarcity paradigm thrives in ‘shame-prone’ cultures, but that we’re also ‘sick of feeling afraid,’ that ‘we all want to be brave’

Vulnerability = Bravery = Strength

How can we meet our desire to be brave if we have a pathological fear of being vulnerable? Being brave or courageous means being seen, it means stepping up and laying ourselves bare and rejecting the idea that being vulnerable means we are displaying weakness. demon-201439_150

In our society we see being vulnerable as shameful, as being associated with shameful memories or being disappointed. But people, I am here to tell you that Brené has confirmed through her social research what my life experiences had already shown me and what I want to share with you here.

If we want to get access to a deeper meaning in our lives, find our purpose, if we want to delve deeper into life and truly plunge the depths of our own possibility, vulnerability is key.

  • Vulnerability is opening up.
  • Vulnerability is taking risks.
  • Vulnerability is exposing yourself to joy and love and empathy.
  • Vulnerability is allowing yourself to be accountable.
  • Vulnerability is being your authentic self!

We mostly feel vulnerable when we are engaging in activities or decisions that place us on the edge. We are reclaiming that ‘feeling’ part of our lives, the part that generates emotions such as ‘exhilaration.’ Yet, we need not fear our feelings… Yes being vulnerable is scary, we could be hurt, have our heart ripped out and trampled on, but what’s the alternative? Protect yourself? Play it safe?

Playing it safe

Playing it safe means living a life in fear. FearIt means a life in which you close yourself off from interaction and scrutiny, but vulnerability is being courageous. Yes! It is the more challenging path; Yes! We’re taking a risk; Yes! We are laying ourselves bare; We’re naked in a room full of people with their clothes on! Yet when we see vulnerability in others we applaud it.

We admire the person who will stand up and do a speech, we call it courageous. So how is it vulnerability is weakness in ourselves, yet courage in others? We applaud it when others have the strength to open up to us and ‘put themselves out there,’ yet we seem to have a pathological fear of doing the same ourselves.

Allowing your vulnerability to show means you’re opening yourself up to:

Possibility…Infinite Potentiality…Limitlessness.

Life’s great dare

flag-107402_150As Brené reminds us; ‘Vulnerability is life’s great dare’ the more we open ourselves up to daring the greater our potential for ‘being seen.’ and living (as I call it) a ‘life less than ordinary.’ Daring to be vulnerable creates the FREEDOM you seek and the CONTENTMENT you crave and the LOVE you deserve.

I’m going to leave you with a quotation:

“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 the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” 
― Brené Brown

Blessings & much love

Insightful Angel 

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