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Inviting vulnerability to dine with me

Written on December 15, 2013 at 3:21 pm

Vulnerability is something we tend to leave out of our awareness, push away, not like, detest, and we can come up with so many ways of describing parts of ourselves that we tend to believe are not ours and therefore, belong elsewhere. Normally, others are vulnerable (“not me!”) and the ones who are so are seen as weak. It happens however, that we all can be vulnerable (indeed we are vulnerable beings; we are that fragile) and through allowing vulnerability to express itself, or to have a voice we can start to walk a path of learning with it. We can start to listen to the voices that for so long have been knocking on the door. The voices and feelings that are gagging to express themselves for so long, but that we decided to leave out (mostly in the attempt to protect ourselves from pain or discomfort). This is the same as inviting your friends for dinner, but leaving someone out because you forgot, or because you couldn’t be bothered, or simply because there is something about this person that you really detest. How do you think he/she will react when they learn about the dinner and haven’t been invited? They will feel left out and this will cause friction between both. This friction I also call suffering. I agree with Ken Wilber that suffering equals pain plus avoidance. So, by rejecting, repelling, ignoring our own vulnerabilities, is like leaving that one friend out. This is avoidance of something that is a part of us, no wonder the suffering it causes.

As soon as the parts of ourselves that we don’t like are slowly and gently invited to dine with the parts of ourselves that we like, we start to free ourselves from the burden of having someone continuously ringing the bell when we are dining. Isn’t that annoying? Imagine you are having dinner and that person you don’t want in, keeps ringing the bell? So much for the nice dinner, hey? As vulnerability sits with me, I soon start realising that something deep inside is able to have a voice and therefore, the energy I was spending by wanting it out, is suddenly freed. Now, I can hear and listen and care for the part of me that I was ignoring; in other words, I can become intimate with it. As soon as this happens, I realise that at my table, all along, there were empty chairs; I simply couldn’t see them and thought the table was full. So right now I have a choice, I can invite vulnerability to sit and dine with me, and the food and the moment can become much more enjoyable.

My clients, often resist to allow vulnerability to be expressed, so this is a very delicate process, yet fine as it is. They are normally scared of that part that has been left out. It makes so much sense to be scared, after all, we have left it out for long and therefore we don’t know it and what it is capable of. However, as they slowly allow vulnerability to sit and dine with them (through engagement in the coaching process), they start to realise the empowerment that can come with it. No longer do we need to keep avoiding our darker sides in the same manner… and, in the process of doing so, suffering is alleviated.

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