It never fails that when my to-do list is a mile long, that my body decides it wants to take a break from the action. So instead of prepping for the Man Unit’s 45th birthday tomorrow and the college boy’s arrival from school in a few days (he is bringing his girlfriend home to meet me…Zoinks!) I am nursing a rather uncomfortable head cold. Of course sickness is useful as I have learned because it serves often as a period of involuntary mindfulness though at the moment this period is feeling more like a strong case of acid reflux.
Maybe it’s a coincidence; then again maybe it’s not. This week has been laden with vulnerability minefields just as I started getting into reading Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly. For those not familiar with Brene Brown, she is a researcher who works with oh so unsexy topics such as shame and vulnerability. A local pal turned me onto her work last year and I have been hooked ever since.
Though let me just say that reading about an issue and experiencing it and working through it are two totally different issues. All week, I have been grappling with the unpleasant reality that after overseeing four glorious years of growth at the agency that I head up, the tide has shifted. Hard times abound for small agencies in this region and no matter how dynamic I am, and marvelous my ideas, I and by extension my agency have hit the wall. Right now I am grappling with some very real and hard choices that may include a thousand less meals for kids already living with scarcity this summer. For shits and giggles, add in the fact that jobs may be on the chopping block. (My staff/board already knows this, so no, I am not sharing organizational secrets) Ultimately I will do the best that I can but it is hard when you know people are depending on you to ensure that they can continue doing things such as making their rent and car payments and you don’t have the answers.
Despite the baby steps of growth I have taken in recent years to accept what I can and can’t do, I struggle mightily when I fall short in my own eyes especially at the professional level and ultimately I know where it comes from. Yet in these moments being open and honest about reality is often what pulls me out of my self-inflicted inadequacy hole.
Last night though as I thought I was on the road to making peace about the professional situations I am facing, my vulnerability monster decided to come back out to play. I learned that a longtime supporter of my work decided to end our relationship. The details aren’t important but when someone who has taken the time over the years to help move you on the path toward fulfilling a lifetime dream ends the connection, it hurts. I was initially embarrassed to admit even to the Man Unit that I was hurt by this person’s actions but when I took the baby step of telling him, he immediately understood and didn’t belittle my feelings.
In a world where we seem less willing to admit our true feelings, I admit writing this feels strange yet I know holding onto it definitely isn’t good for me. Though in this moment, I am reminded of how I often tell my seven year old that she is entitled to her feelings, and it’s okay to be hurt and saddened.
Vulnerability doesn’t feel good, in many ways it reminds me of yoga class. I don’t love getting up and going to class in fact if left to my own devices, I would never go. What I do love is what yoga gives me. As hard as my mind fights being present, by the end of a class I am whole again. I am present and at peace with myself as I am and the world as it is. Vulnerability is much the same way, it hurts at first but when we give it a chance, it gives us so much back in return.