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Writing on Air by Jim Paredes

Archive for July 10th, 2016

To be vulnerable 1

Posted on July 10, 2016 by jimparedes

HUMMING IN MY UNIVERSE By Jim Paredes (The Philippine Star) | Updated July 10, 2016 – 12:00am

Most people are afraid to be vulnerable.

When we think of vulnerability, we imagine being defenseless, without any protection.

We fear that we are exposed to trouble or potential harm, that someone or something may hurt or destroy us.

To be vulnerable is to be at the mercy of outside forces. Anything can happen and it can leave us hurt, powerless, destroyed.

To be vulnerable is to have no security, no assurances of being safe or well, to be subject to uncertainty and risk.

We are born vulnerable. A newborn baby is extremely fragile. Even if we are born healthy, we can die in a day or two if we do not get the necessary sustenance, or if we are left exposed to the elements. An infant is totally dependent on other humans to survive and to thrive. It is completely helpless.

And yet, helplessness is a kind of power as well. When a baby cries, doesn’t a parent drop everything to check on what’s wrong? It makes people around the baby act, show concern and fix whatever is the matter.

All of life is vulnerable to something. There is a physical law called entropy that threatens all physical and material things. Everything tends toward decay: everything rusts, rots and eventually gives way to destruction. If we do not actively prevent things from crumbling, they surely will. It is nature’s way.

One might say that vulnerability is part of the human condition. While we fear it and go out of our way to protect ourselves, our loved ones and the things we own, we really do not have ironclad protection. Life will always hurt us, somehow. And in the end we will all die.

But what if, instead of hiding or worrying about our vulnerability, we embrace and accept it? What would happen? Will we get hurt? We could, or maybe we won’t. Anything is possible. But to relax and let down our emotional, psychological and physical defenses, to let go of certainty and just open ourselves to life, can be liberating.

When we do, we allow the world to change and shape us. We open ourselves to new experiences like love, learning and change. We open ourselves to creating and being re-created.

Criss Jami, an American poet, essayist and philosopher, wrote: “To share your weakness is to make yourself vulnerable; to make yourself vulnerable is to show your strength.”

This is so true. In a world that controls people with exaggerated fears of danger and failure, it is awesome to see people who defy these dictates and succeed in what they set out to do. You can’t get anything done without exposing yourself to some risk.

How can you start a business without risking anything? How can you love someone without the risk of pain and loss? How can you grow and mature without leaving your comfort zone of truths and beliefs that may no longer work for you, and embrace new ones? Everyone who has lived has gone through pain, error and loss. They have also learned a lot about authenticity and being true to oneself.

“Real dishes break. That’s how you know they’re real,” wrote the late Marty Rubin, a gay activist and writer from South Florida. To be vulnerable is to live life in a magnified manner. Joys and hurts are felt deeply. But all of living is more intensely experienced.

Sometimes, it is better to be sorry than safe. Even when you are hurt there is something to be learned. The more vulnerable you are, the stronger you become.

As you begin to awaken to your inner strength, you realize that your true identity lies beyond your physical appearance, ego and feelings. Your essence is divine. Only the ego gets hurt. Your authentic self is invincible.

So drop the heavy armor. Feel the wind on your body, allow your being to come alive and declare yourself to the world. To be vulnerable is to be free — and alive.

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