Just three days after our daughters returned to school I started showing signs of a bug shared amongst the kindergarten. A week later, it descended and targeted my reactive airway. I haven't touched a barbell in over a week and the emotional implications are settling in. Getting everyone fed, dressed and out the door the morning feels like running a marathon! I miss feeling strong and capable. I recognize this is temporary and that my strength will return. Still, this impasse has tuned me in.
As I struggle to breathe, many of my typical coping mechanisms are on hold...yet, what's left is being present. And yet, it's a daily challenge to get over myself enough to recognize where I am now, not where I want to be, or where I was a week ago, but right now, this place. And it's a gift really. As hard as it is to embrace in the moment. And I'm not sugar coating, it's incredibly difficult. It is a gift, too.
These, are the very 'tweaks I talk about in my work with clients. 'Tweaks that unstick us when we feel stuck. I have a choice. I can feel sorry for myself while I am recovering. Or, I can focus on and practice the art of coping with feeling vulnerable. Because that's what this really is all about. Its about the uncomfortable emotions that are uprooted by feeling less able, more dependant, weak and frail.
It is these uncomfortable, vulnerable, mortal moments that make up our lives. And the more we practice coping with these moments, and the uncertainty they evoke with us, the more fluid (and less sticky) our experience becomes.
These are human moments. Humanity isn't a comfortable experience. Our mortality is our only certainty. And yet, so often it's precisely these existential mortal anxieties that provoke discomfort and pain in individuals and relationships.
On a daily basis my client's share with me such discomforts and vulnerabilities and their relationship struggles that ripple out from these feelings. We humans don't enjoy feeling vulnerable, heck what animal does? Corner me and I'll defend myself. That's the stuff that makes for relationship struggles.
So what happens then when we suddenly realize that the relationship we are defending is our relationship with ourselves? With our wellness? This is precisely where I find myself as I write this. And also why I am calling this a gift. It's a moment to reflect on what happens when we stop defending and start listening.
When I slow down and embrace the moment, what happens?
Everything —E VE R Y T H I N G— because everything comes back to how we relate to ourselves. It's the one constant throughout our lives. Our relationship with our self. So when we don't allow for the moment, when life is always about defending against the vulnerability, how does that affect us? And how does it affect the relationships we hold dear?
Maybe, just maybe, my strength doesn't come from everything I am capable of doing but rather on how comfortable I am embracing my vulnerability.
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