Saturday, March 23, 2013
Canary in a Coal Mine-The Danger of Being Vulnerable
The morning after I did the interview for the local newspaper about my blog I woke up in a state of unsettled, rattled nerves. Fear ate my breakfast and dogged me all day. I knew when the article hit the presses in my home town I would be showered with love and well wishes..and I was. Why was I so full of fear?
A very special friend had sent me the link to Brene Brown's TedX talk on vulnerability just weeks before. I had watched, wept and learned. Now my life was presenting a place for me to practice being vulnerable.The back story here is that I have done the work (retreats, workshops, therapy, 12 steps..etc) You name it, I've done it, read it and practiced it.....in pursuit of a place of peace with myself and my past. I have worked hard, fought hard and struggled. I have made colossal missteps followed by extraordinary accomplishments. Why was I in such a state of panic over a newspaper interview? I really thought I was done working and could coast through this blog, find some recordings of my father, watch them and go along with my life. How grown woman and stoic of me.
My fear is like the "canary in a coal mine". It always has been. I know when I am about to rip into some well hidden pain because fear comes flying up to the surface first. An indicator of a greater danger. The danger of vulnerability.Just like harmful gasses in the mines, fear is invisible and sneaks up on you. I was having a vulnerability hangover (Thank you Brene!) I had gone too deep in the coal mine. I had shown open heart right there on the front page of the newspaper.
Vulnerability = allowing myself to be really seen by revealing this part of my story. Asking for help and telling strangers about my lack and loss has left me in a place of paralyzing fear. Brene Brown tells me to have the courage to fully "embrace my vulnerability" and live with my whole heart. The fear is my indicator (Canary) that I have stepped into great openness. The protective, never let them see you cry, side of me is NOT happy. Feeling completely emotionally naked, my protector has sent this nauseating fear to warn me to back out of the "coal mine". Run!
I thought I had worked through this. You know...the fire walking and all. And then a few things occurred to me.
1. I want everyone to think I am healed and totally fine. After all I am 45 years old. I've done all this work around grief. I mean really! Put on your big girl panties and move on.
2. And this is the big one.... What if I actually find a recording? The more I get the word out, the more people know about it, the more energy I create around it, the chances of finding a recording increase.
At that point the canary just killed over.
I have done enough of this emotional excavating in my life to know I was on to something and that "something" needed me to surrender to it, sit in it, and process it. So I did. Spending the better part of the past two months in solitude with this part of myself, I figured some things out. My only task here is remain open and listen. To take in the journey because IT has something to teach me and to let myself be really seen. So I wrote this post. Then I published it. Huge!
Let me be clear. Looking at all these pictures, letters, and stories has been like taking a razor to my insides. It has opened a fragile place in me. I want to look graceful and together. I want it all to unfold like I see it in my mind.
My father's birthday was March 7th. I visited his grave and took some canary yellow flowers. I felt the total peace of knowing or not, hearing or not and the relief of that. A softness washed over me and I cried big tears. In that time of retrospect, I also made a list of moments in my life I had been delivered/rescued. Coincidences, if you will, that showed me there is a power greater than myself working on my behalf. Call it Buddha, Jesus, angels of mercy, or the universe. My list is long. It proved to me that if I took the risk, showed my "whole heart" I would be guided and delivered. Sometimes the healing comes in NOT doing anything. Just allowing myself to be vulnerable.
In a strange twist, I now know the canary wasn't fear it was faith, but they both scare me in just about the same way.
Am I still afraid or anxious? Of course. I have been so caught up in promotion, research, page views, contacting sports writers and publishers that I lost sight of the real prize. The prize is the journey and my connections with others. Here is the clincher...I am not in charge anyway. There really is something bigger occurring here than finding a recording from the 1960's.
Its about going deep into the coal mine cause that's where the good stuff is.