PhD’s are doing research on vulnerability. Does that not strike anyone as sort of strange? Have we all been hiding so well that we need scientific studies to prove it’s better to be real? I’m not suggesting everyone walk around talking about their troubles all the time. It’s nice to ask if people are available before we unload. But being vulnerable is also about letting go of pretenses in general, not participating when something doesn’t feel right, and asking honest questions.
Part of what I loved so much about hospice work was there was no room for posturing. No one can pretend to have all the answers about death. People are real at the end, both the ones leaving and the ones staying behind. Masks come off, and anything that has been avoided rises to the surface, urgently asking for resolution.
Sometimes big life changes are what shake us into authenticity. The breakup of a significant relationship, quitting an addiction, watching a loved one die, getting a scary diagnosis, or even leaving a job can set the soul into a dark night. These little deaths are opportunities to be real with the most important person in your life: yourself. The darkness is a ripe place for inquiries of the heart and soul.
What do you truly care about?
What do you need to let go of?
If you were looking back from your final days, what story would your life tell?
What story do you want it to tell?
If you’re at a crossroads right now, and it’s throwing almost everything into question for you, it may be a good time to be asking those questions. Gently, though. If you push a butterfly out of its cocoon too early, it will die. Sometimes we need the darkness for incubation. We may not get answers to our deepest questions right away, but we can be real about where we’re starting from. It’s a great place to be reborn.
Wishing us all the courage to be just who we are, and plenty of love and forgiveness in the process,
PS- If you’re looking for ways to face the hard questions and be with the discomfort of change, some of the tools I work with in session are things you can practice on your own too. Some clients come for weekly psychotherapy and others come on and off as needed. It depends on the level of support you’re needing, and that’s totally up to you. Just fill out this form and we can talk more about it.