A Crack In The Armour/Balmorhea
“To feel is to be vulnerable. To believe vulnerability is weakness is to believe that feeling is weakness. To foreclose on our emotional life out of fear that the costs will be too high is to walk away from the very thing that gives purpose and meaning to living.”
— Brene Brown
From a young age, I developed the belief that feelings were scary and I couldn’t handle them. At the same time, I was highly sensitive and felt emotions deeply. What was I to do? What do you do when you are in fear and believe you have no options…you run, you hide, you stay small, you do whatever it takes to protect yourself. When you feel like you can’t run anymore, you can’t hide, you start to give up, and you begin to numb.
This was my journey. I would manage my fear with people pleasing, avoiding, fitting in, playing small, then numb with food and alcohol. It felt like a never, ending cycle where my heart kept closing down. I felt alone as I continued to block and shut down my emotional world. I tried desperately to believe things didn't matter all in an effort to keep myself safe. As I got older, my intuition told me something was wrong….. I wanted more, but I didn’t know what that was? All my old defense mechanisms weren't working anymore!
Then one day I was given a precious, precious gift. My son was born and two years later, my daughter.
The moment I held my baby in my arms a crack in my armour developed. Through that crack, the love seeped in, and I felt it….fully! It was like my heart began to expand and I’ll never forget it. The intensity of the feeling was unlike anything I had ever experienced. This little baby mattered, and no attempt at shutting down was possible. I was still terrified of the depth of emotion, but for the first time, I didn’t want to run or hide. I wanted to feel more of what I was experiencing and somehow knew this was what had been missing in my life. It was my humanness plan and simple. LOVE. I had let my guard down, I was vulnerable, and it was BEAUTIFUL.
I wish I could say it was smooth sailing from there on, but no, it wasn’t. It was just the beginning of a long journey of learning to embrace my emotional world. I was slowly changing my relationship to vulnerability, and it took a lot of courage, and those two babies helped me find it. And what emotion is more vulnerable then love! Elizabeth Lesser in the book Broken Open sums it up, “If you accept the challenge, parenting becomes a perpetual process of change and transformation, and one of the best chances we are given to be broken open by love.”
The journey continues. Do I always deal with my emotional world perfeclty…no. I slip, I fall, but I am aware and make sure that I don’t shame myself when it happens. Living a life shut down, believing you can go on your own, not needing anyone, thinking nothing matters is a lie. It was I lie I embraced to keep myself safe. But the thing that was supposed to keep me safe ended up hurting me.
So if you find yourself struggling with your emotional world and those old strategies have begun to hurt you, reach out. You can't go at it alone. Start small and look for your opportunity to develop a crack in the armour and let the emotion in. Be present, just for a moment, with something that touches your soul. Maybe it’s nature, a pet, poetry, art or music. Grasp any moment where you are moved, can feel the emotion and not run.
Try this. Find a quiet place, put on the music below and be with it. Stay out of any meaning-making or story that may arise and feel the emotions that develop. Trust me this is the type of music that goes straight to the soul….so beautiful. Enjoy your humanness.
“We are here to learn to bear the beams of love”
— William Blake