A friend and colleague of mine (a wonderful Naturopathic Doctor named Dr. Olinka Trejo) sent me a video to watch (www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/brene_brown_on_vulnerability.html), featuring a woman named Brene Brown. This woman spent a decade studying the perception of vulnerability, courage and authenticity. She believes that we are here to make certain connections, and it is these connections that will give purpose to our lives. She particularly wanted to understand the connection between vulnerability and shame (which is the fear of disconnection). Shame is a prevailing and universal theme in our lives that no one wants to talk about. The underpinnings of shame, is vulnerability. Some people view vulnerability as something to be avoided at all costs while others see it as the birth place for living a courageous, creative and joyful life. She called these people ‘wholehearted’. The difference between these two groups simply came down to whether or not they felt worthy of love.
I love having my concepts and ideas expanded in ways that make me view my life a little differently.
I gave birth to Ethan just a little over 3 years ago. I was in hospital for 3 weeks following his birth, overcoming an extremely rare pregnancy related disease that I felt nearly claimed my life. I spent a year in rehab trying to regain my strength, walking and running through the rain, snow and heat with Ethan in tow, focused on getting better so I could be around to watch my son grow. After getting a clean bill of health, I did my happy dance in the doctors office. I spent the next two years confronting a different type of challenge. In some ways even more difficult.
What I have discovered, since becoming a new mum, is that I am not perfect. I tried to be the best at everything. To be the best mum, a great and understanding partner, a loyal friend, a competent acupuncturist, a successful yoga instructor…and I almost broke under the pressure. I did not allow myself to be vulnerable and I lost out on experiencing a deeper level of authenticity in my life. I created a lot of stress and deprived myself of the joy of being in the ‘moment’.
In some ways, I feel the illness I had when I gave birth (which by the way had to do with my heart) was meant to give me an understanding of what it means to live a courageous life. Brene Brown ends her talk by describing what courage means. The root of this word comes from the French word ‘Coeur’ which means Heart. The courage to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart. It makes me very grateful and appreciative to all the people who had the courage to tell their own story and gift this world a little piece of themselves whether it be through music, literature, art, films, landscaping, healing, etc. Think what the world would be missing without your story!