The Cave of Vulnerability

The photo above was recently taken while my feet were firmly planted in the middle of the labyrinth at a beautiful place called “Peace Labyrinth”.  I am fascinated with the journey my self takes while walking the labyrinth.  In studying the labyrinth, one interpretation is that each walk is a rebirth; similar to how I view each day…a chance to rebirth.   I begin each day and each labyrinth walk in the same way:  by setting an intention (and perhaps asking a question) then opening my heart to all that is presented.  Rather than insist upon a specific outcome, I allow for all that is placed.  It is a gentle way of life, one of great faith and truth: as I open my heart to love, I become love.

This particular day, the moment I stepped into the labyrinth (symbolic of stepping into life), my heart overflowed with gratitude; not the “answer” I was looking for, but absolutely affirming the way I choose to live.  Choosing to invest fully in the journey, while allowing for *everything*, involves the risk of vulnerability; I never know what will happen, but because I trust that it is perfectly placed, I open my life to experience it fully (whatever it is).  This photo, then, is symbolic of the way I choose to live: firmly planted in the midst of peace, I open my heart to love fully, to share generously, and to allow gratitude to magnify all that I create and share.

I do not believe that life happens to me; I believe that my life is a result of the combination of all that I choose to ingest into my being and all that I choose to invest my energy into external of my being. If one was familiar with my personal history–from the moment I was born through my adult years it is riddled with abandonment, abuse, chaos, and drama–one might think it would be impossible for me to be in that photo, to live as I do.  It is not only possible, it is real; to illustrate I’d like to share a story from my recent journey.  Thank you for holding space as I share.

For a bit of background: I was a premature baby– born four weeks early I was quickly put into an incubator, already “fighting to survive” within my first few moments of life.  One might say I was born with an open heart ready to love the world, almost immediately shielded by the barrier of wishing to survive.

When I was an infant, my parents divorced and during a visit, my birth mother whisked me away to a place unknown to my father.  After years of working the legal system, my father “won” me back, so once again I was uprooted from familiar and placed into completely unfamiliar.  Adding layer upon layer to the strength of my shield, my life continued in such a way.

One might find it interesting that –despite this shield–I lead a heart based life, one of genuine service and love and faith.  My shield is heavy, but I’ve learned to place it to the side while I live fully.  While it has been my greatest desire to lay it down altogether, it is also my greatest fear to be so exposed to the elements, vulnerable to world, so I’ve always chosen to hold on to that shield “just in case”.  The shield is heavy, and is sometimes the very reason I am unable to soar although my entire being is buoyant and ready.

This past summer, after committing to transparency in all of my relations and doing inner core work to release barriers, universe placed a partner in my life with the one denominator I have resisted my entire life: long distance.  This perfectly placed partner is a nomadic traveler (is that redundant? I feel it is exponential!), meaning I had the choice to embrace this magical connection through my deepest fear, or to release that which I had practically asked for my entire life.

On the surface, he and I are quite different and I could have allowed those differences to be the excuse to choose to not relate (because fear needs an “excuse“).  However, we connect through inner core, which is rare and beautiful…so I chose to open my heart to new and different, to even embrace my biggest fear as I allowed this beautiful connection to bring me to places I had never dreamed.

The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek- Joseph Campbell

I chose to “enter the cave”.  I found the challenge was that I could only enter this cave of vulnerability if I left my shield outside.  I immediately realized that without my shield, I did not know “how” to proceed.  In life, I am a ‘feeler’ so when I do not know how to do proceed and I am unable to feel the answer– either someone does the task for me, explains it to me, or I quit and find another path.  As an empath and energy worker, I specialize in effortlessly relating with people, yet without this shield I had no idea how to relate to this one person.  I released my old pattern of quitting; instead of allowing fear to redirect me, I chose to open my heart and enter the cave.  In the cave of vulnerability, I found my answer: this one person was a reflection of me; I had no idea how to relate to me, barrier free!

In opening my heart to love “him”, I learned to love me.  Each time that I was willing to release resistance and open to new, I was able to understand and accept that which was different or unique about him (thus, understanding and accepting that which was unique or different about me).  Sharing within the same space allowed me to experiment and explore within a safe, comfortable medium; sharing through the distance of travel allowed me to push past my own internal boundaries and experiment and explore internally.  Sharing in general was so enthralling, that I soon forgot I no longer had my shield!  I found that: the element of surprise was joy filled, silence was golden, magic was real, and peace truly is the core of my existence and the silky thread that loosely binds us.  Most significantly, I experienced unconditional love as utter freedom and commitment as expansion–I experienced me, all facets of me.  The greatest treasure of all…the one thing I resisted my entire life: me.

In allowing my self to love a “nomadic traveler” I am learning to travel.  You see, I am still writing this story–every day when I wake, I open my heart to the day only to find that I am still in unfamiliar, uncharted territory (traveling, if you will).  Will “he” be in this chapter? I cannot tell you, I can only experience the present as it is placed.  What I do know is that it is a thrill to continue to relate together and as I do, to discover each facet of me..some effortlessly found on surface, some buried deep within.  I find that as he physically travels, I am no longer afraid–my spirit is with him experiencing expansion…while my being is here living fully.  When he returns to physically share space, I resist the urge to pick up my shield, and instead open my heart to creating together.

Since each day is a rebirth, all that I create is now touched by this brilliant magnificence of knowing who I am and creating from this truth.   As I honor my being’s wish to move through this world, it is with renewed spunk and moxie that I choose to embrace adventure as I create, share, experiment, explore, and yes, thoroughly enjoy, each moment of this journey.

This article is one of many featured in the “Positive Living Handbook” by Zeenat Merchant Syal

For information on how you may receive your complimentary copy, please click this link: Positive Living Handbook.

Much peace and abundant love,

Reminder: Experiment. Explore.  Experience.

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Comments on: "The Cave of Vulnerability" (10)

  1. To put the fear aside and delve into life without apprehension – what a beautiful gift to self that is, Joy.

    I hope 2012 is a blessed and beautiful year for you and all those you hold dear.

    • Hi Talon,
      Thank you:)
      However, I do have this story I have chosen to share, the unknown of “how” to bridge geographical distance for long periods of time scares me so much that this is the first I have vested in it. Putting aside my shield (the barriers around my heart) to relate transparently–regardless of the other person’s choices–scares me.
      What I do with that fear though, is allow it to motivate me to continue to explore. To acknowledge it, and then to allow myself that ultimate vulnerability of traveling deep within to my own inner core..I use that fear to inspire me to live fully. I think that is my gift to self…not to eradicate fear, because I think fear is innate, but to harness the power of fear to inspire and motivate rather than to use it as an excuse not to participate in life.
      Thank you for allowing me this reflection..empowering:)

  2. Joy,

    I loved this article when I read it in Zeenat’s ebook. And now I have the great joy to love it doubly! The truth is that we are all so very vulnerable, but we choose not to see it. Your willingness to be with the vulnerability clearly allows you to experience the fullness and beauty of life. Thank you for sharing the story of your birth. It’s a reminder of how we start to shield ourselves at such an early age. It’s not one’s fault! But we can break out now!

    • Hi Sandra,
      As I read your comment, I realize that my choice to live mindfully present in this day means that I am “birthed” each day. In choosing to open my heart to the day, I am in essence, removing my self from my original incubator *each day*. I am re-creating my birth. Thank you for allowing me this reflection!
      I also think that we allow vulnerability to separate us, when there is such power in allowing vulnerability to *connect* us..thus my intent of honoring transparency in all of my relations–regardless of the others person’s choice. Honesty and authenticity is a beautiful gift to our self and world:)

  3. A poignant post, Joy. This new person in your life must be very special to you. What a gift for them to show you more of YOU! And for you to have allowed that to happen, despite your hesitation to be with your vulnerability. You have a lot of courage to just surrender.

    I love the rawness of your words and your desire to share ALL of what is there for you. You encourage this of others.

    • Davina,
      In transparency: when I read your comment, my reaction is that yes, this person in my life is *very* special; and I honor that. However, he moves through life as is comfortable for him, and it is my choice to accept and adjust to that–thus, my journey of vulnerability. *That* is where the surrender is, opening my heart through fear to accept what is–not to try to change the circumstances to better suit me, but to learn through the circumstances as they are presented to me. Again, though, this journey is not about “him” because he may not choose the same process of transparency or vulnerability or presence as I do–it is about me and what I choose to learn from all that is reflected to me..and *that* is the gift we give our selves in all of our relations. To allow vulnerability and Sight regardless of external allows us to “travel” to a depth and range within that we may not otherwise.
      Thank you for your kind words. I encourage transparency in this space as I do in sometimes, yes, it may be *raw* and it is my wish that we may all feel comfortable sharing from such a place.

  4. Joy, I feel your strength. And you write beautifully!

    Thank you so much for your wonderful comment over at Betsy, Zen-Mama’s blog. It is a joy to visit your blog and I feel positive vibes from your header!

    Happy 2012!

    With love,

    Vidya Sury

    • Vidya,
      I *love* your radiant! Thank you for your kind words and all that you have reflected to me here–we are connected through the strength of peace and joy:)

  5. Joy — You are simply one of the bravest people I know. You choose to embrace the love and peace all around you. You drink it in with some fear, but with the power of your beliefs pushing you to consume it.

    In your words, it is can feel the power of your daring bravery — is that redundant? Even if it is, sometime redundancy is good thing when it continue to attract good things.

    I wish you much happiness with the new relationship. Enjoy the emotional and the physical travels. You have the strength now for both.

    • Sara,
      Thank you! All that you reflect in this comment is “perfect” for this day! I was questioning my strength and you reflected it back to me:)
      I don’t believe I am brave. I do believe that I am transparent and full of faith, and the combination of that and honoring peace in my life allows me to participate fully in each experience, even if I am afraid.
      And quite frankly, this is one relationship I wouldn’t have chosen to connect through–I actually resisted, but the connection is so magical and life enriching, my heart just opened up. As I wrote in the article, it turns out it was a heart opening through me, and very much to me. Which allows me to create all that I am currently.
      I would like to mention as far as “he” and “I”, we have the choice to allow a label and mainstream expectations (of “couple”) to box us in, or to release that label and mainstream expectations to create a relationship that honors us both as individuals as well as the paths we are choosing to take.

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