The spiritual path has never been about shutting down, walling up or staying safe behind closed doors. The spiritual path demands risk, it demands authenticity, it demands honesty, it demands opening up and letting go, and yes, it demands vulnerability.
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Brene’ Brown, in her book “Daring Greatly”, defines vulnerability as uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure. She asserts that vulnerability is subversive in this “don’t-be-weak-don’t-show-your-feelings” society we live in. It is uncomfortable. But, she says, “nothing is as uncomfortable, dangerous, and hurtful as believing that I’m standing on the outside of my life looking in and wondering what it would be like if I had the courage to show up and let myself be seen.”
On Sunday (borrowing from a story by Rachel Remen) I brought in a pot with daffodil bulbs in it and on top of the dirt, I put a rock with the words “DON’T BLOOM”. I told the kids that I saw that rock and had a little conversation with the rock and the bulbs. It went like this:
“Because the world is dangerous,” the rock said, “they might get eaten, or stepped on or cut off! It’s better that they stay safe.”
“Bulbs, what do you think?” said I.
“We want to grow! We want to bloom! We need to bloom! It is our whole purpose for living,” they exclaimed.
Remen says, “the reason the rock doesn’t want the bulb to bloom is the very reason it is important to bloom.” It is a dangerous world, where we can have our very selves stepped on and hurt. That is precisely the reason we need daffodils. They show us hope, they show us resilience, they bring us joy just by being what they are.
The world needs each of us to risk showing up and being seen. Our authentic selves need to be allowed to bloom, or we don’t fulfill our purpose for living. We resist blooming because of our core fears that we will be rejected for who we are, that we are inherently flawed or rejectable. But we know deep inside that unless we bloom, unless we show up and let ourselves be seen, we won’t really be free.