Courageous in our Vulnerable Lives

This morning, the fates were with me to finally get in that “nice”, long run I’ve been trying to schedule.  Between my life and mother nature, it’s been tough.  But not today!  The kids are at Gran’mama’s.  I am off from work.  The snow hasn’t started (that would change the second the door closed behind me).  I was as pumped as I could be about the idea of huffing, puffing, sweating and being cold for about two hours.

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Off in the distance I see I cool-ish park my kids have never been to, and turn the corner to explore, only to find myself flat on my back and in pain, having just thrown myself in the air and hit my head on the ice.  I am fine.  My head hurts where it met the pavement, and I have an egg, but all is well; thanks, in part, to the kindness of a stranger who wondered (jokingly) when she saw me lying there if I might be experimenting with a new exercise strategy.  From the fall until the voice of today’s Samaritan, Patty, I felt incredibly vulnerable.

I was lying on ice with snow coming into my face 4 miles from home.  I didn’t know if I was hurt enough for an ambulance.  I was thinking that I needed to be “sensible,” which for me means “do not try to run back home.”  I have a spouse and little ones that depend on me not being foolish.  So for a couple of minutes, while I got my head screwed on straight, and until I heard the sounds of help, I just lay there, vulnerable and exposed (in this case, exposed to the cold and snow).

Sometimes I feel that is 80% of my life: vulnerable and exposed.  As a mom who’s trying to raise healthy children who embrace life; as a spouse who tries to put in the work, effort and openness that authentic love requires; as a leader trying to encourage staff and clients to move forward with courage while trying to do all it takes to secure our future financial stability; and as a woman trying to develop a relationship with myself where I listen to my own inner musings and needs for health, movement, spiritual connection and balance.  I feel vulnerable, it seems, ALL.THE.TIME.  What if I fall, fail, can’t measure up?

Today I did, literally.  I even had that thought, “Clearly I can’t be a runner, I can’t do this!”  How many times a day do we have that thought, or some version of it, “I can’t raise these kids without screwing them up!”

Whatever traps your minds play when you’re feeling vulnerable, I wish you the “super-powers” to rise up.  I wish you good friends to share your stories who understand that your inner critic is not who you are.  I wish you a trusted partner with whom you can share either many or few words, and with whom you feel safe, whole and enough.  I wish you family, friends and allies for “snow” days, literal or the mental health variety.  I wish you a foundation, in a person, a good book, faith, or a place: but where you can visit, connect, and feel accepted, whole, seen and treasured.  When you still fall, as we all do, I wish you a good Samaritan to help you to your feet.

With your super-team, you’ll still feel vulnerable and exposed, but it will no longer be something you need to run from, protect yourself from, or “armor-up” around.  It will just be, just as will be your joy, gratitude, stamina, passion, adventure, love and sense of wonder.

6 thoughts on “Courageous in our Vulnerable Lives

  1. Well, first: so glad that you’re ok because that sounds so scary! And second: how amazing for you to find strength in vulnerability. I needed to read this today. (Again! I read it yesterday, but I read it again today and realized I actually “needed” to read it today. Funny how that works.) Thanks, Sharlene!

  2. So glad you are ok – and that Patty was nearby to be sure you were! Great post. Sometimes I feel like I expend a lot of energy just trying not to seem vulnerable. It’s a lot of work and frankly exhausting.

  3. What a beautiful message at the end Sharlene. I’m so glad you’re OK. I struggle with my inner critic too sometimes and I’m grateful that I’ve found ways to help calm that voice. xo

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