SeLoFest and Vulnerability

(SeLoFest17 Post: Day 12, click here for all prompts so far)

Today is Sunday, and as such, today’s exercise will be a little more relaxed. I am currently reading “Daring Greatly”, by Brené Brown, which she wrote after having given this Ted Talk. It’s 20 minutes and she talks about vulnerability.

I’d like you to just watch the video, and then write three pages about what vulnerability means for you and what thoughts the video triggered for you.

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I cheated Monday

I don’t think I’ve ever considered myself a balanced person. Either by association or practice, extremes were where I was (am?) at home. In my mere existence the paradox of blissful joy and incoherent anguish coexist with me at any given moment. When brushing your teeth is still an acutely painful moment of existence,  the whole concept of mindfulness becomes more of a survival mechanism than an eye roll. Be here now is a concept I become familiarized with whether I want to or not. Thankfully, I do want to. So in coexisting with extremity on a day to day basis I seek out the shades of gray that don’t feel like I might explode.

In experiencing others live their extremes however,  I became aware that I wasn’t as extreme in everything as I thought I was. Which ironically enough, scared me, at first. Like if I’m not my extremes, who am I?  If I’m not my sadness, my anxiety,  my fight and struggle, then who am I?

Then I remember. 

There have been moments of my life, brought on very strongly by school or friends or meditation or just a moment where i see and feel and know and remember and understand it’s all ok. Joy is such a strong part of who I am that even in moments of deep despair I can feel the Me-Ness and know somehow not to give up.

Which is hard. You need the right motivation which isn’t always easy or constant. And I understood that about myself and spend my life actively seeking ways to make life bareable. Enjoyable. Blissful. Desireable. Liveable.  Exciting. Fulfilling. Enriching. Meaningful.

Balance is essential to this. And Monday is such a bad word in our present society. Not balanced. The return to the “harsh” “reality” 

How do we exist like that?

I can’t. I stopped existing. I was barely surviving. There was a list of things I’d have to do.

My days had to be balanced. And as someone living in extreme, I learned abut balance as a palpable skill. A tool that I could actively use to make life what I felt it was supposed to be.

So Monday could not be an extreme. I need gentleness in my body and my life. Softness. Sharp edges cut me; I have thick skin but every lash hurts as much as the first one. Life is a constant state of the Mondays and there is already a harshness to it depending on our context  why replay that inside of ourselves?

I am always starting over anyway, so I figured I’d start over with intention.

Was I going to spend my Sunday in anxiety over what had to be done? Or was i going to shape life to fit what i could handle?

Monday.
It can’t be a blunt movement into something I don’t want. Otherwise I never achieve anything good and constantly feel like I’m fighting someone else’s struggle and my achievements don’t feel meaningful. Am I making a difference in any ones life? How about my own?

So inside me, with all the resources I have, I take it easy, and make Monday be a celebration of some kind. Look forward to Monday. Make it a day of joy. Where the whole point is to make the effort to be good. Happy. Make the healthier decisions. Have fun. Take it easy. Be loving towards myself. Smile at myself. Soften. Whatever I need.

All while being actively participant in my life and working towards something in the future. Investing in someone and letting someone invest in me. Allowing myself to be the lead in my life all while recognizing the supportive roles. Where would I be without them? No matter what, not better than now. It’s about active gentleness. Peaceful action. Soft  rebellion. Being a worthy lead for myself.

Monday becomes the war cry and roundtable for my dreams and joy to quietly play and come into action. It’s a new beginning into the reality I actually want all the while leaping a little into the abyss. Taking a leap of faith. Daring a little.

Trying again. I flip it around.

I cheat Monday, and I live the life I want to live.

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Office in the flowers: self employed joys

Free Hugs

So in San Miguel de Allende, where I live, there’s a beautiful church that stands erect facing the main square. It’s absolutely stunning and everyone that comes here at some point gets a picture of it. It’s our very own Eiffel Tower, if you will.

Well, a couple of weeks ago I was inspired by a YouTube video going around that featured a blindfolded man hugging strangers. I thought to myself, “For February, I’m doing that.” I don’t know what inspired me to do it, but I thought for sure it was a great idea.

The whole concept between “Free Hugs” has always been a great one, but I felt it was too intimidating for some people, and the role that it would put  me in was too intimidating for me.

I liked the element that this particular man had added to it, by blindfolding himself and making it about trust. It was like an extra added challenge, or a more attractive intention for me.

My intention would be to vulnerably, and blindly, give love to the world. Without actually expecting anything in return, but still inviting people to trust me or love me back, which in itself was probably the initial challenge.

I went with my best friend here in San Miguel, Natasha, who took pictures and documented some of the hugs. The plan was this, I would stand in front of the Parroquia, with a bilingual sign around my neck (given the bilingual culture of our town) telling people “Let me trust you. Abrazame” (“hug me”) blindfolded, and arms stretched out. 20150213_124336_20150214091949442

Right before I went ahead and did it, I stood with Natasha and proceeded to freak out for about 10 minutes. “What if no one hugs me?” I thought.

“What if no one does?” the voice in my head asked back. I decided that I wasn’t actually doing this to get hugs, I was doing this because I wanted to give. I wanted to challenge myself in how I gave, in how I showed my love and affection. I wanted to be loud and intentional with my love giving. So I put on my blindfold and said, “let’s do this”. She led me to the spot we had previously decided on and then she sat somewhere where she could watch the oncoming love.

I outstretched my arms, and tried to smile. I set out the intention of simply loving. I stood there, and loved, no matter who or what was going on in front of me. I didn’t care if people did or didn’t hug me, I didn’t care what they thought. I considered myself an art installation.

However not even 5 minutes went by, and my first hugger came forward. I hadn’t really thought about what to say or do so I said “have a nice day” and stuttered and stammered a bit trying to figure out what else to say. By the time she pulled away however and had walked away, I felt free. It was a great high. I had had one hugger, that’s all I needed.

So I stood there beaming in love…and then, soon…

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I must have hugged about twenty people. By the time the 30 minutes were up, I had a mental collection of people’s reactions. I was already going through the mental album I had made of the different approaches people had taken to hugging me and being around. Some had made jokes (some to my expense) others had dared each other, others had hugged me in more a “receiving” fashion while others hugged me in more of a “giving” fashion. It was all ages and genders, most people gave full body hugs though some people did do side hug or pelvis out hug.

20150213_124437I delighted myself in going through the memories I had just collected and took a breath in. The town looked different, colors were brighter, people se20150213_124521_20150214093951545emed smilier. I felt high, on cloud 9, completely in love with love, with people, with life.

I took the feeling with me for the rest of the day, and night. I had a fantastic day and night, and had so much love that I wanted to give everyone else. And sure enough, I see people respond to it. People talked to me more excitedly, smiled more, were more interested in me, and in telling me about themselves.

It was an experiment in loving and love and being loving. It was an experiment because I didn’t want to think about Valentine’s Month as some capitalist month where single people should be depressed and cursing love. Instead, I wanted to bring back February as a20150213_124346 month of Love with a capital L, to give love and be love, to give goodness and share friendship. How people respond so well to it, how it’s hard for someone to turn you down when you meet them with love.

So today, I urge you, if you are bitter or sad about the fact that you aren’t receiving love, remember that it doesn’t mean you can’t in fact give it, and that giving love usually results in receiving it. Sharing love means being love, means linking with your truest most authentic self. Pushing it away will ever only result in pain.

 

So enjoy today, enjoy yourself, be love, do love. All is well.

All my love,

Maelle