The Revolutionary Significance of Vulnerability
Originally published March 27th, 2012, revised May 16, 2015
My work is about becoming vulnerable and about supporting others as they do the same.
It is about choosing to reveal and to stand in the truth of who and what we are. What could be more vulnerable than this? I can't think of anything.
It's one thing to experience the rejection of our masks. It is quite another to risk being rejected, threatened or violated for revealing our authentic selves.
Yet, if we never take this risk, how will we ever know we are loved?
Even by ourselves?
If we go on hiding, how will we ever claim our destinies?
I say this notwithstanding a global circumstance that feels increasingly hostile to full and free expression. Self censorship is a chief byproduct of a national security apparatus deployed against a government's own citizens. Since 9/11, we have moved closer and closer to the imposition of a global police state. We have let our post-9/11 fear of vulnerability unleash a nightmare that is taking us, day by day, further away from a cultural context that embraces authenticity and connection. This same nightmare is taking us further and further into a cultural context that prioritizes command and control security measures. For proof of our cultural priorities, consider how the United States allocates its government resources.
We are not prioritizing government programs that encourage and support the full development of our human potential.
We are prioritizing government programs that insure governmental control over all potential threats.
The end result is the militarization of everyday life.
In summary, we are constructing a society that is all about protecting ourselves from some ubiquitous, yet ephemeral threat that exists somewhere out there among people we have defined as outsiders or terrorists of one kind or another. The list of potential threats seems to grow exponentially every hour on the hour. Just look at the way the Occupy Wall Street protests ultimately ended: with a military style response that we once imagined would be reserved for the battlefield in some foreign war.
The message: If we are different and we allow ourselves to be visible or to speak our truth, we run the risk of being excluded, attacked, or reviled. If we are seen as a threat (or merely defined as one), we may risk an encounter with the increasingly heavy hand of government.
Fear is in the air and it has come to dominate our society. We become less visible to one another every moment that we indulge this kind of fear and these kind of control tactics. We become less willing to show up in a way that does not match the status quo.
Every time we choose to close down or hide, the world loses a little of its richness.
All of this fear, isolation and hiding are running as the subtexts of our culture. This is our context.
So, this work is about confronting our fears and about becoming visible and vulnerable even as so many of the messages streaming into our eyes and ears every day tell us that “visible” and “vulnerable” are dangerous states of being.
This work is also about choosing to honor our truths and ourselves. It is about casting off oppression in all its many forms, especially the oppression we have internalized. It is the voice of this intrinsic oppression that tells us most vehemently where we can’t go, what we can’t do, say, or be, who we can’t befriend, what we can’t think and so on and so forth.
In summary, this work is about finding our voices and the courage to use them. By voices I mean all the various means of expressing who and what we are. Sometimes this involves an exercise in reclaiming our silence. Sometimes it involves painting, singing, shouting from the roof-tops, leaving that abusive or limiting relationship, expressing sexuality openly…in other words, vividly and visibly taking a stand for ourselves, our dreams, our truths and our rights.
I have confronted this very same fear myself. I too am doing this work!
This new adventure requires me to be visible and vulnerable because I can’t ask someone else to do the things I am not willing to do. For a woman who, not so long ago, preferred the invisibility of her “trench coat” to the visibility of a brightly colored “shawl”, the nakedness involved in simply launching this web page triggered an impulse to hide myself once again. That sense of nakedness also made me question everything, including my own inherent worth. It also challenged me to become truly congruent, in other words, to create a life that reflects my values and my desires.
It is true, some people will revile me and some people might attack me. But some people will love me deeply for exactly who and what I am. Beyond that, now I know, in the bottom of my own heart that I prefer to reveal myself and to sing my unique life song. I cannot do otherwise. In this way, I have reclaimed my nakedness and my visibility as my own.
Today, I stand proud, naked, blessedly free of prying eyes, even if they are watching.
This is my ta-da moment.
I owe this moment, in part to Reverend Richard Rogers, and I offer him my heartfelt thanks today. His poem, The Wildsong, a soul set free was one of the first things that opened my heart to my reality: there is something unique and wild in me that very simply has to come forth.
This poem has, for years, nourished my dream, this very dream that I am living right now: To partner with you to unleash your dreams, your sense of wholeness, your authentic self, and your authentic voice.
The Wildsong ∞ a soul set free
There is a song in my soul that I have never sung before.
It is my Wildsong.
My song of freedom.
A song that will leave me naked before the world.
A song born of the untamed passionate one.
A song bottled up from the beginning of time.
If you ask me to describe this song,
Describe the song of the whale.
Or the trumpet of the elk.
Describe the cry of the hawk.
There are no words.
But there is a sound, my sound,
My call, the song of my soul.
It is my Wildsong.
I can feel the Wildsong building in my soul.
It is moving within me.
To un-cage it would be to devour all that is contrived in my life.
To release it would be to unleash all that is powerful and true.
Even if I wanted to, I don’t know if I’d have the strength to control it one more time.
Fear has forced me to lock it away.
But not this time.
I will not resist.
I will surrender who I have been.
I want to hear my Wildsong.
I want to know myself as if for the first time.
To know the self I have always been.
Hear me world. Hear my call.
I have come to be announced.
This is my time. This is my way.
I am not who I thought I was.
I am not who you thought I was.
Know me as I am.
I sing my Wildsong.
∞ Richard Rogers © 2007
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