Vulnerability is Not A Safe Place

LivingElysian, Yoga, Spirituality, Quality of Life

I’m a coward. At least for today.

A few years ago, Brené Brown’s Rising Strong became an all-consuming topic on social media. The memes continue to be shared by many today. These words were incredibly powerful. I wanted in!

Of course, it was easy to live these words in my decision to leave my long-term position at an amazing company to start my own business. Business is an easy place for Elysia to be “Brave”.

Of course, it was easy to live these words in a loveless marriage, where the walls I had spent many years tearing down began their reconstruction.

Of course, it was easy to live these words as I walked away from said loveless marriage and chose to live by myself in an RV down by the river.


“Vulnerability is the core, the heart, the center, of meaningful human experiences.” – Brené Brown

Sounds good yeah? Well no. Not for me. Vulnerability is not a safe place for me. Not today. Don’t get me wrong. I have complete admiration for Brené Brown. I follow her on Twitter and Facebook. I especially admired a picture she posted of herself with no makeup, no filter. This lead to a personal decision to stop wearing makeup and embracing the gray. Accepting what one looks like is true courage. This too was easy.

But when it comes to Love, true Love…Nothing is ever easy.

Too Soon?

So, I met a guy…Not just any guy. A remarkable man with a strong spirit. Chivalrous, funny, intelligent, brilliant…the list goes on. This was NOT planned. I fell hard and fast. Well, maybe not too fast but exceptionally fast for me.

We are two extremely different people. He is conservative, preppy even. I am this wild woman spirit. He does not partake in my colorful language, does not do Yoga. Yet we connect on so many fundamental levels. And what an incredible writer he is – totally kicks my a$$, I might add. After many months of experiencing zero inspiration, I found myself passionate again about putting words together.

This gift came with distance, he lives on the East Coast and I am here in Colorful Colorado. Safe enough, yeah? No. I frequently found my heart being pulled in the direction of the east. Daydreaming, listening to love songs…and we had only hugged once.

He surprised me by flying out to Hawaii to celebrate my recent Advanced Yoga Teacher Training graduation. It was on now! We embarked on a most passionate love affair, the likes of which I had never known. Soaking in the Big Island experience, we spent 5 days of bliss, laughter, and total comfort with one another.

He was a trooper, staying the first 2 nights with me at a hippy shack I rented in Pahoa (not knowing I would have a guest), before deciding we needed to move on to a bed and breakfast in Captain Cook.

I can’t remember having laughed so much. Corny jokes, silly pet names…what a blast! And so much love. People could see it, often commenting to us how “cute” and “in love” we were.

Has it been the most ideal of romances? No. But just right. Just Elysian. Irregardless 😊 of the distance, he has been present with me at each given moment.

We made plans to see each other when we could. A 5-day visit last week here in Colorado. Hawaii again next month, then the Spring, many different possibilities. Our visit last week was euphoric for the most part, and then…

Vulnerability

Wait, what happened? How did I let myself go this way? This man knows me. He has seen my messy hair, my imperfections. My snoring, drooling, clumsy, cellulite, needing a haircut Elysia. Then there is my inept ability to let my “street” come out every now and then, using “ain’t” and combining words that make absolutely no sense to anyone else but me.

And what do I really know about him? What if he’s a womanizer? If he were, would I still love him? The answer is an unapologetic “Yes”.

I know enough to keep my side of the street clean and to trust someone until that trust has been abused. I also know that expectations are future resentments. I have a past. We all do. So, I choose not to judge what I don’t have 100% knowledge of in any circumstance.

We agreed to take a short break. Then this watery substance starts to flow out of my eyes. Oh hell no.

Trainwreck

I just watched Trainwreck (again) with my daughter last night and found myself admiring the main character in the beginning of the show. “Maybe I should move to New York and be a slut“, I said to my daughter. “There’s no shame in being who you are and accepting it”. To which, my daughter replied, “If that were what you are mom, I would support it. But that’s not you”.

Dammit.

Additionally, I forgot that Trainwreck is not just a comedy but a rom-com. The leading lady meets a man who is so different from her – he is quite conservative. This is sounding all too familiar and when the male lead talks of Norman Rockwell and his love of Billy Joel, my head starts to hurt. “I need to turn this off.”, I say to my daughter. She steals the remote from me.

I’m totally feeling it when the female lead expresses her concerns about vulnerability with her sister. Though she uses a far more colorful analogy than even I would use (can you imagine?). The movie rolls on and the couple breaks up. Now, this makes sense to me. Alas, with every rom-com there is the makeup scene and everyone lives…

This is so not real! Monogamy is not realistic. People do not live happily ever after. Am I bitter? No. More jaded, more careful than anything.

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Vulnerability Part II

The last two years of my marriage were so easy. My ex-husband didn’t love me and I knew where I stood. No questions to ask. Safety.

I have indeed, fought with my monsters. But am I ready to take this journey of vulnerability? Why complicate things by getting lost in emotion? Tomorrow is another day. So for today, I am a coward, comfortable in the safe place of my fear.

Fortunately, I do not have to sit in my fear alone. Having a good group of friends, who love me unconditionally, is my saving grace.

For today, I would rather take a drink than be vulnerable. In fact, the thought of being vulnerable makes me crave a drink. Good thing it is time for a meeting, where I can surround myself in the safety of my GOD.

Stay Blissful My Friends – E

A Love Letter To Myself

My Dearest Elysia,

It has been a long time since I have sent you words of love and encouragement. How does time go by so quickly? I can’t even remember the last time I whispered positivity into your ears.

I know how much a loving whisper means to you. Yet, I find I have completely taken all that you do and are for granted. Worse than that, when I do give you any attention at all, it is in the form of criticism. I am so sorry…again.

How can one overlook your kindness towards others? Your empathy when a friend or loved one is hurting. How I love the way you celebrate with others’ successes. Elysia, you always seem to bring a smile to someone who needs it.

Your fun nature can put aside any difficult situation and gather contagious laughter. Remember when you told Satyam about your new Yoga style concept: Hot Flash Yoga! You got a laugh out of a serious guy!

Elysia, this past year you have suffered chronic pain severely. Yet you continued to suit up and show up for life. Your doctor said you needed to lose 30 lbs. You are just 4 lbs shy of this! You go, girl! Even though Elysia was perfectly okay with her body (or so she said), she dieted and worked out for her health.

So I guess, I did show myself (Elysia) a bit of love when I took care of her body. Maybe I just needed to be reminded that I truly love you, Elysia. Thank you for being the badass you are! The warrior queen you encourage your sisters to be in their lives!

Please never forget how much I love you, Elysia.


When was the last time you wrote yourself a love letter? Can you do so today? I would love to see what you come up with in your words to self. 

Love yourself this Valentine’s Day – And stay blissful my friends!  – E

 

 

Within Reach

Unity, harmony, and mutual respect, are just within reach of us at this moment. Are we ready to grasp ahold of these? Sigh, I wish it to be true. So I start within my inner being. How can I contribute to better unification, harmony, and mutual respect?

There are many people with personalities that are in contrast to mine. Am I open to being more of a balancing color to theirs, rather than clashing and vying for all the attention? Might I listen more than talk at this person?

At this juncture in time, everyone is yelling and nobody is listening. There is pain, hurt, anger and fury. I have witnessed several family members bash each other on social media. It is quite disheartening to see such deep-seated resentment and division breeding amongst us.

What can we do to correct this situation?

Listen to each other. A very simple process. I was in marriage counseling years back and we tried a method using a wooden spoon. Whoever had the spoon in hand, got to speak. The other person had to listen. How easy is that?

Respect one another. Can you look at the other person with the realization that he/she is not a serial killer? Because most people aren’t.

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Love each other. This takes a bit more work for some. I remember reading an article in the 90’s about a weekend experiment in which women who were pro-choice and women who were pro-life attended. Before the weekend began, the women were asked to write a list of what they thought of those on the other side of the spectrum. The one common word they used: Nazi. Wow.

Each person was assigned a counter person with opposite beliefs to partner with for the weekend. Their very first activity was to sit, cross-legged, facing one another. They were instructed not to say one word but to make eye contact with one another.  Within minutes of this activity, the women began to cry and hug one another. Powerful.

If any of the women had changed their beliefs by the end of the weekend, it was not noted. That was not the point of the experiment. Many continued to stay in touch with their partner in friendship and in love.

Because we are spiritual beings, when we chose to look into the eyes of those who do not agree with us, most of us will react in love.

So my challenge to all, including myself is to focus and implement each one of these corrections one week at a time. Is the willingness to do so within reach?

Stay Blissful My Friends – E

I Am a Warrior & My Sword is Love

I go into to battle every day with no reprieve.

A soldier, a comforter and a queen.

Only there is no hate, no enemy to despise.

From the heart is where the battles arise.

Sickness, injuries, feelings of despair;

might fall upon those in my care.

I’ll pick them up, lift them up and empower their spirit.

With a full heart and strong, willful grit.

This woman warrior truly understands fears.

I stand with courage and wipe the tears;

of those who are willing to seek support.

Anyone who asks, I am happy to assist;

with loving arms and a virtuous kiss.

In every man, woman, and child, I see God’s beautiful light.

This is more the reason I fight;

for their spirits, their hearts, and their very lives.

I’ll take on humiliating blows from they who put me down.

It might sting, rock me a bit and jostle my crown.

I straighten it, stand firm and respond with ardor.

If it helps my opponent, I will even take more.

Because I need not strike, push or shove.

I Am a Warrior and My sword is Love.

Taking the Higher Road

Road

The other day, my 23-year-old daughter was showing me an electronic interaction between herself and someone she loves. This said loved one went on to verbally abuse my daughter and bash her character to the extreme. My daughter’s reply was one of concern for the other person’s well-being expressed in love and offering up her support if ever needed. That being said, my daughter also expressed that she would no longer be in contact with this person until she could engage in a respectful manner. She closed the conversation in love and well wishes.

I was pleased with how she handled the circumstances and told her that she had taken the higher road. I immediately found myself explaining what I mean when I refer to “the higher road”.

Many people think that taking the higher road is a form of placing yourself above the other individual involved in the conflict. Not I. When I choose to take the higher road, I am taking a road that is higher than one of which I have taken before. In my daughter’s case, she is behaving as an adult would behave. No longer a child. So she has risen above childish ways. We have all acted out as children while we were young…and sometimes while we were adults (I am the first to raise my hand here!)

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.” – 1 Corinthians 13:11

Not a coincidence that this passage is taken from “The Love Chapter”.  This is a reading in its fullest, I will never grow tired of. See there is no fear in perfect love. This means there is no ego involved either. I know that when it is painful to take the higher road, my ego is usually involved. Where there is ego, fear is usually keeping company alongside and this is what causes pain. So when we drop our ego and our fear, we allow that perfect love to flow.

Love is-PA-EVALDIVIA8


(The Road is Long) He Ain’t Heavy

My daughter’s reply with an offering of support reminded me of this lovely ballad.  I have seven uncles, three of which served in Vietnam. The words are very much their love song to each other.

“The road is long , with many a winding turn

That leads us to who knows where. Who knows where?

But I’m strong; Strong enough to carry him

He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother

So on we go; His welfare is of my concern

No burden is he to bear; We’ll get there

For I know He would not encumber me

If I’m laden at all; I’m laden with sadness

That everyone’s heart; Isn’t filled with the gladness

Of love for one another”


There is quite the parable behind the origins of the phrase “He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother” :

“Do you know that incident in connection with the little Scottish girl? She was trudging along, carrying as best she could a boy younger, but it seemed almost as big as she herself, when one remarked to her how heavy he must be for her to carry, when instantly came the reply: “He’s na heavy. He’s mi brother.”

Simple is the incident; but there is in it a truth so fundamental that pondering upon it, it is enough to make many a man, to whom dogma or creed make no appeal, a Christian and a mighty engine for good in the world. And more there is in it a truth so fundamental and so fraught with potency and with power, that its wider recognition and projection into all human relations would reconstruct a world” [1]

The parable was referenced in a 1918 writing but the story is believed to be much older. You see, when my daughter offered up her compassion and support, she was stating that she was strong enough to bear the weight of her brother/sister’s burden – with set boundaries of course. We can love each other, we can bear each other’s weight. Just keep in mind that this is only when others want our support. For it is impossible to help someone who does not desire help. In that case, it is best to send them off with a blessing as my daughter did.

With all this said, yeah I might be bragging a bit about my daughter. Wouldn’t you? More so, I have learned a good lesson from her. A lesson I wish to share with you all. I hope it blesses you as much as it has blessed me.

Stay Blissful My Friends – E

  1. Trine, Ralph Waldo (1918). The Higher Powers of Mind and Spirit. Project Gutenberg.

If you liked this,  check out: Let Go, Keep Going, or Start Over