Shandra Lee. With Heart Wide Open. A Miracle In The Making.

Oh I see. You saw the date, read the title and assumed it would be just another mushy or angry Valentine story. Wrong! It is all about the OTHER V word….yep… Vulnerability.  If you have been included in, or overheard, any of my real life conversations over the months and or read this blog you may have realized that this is a current common theme, and not just for me.  Everyone, everywhere it seems is talking about making drastic changes in relationships, roles, accountability, closeness. During dinner out the other night we four women chatted about this very subject…and the fear the very word can strike into ones’ heart OK! OK! only into my heart.  Just when I thought all was safe and comfortable.

VUL*NER*ABLE: adjective 1. capable of being physically or emotionally wounded. 2. open to attack or damage.

Wow, I would stop too!

But I can’t.  You see, six months ago with the help of a confidante I made a list of things I must do to enter the next step of a whole life. Each one based on allowing myself to become increasingly open and transparent with others. For anyone who has been hurt  you may be saying “why would you do that you silly?” That was just what I asked! “Now, Nancy, why would I do that?”  “To LIVE Shandra” she said.  So I did.

 Listing goals, simple little tasks really,  each one as it turns out, based on making myself available to p-e-o-p-l-e. (Have you noticed? They are everywhere!) Growing deeper in relationship with people with which I live and  work, acquaintances and total strangers some of whom have become new friends.  This wonderful  stretching has empowered me to learn more about who I am, what I wish to be when I grow up and the type of persons I want to invite along for seasons of the journey.

There are many who have been invited and have graciously accepted. For this I can never repay you.  Some folks have been…pruned.  Some who  have been invited can not or will not come along, and that is ok. Perhaps another time, another place..or not.  It was the inviting that had to be done so that I might LIVE.  By extending invitations and accepting them, as well, life is worth being enjoyed.

Becoming more of that V word has flowed over in ways I would never have known. When I began this new leg of the journey, I was just checking off the list; signing up for events or activities which months later have flowed into real life relationships. People who  come around us (my son and me in a time of great need) with Agape love and say we are here to help AND to say you , Lady, are way off base and that offense MUST go (thanks Steph!). Letting people in to this very private world to see the good, the not so good and the really, really bad has been more of a challenge than an opportunity. To watch the openness, trust and connection begin to flow back through my child is worth it all. Connection. Sharing. Vulnerability.

We can not have one without the other.  Alas, it is true! Trust me, I’ve tried! And we are all so much more alike than we know. Each of us has the deep desire for connection and the deeper desire to avoid the wounds that could come with allowing ourselves to be vulnerable…rejection, judgement, abandonment, criticism …harsh realities of the attacker. Love, laughter, acceptance, support, friendship ..true realities of Loving connections.  It is a truly wonderful thing to be more aware each day that the hard protective outer shell is crumbling, then to watch as it shatters at your feet. Not needed any more when love, laughter, acceptance, support and honor are the norm. 

I know that there is not such a long road ahead now because it seems that the incline is not quite so steep,  in one way it is easier nearing the top. Each “invitation” not always verbal just available,  often still catching in my throat and sometimes with tears in my eyes or maybe even taking days to fulfill (OK! alright some of you know ~weeks! ok! months ~but not anymore) gets easier. But, I can only be where I am . I can not rush ahead. I will not get ahead of myself or my Healer. This is something most people honor and respect once they understand the place from where I travel. Those that can’t, can’t. And it is ok.

 As I look back on this  list I see that I have one left (or as my positive friend Joyce says I am at 90%.) Only one…a simple one really…on paper. In real life it speaks to the very essence of what I have believed about myself..and IF I can be willing to let others share what they see in me. Thus far this has been unsuccessful… I have discovered that I, like many others, have believed many painful false teachings. Not just believed them but entwined them  into  the very essence of who we are and what we believe about ourself, or not. 

 My wise confidante knew. She knew that checking off the list would become less routine and more relational and more about experiences and practicing Life. She knew that I would be here watching others in relationship and wondering about how that is done and if it was ever to be for me. I don’t know. I do know that 6 months ago I was not aware I  wanted it or deserved it or could do it! Here I am in… relationship…vulnerability. Opening myself and my heart and Living. 

What about you?   I’d really like to know…  What is it in your life that takes every ounce of courage and Trust just to show up? 

I may or may not keep you posted as to the progress of my own now very short V list. You can be certain though that I am pressing on and in and stepping out.

♥Happy Valentines day…but that is another story.♥

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