Monthly Archives: May 2016

Being Vulnerable is Our Natural State

From the moment we are born, we are exposed. Thrust from our dark, warm, watery bubble into the bright, cold, air-filled world, our life begins with being vulnerable.

But we learn rather quickly that, in this world, being vulnerable is a sign of weakness. So, we cover up the parts of our bodies that seem less than perfect. We put up defenses to shield ourselves from feeling disappointment or heartache. We behave in ways that won’t draw attention to our vulnerabilities, our perceived weaknesses.

If there is one thing that writing this blog has taught me it’s that being vulnerable is not something to be ashamed of or hide from. Quite the opposite. Being vulnerable is being authentic, liberated, and human. It is something to aspire to.

 

Being Vulnerable is Being Authentic.

When being vulnerable, you honor your truth. You live your story. You don’t rewrite the story when talking to others, in order to project a certain image. You don’t edit out parts of your story to fit in. You admit your victories as well as your failures, your joys and your miseries. That is your life story. There is no shame in it. 

Being Vulnerable is Being Liberated.

When being vulnerable, you liberate yourself from the constraints of others. What they think about you and how they might judge you becomes irrelevant. It’s not that you don’t care about the opinions of others. It’s that you consider your words and actions in light of your own values and not in light of how others might perceive you. You trust yourself, so you let yourself be exactly who you are.

Being Vulnerable is Being Human.

Being vulnerable means embracing your imperfections and your struggles, the very things that you may think of as limiting. In fact, they are not. They are opportunities for growth and self actualization. They are being human. As Brené Brown wrote, “Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity.” That pretty much sums up the human experience.

Being Vulnerable...Enough Said.

Being Vulnerable…Enough Said.

Allow Yourself to Be Vulnerable.

Being vulnerable is empowering. Try it out for a day, a week, or a lifetime. Honor your truth. Liberate yourself. Be human.

Weekly Musings: Wisdom, Change, and What I’m Reading

Weekly Musings – A summary of the week’s highs, lows, and in betweens…

Wisdom

I subscribe to a gazillion sites and get the associated emails, which usually leads me to unsubscribing, because of the sheer volume of mail I get. But, one site I continue to subscribe to (after a few years, including paying for the electronic magazine subscription) is tricycle.org, which sends a Daily Dharma with a quote straight to my inbox. I like these daily messages, because I can quickly scan the quote (I mean it’s 1-2 sentences) and see if I want to read more (click on the link) or not. Yes, this is a Buddhist magazine/site, but you don’t have to be Buddhist (I’m not) to enjoy the words of wisdom and reflective essays on the site.

Here are some examples of Daily Dharmas:

“My practice is teaching me to embrace imperfection: to have compassion for all the ways things haven’t turned out as I’d planned, in my body and in my life; for the way things keep falling apart, and failing, and breaking down. It’s less about fixing things and more about learning to be present for exactly what is.” Anne Cushman, Living from the Inside Out

“When I walk into my fear, practice there, sit upright in the middle of it, completely open to the experience, with no expectation of the outcome, anything is possible.” Judith Randall, The Hidden Lamp

“On the spiritual path, there’s nothing to get, and everything to get rid of. . . . The first thing to let go of is trying to get love, and instead to give it. That’s the secret of the spiritual path.” Ayya Kemah, What is Love?

Change

My life is in the midst of enormous change. Big, old, scary, in your face change both in my work life and in my personal life.

On a lark, I sent a post to HealthyPlace.com, knowing that they are a mental health website with blogs, and they pay for blog posts. Well, they liked my post and they offered me a contract to write for their Living a Blissful Life blog. As you can probably guess from its title, the blog is aligned with my own message – connecting with others to share our common experience, in my case my struggle with depression and growth out of the darkness and into the light, and grow to our fullest potential. I’m psyched to get more practice writing, I’m challenged by having a hard deadline to meet, and I’m pleased to have someone else editing my work. Of course, this job is more work on top of the rest of my crazy, full life, but it’s moving me in the direction of my dreams, becoming a paid writer, so overall it’s a great thing.

Silke Morin Living a Blissful Life blog

Home: We are working on leaving Munich. Yes, you read that correctly. Can you just see me doing my happy dance? It’s been 5 years of living abroad and it’s time to move back to the States. In my opinion, it’s past due. So, we’re doing what we need to do to make an international move happen. This means lots of transition (my daughter’s school, my husband’s job) and a lot of unknowns (when? where? how?), which I’m not very good at dealing with. I’m trying to learning to live with the uncertainty, with not having a plan that goes on my timeline or in my way. Letting go of my need to control those aspects is hard for me. It’s anxiety provoking, but I’m getting there, even if at infinitesimally small steps.

What I’m Reading Right Now

I just finished reading It Ain’t so Awful, Falafel by Firoozeh Dumas (disclaimer: Firoozeh is a very good friend of mine and I love her and her work). The book shares the experience of a child who immigrates from Iran to California in the late 1970s. The main character is trying to fit in and be accepted in her new homeland, which is difficult enough by itself  given that she’s entering middle school, but is complicated by the Iran-US hostage crisis of 1979. Suddenly, Zomorod and her family, 7500 miles removed from Iran, are viewed through an anti-Iranian lens.

This book is classified as a children’s book,  but it contains an important message for everyone. It highlights the need for kindness and tolerance. We all need to be reminded to do this. Remember my recent post about choosing to practice love? Distrusting and hating entire groups of people because they are different from us or because of the actions of a few radicals in the group is the foundation of bigotry. Kindness, people, practice it. And read this book.

It Aint So Awful Falafel

Those are my musings. What about you?

What did you tell yourself this week to inspire you, motivate you, or help you on your path? What words of wisdom has someone else (through reading, a podcast, a talk) shared with you? What are you grateful for in your life? What are you struggling with? Feel free to share here.

 

Living From My Scars

I published my first blog post in January 2015 and shared my blog with some 50 close friends and family members. Then, last September, I announced on Facebook (sharing with my 470 something friends there) that I had a blog. Then, last month, I added the blog to my LinkedIn profile, alerting my professional contacts that I write this stuff.

Whether sharing my personal history and my musings on life is wise or something that everyone (family, friends, work colleagues, and strangers) should be able to access has been a topic of discussion at my house. Of course there could be repercussions. But, there is one big reason why I share my story. I share, because I am living from my scars.

Living from my scars means that my life has been shaped by the choices I’ve made. Even the wrong ones, especially the wrong ones. And while those past mistakes don’t define me, they do inform how I live my life now. They are lessons for course-correcting.

Living from my scars forces me to be self-compassionate. The scars remind me that I am human and imperfect, that I have fallen down many times. I remember this not to beat up myself but to love myself more, warts and all, and to continue getting up when I fall.

Living from my scars means that I practice self-acceptance. Every time I shine a spotlight on my depression  I feel like I’m taking away some of the stigma associated with mental illness. Who does it benefit if I keep this struggle to myself? I mean, seriously, that’s how I got some of these scars.

For me, sharing the troubles and the triumphs is living from my scars.

And I am living (joyfully and gratefully) with and from those scars.

Image courtesy of flick user Laura Lewis

Image courtesy of flick user Laura Lewis

 

 

What’s Going Right in My Life

Instead of focusing on what’s wrong in your life, why not focus on what’s going right?

 

On my meditation table, I keep a variety of books. Randomly, I’ll pick up one during my meditation time and turn to a page and read. How fortuitous that I recently picked up a Thich Nhat Hahn book and read this quote of his.

“We often ask, “What’s wrong?” Doing so, we invite painful seeds of sorrow to come up and manifest. We feel suffering, anger, and depression, and produce more such seeds. We would be much happier if we tried to stay in touch with the healthy, joyful seeds in side of us and around us. We should learn to ask “What’s not wrong?” and be in touch with that.

After I read this, I found myself repeatedly thinking ‘Count your blessings’ and asking myself, ‘What’s going right in my life right now?’

Admittedly, I do have a daily practice of keeping a written gratitude list. Each morning, I jot down what’s good in my life. But, this concept of reframing a simple question and, in doing so, inviting happiness and joy rather than sorrow and suffering, really struck me.

It’s not that I think we should ignore the difficulties we experience, but, perhaps it’s more fruitful to focus on the good and not the bad, to put our attention on remembering what is working rather than what’s not working. This slight shift in your outlook can be a turning point. It can be the gentle redirection you need to center yourself on joy.

So ask yourself this question. Not once, not twice, but several times a day. What’s going right in my life?

What’s going right in my life right now? I have my physical and mental health. I have a job and financial security. I have supportive family and friends. I have 3 healthy, intelligent, and well-adjusted children.

When I think of those fundamental blessings (health, family, security), what’s going right in my life is mostly everything.

image courtesy of pexels.com

image courtesy of pexels.com

Hanh, Thich Nhat. Peace is Every Step: The Path to Mindfulness in Everyday Life. New York: Bantam Books. 1991. Print.